Ice cream has come a long way since I was a kid. I remember going to Thrifty's when scoops were fifteen cents. Yes, I'm that old! And the flavors from which you could choose were basic: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chip, and bubblegum. There may have been a few more flavors - butter pecan comes to mind - but not too many. Combinations were had by getting more than one scoop with whatever flavors you wanted to combine. And the ice cream tower teetered precariously on your cone while you ran your tongue from one flavor to the next. Gone are those days.
Ice cream flavors now are dictated by what's in season and bound only by the creativity of the ice cream maker. Think stawberry-pink peppercorn, wild fennel, roasted barley, and olive oil chocolate sea salt. As far as my boys are concerned, the funkier the flavor, the better. Once I picked up ice cream scoops while the boys were napping in the car. D looked at what I had chosen for him and, with disappointment oozing from his eyes, lamented, "Mommy, I like the creative flavors better." I had gotten him burnt caramel.
Perennial favorites...and definitely our top two picks in the Central California area...
If you're in the East Bay, don't miss Ici in the Elmwood District. That's a strawberry-pink peppercorn and candied blood orange in the photo.
Or, if you're in Santa Cruz, checking out Penny Ice Creamery is a must. They now have two locations. That was the pluot sorbet I had the last time we were there.
So, on our 10-day camping trip, we hit a handful of ice cream spots from Eureka to Santa Rosa. And the colors inspired this month's earrings of the month for my subscribers. Think icy stones and copper cones. I'll post photos soon, but I needed to get this write-up done and out the door. Enjoy.