Monday, August 13, 2012

The Day We Got Too Much Ice Cream

I grew up about a 30-second walk from Crescent Ridge, where the ice cream is eighth best in the world, according to National Geographic, or at least among the top 25, according to Food & Wine. Here I am on a chilly March day in 2007, steadfastly drinking a mint chocolate chip milkshake at Crescent Ridge:

Don't let the cold weather fool you; they're always open:

While working at Crescent Ridge would have been the ideal high school job with practically no commute necessary, I could never bring myself to consider it. What if there's such a thing as "too much ice cream?" What if working at an ice cream place ruined all future enjoyment of ice cream? Even so, I was never really convinced that there's a such thing as "too much ice cream" until earlier this summer.

It started a few months ago when a representative of 2nd St. Creamery reached out to me. The ice cream brand was new to the Boston area, and they wanted to send over eight pints of assorted flavors of their "super premium" ice cream that I could share with friends. Obviously I'm not going to say no when someone offers me ice cream, but I was especially impressed by the charming stories behind all the flavors. On the surface, it seemed like a local, boutique brand. Turns out it's actually owned by Wells Enterprises, known especially for the ubiquitous Blue Bunny brand of ice cream. I was a little disappointed to find that it was actually part of huge non-local company, but still - ice cream. I'll eat it.

On the day of the delivery, the doorbell rang, and I rushed down the stairs to find a tired-looking UPS man. "You got it from here?" he asked, already nearly back in the truck. I looked down to find two huge boxes, sixty pounds each, resting on my porch, as the delivery man sped away. A little shocked, I tried to drag one upstairs but realized I'm a bit too out of shape to make much progress. I settled back on the porch and called and texted Joel for help, but he didn't answer right away. It was a hot day, so I wanted to get the ice cream inside as soon as possible. I decided to open a box in order to carry the pints up on their own, and it wasn't until I realized I was holding a shrink-wrapped pack of eight pints in each hand, with two more packs like this in the one open box, that it was clear a mistake had been made. After I posted a panicked/overjoyed Facebook post, it quickly became clear that several other bloggers received the same extra-large shipment.

Finally Joel appeared, and we managed to fit half in my freezer - 32 pints - and he planned to bring the other half back to his freezer. And then I asked a really silly question: "How do we get rid of all this dry ice? Can it just go down the drain?" Joel stared at me like I was crazy, because obviously we had to play with the dry ice.

Now, just over a month later, we've finally, um, disposed of all 64 pints. I swear I didn't eat them all myself. We gave away a ton to confused yet happy neighbors, had some people over for an ice cream party, served it at a lamb party, swam in a kiddie pool full of it, and yes, ate a substantial amount ourselves, hence my conclusion that there is a such thing as too much ice cream. (One portion of that sentence is a lie.) I'm taking an ice cream break for awhile.

We tried three flavors: Copper Kettle Caramel, Black Hills Strawberry Rhubarb, and Tons of Brownies. I obsessed over the caramel, even sneakily resorting to eating it for a few gluttonous breakfasts. Topped with classic Hershey's chocolate sauce and even some Fat Toad caramel, it was irresistible. Most of the people with whom we shared the ice cream were really into the strawberry rhubarb, particularly impressed by the chunks of pie crust. (Except for Joel's roommate's drunk friend, that is. He was more impressed by the fact that strawberry rhubarb is a flavor combination that exists outside of the South.) Most agreed that Tons of Brownies was the weakest link. It wasn't bad, but it didn't live up to the excitement of the other flavors.

Not that I'm going to buy ice cream anytime soon, but the bottom line is that these were pretty outstanding as far as big supermarket brands go. If my wallet allowed it, I'd rather go for a high-quality (but high-priced) local ice cream like batch, but at a lower price point and still fairly delicious, 2nd St. Creamery is a more likely addition to the regular repertoire. If I were going to have a regular ice cream-eating repertoire, that is.

Now, I see 2nd St. Creamery everywhere. It's being advertised on the sides of MBTA buses. One of the round tourist kiosks in Harvard Square is wrapped up like a pint of it. And they were even handing out samples outside of Shaw's when I walked by a few days ago. I just couldn't take one, but I'll probably eat more soon. There are seven more flavors to try, after all...

Disclosure: 2nd St. Creamery provided me with 64 complimentary pints of ice cream for sampling purposes, along with a gift card to buy accoutrements for an ice cream party. I was under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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