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Nominations for Tour de Soft Serve 3.0

March 8, 2016

The last tour results haven’t even been posted yet, and we’re already talking about the next one. But dammit, spring is around the corner. I think it’s come earlier this year. Heck, the Snowman is already open and slinging Boston Shakes.

The first Tour de Soft Serve was on April 9. I liked the notion of using this tour as a way of getting a jump on the summer ice cream season. So if we want to maintain a similar timeline, we’ve got about a month to put the whole thing in place. That means between now and then, we’ve got to hold nominations, settle on a date, and decide upon the five businesses we’ll visit over the course of the day in search of the very best soft serve.

The very first Tour de Soft Serve elevated On The Farm in Latham above popular favorites like Kurver Kreme in Albany and Clifton Park’s Country Drive In. We took a few years off to cover homemade hard ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt. But then in 2015 it was back to soft serve as we headed up north to Saratoga Springs. There it was The Dairy Haus that walked away with the top nod.

The people of Schenectady have been very patient. What about their soft serve parlors? Well, soon the Electric City will get its chance. But first it’s time to open the floor up to nominations. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Once again the field is already too big to visit every shop on one day. That means we’re going to have to make hard choices. And since I didn’t grow up in these parts, it’s possible there are some classic places that I’m missing which have found a way to fly under my radar.

My top five contenders are:

Dairy Circus
Bumpy’s Polar Freeze
Jumpin’ Jacks
Curry Freeze
Big Scoop

However, there is also Corner Ice Cream Store on Carman Road. It’s newer, and not so charming. We haven’t seen modern places do well in this contest, but perhaps this strip mall location could turn that around.

There is also The Ice Cream Shop on Route 5 right before Balltown Road. This place is special because it also has frozen custard in addition to the soft serve. But we need to compare likes against likes for this tour, so it would be especially heartbreaking to visit this shop and not get to enjoy its frozen custard.

And what about Duckpond Farms in Altamont? Actually, this place was almost entirely off my radar. Thank you to Deanna Fox for thrusting it into the public eye. It doesn’t seem to be on Yelp yet, which is a little shocking. But according to its Facebook page, there is homemade hard ice cream to be had here, in addition to the soft serve. Maybe it’s best reserved for a Tour de Homemade Hard Ice Cream 2.0 sometime down the road.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the results of the last Fussy Little Tour where we sampled the wings of Schenectady. But for right now, I need you to put your thinking caps on and see if there’s anything that I missed. And if you want to make the case for your favorite regional soft serve place to be included on this tour, I’d love to hear from you. Just let me know which place you think should be removed to accommodate your idea.

Once we have a set of nominations in place, I’ll set the date, and decide on the route. Then it’s just a matter of making sure we have judges lined up who are willing to sacrifice their bodies to science and eat ice cream all day.

Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. But it’s also a lot of fun.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2016 11:52 am

    I mentioned this to you when we were on the wing tour but I’ll make it official here.

    Any tour of soft serve in Sch’dy MUST include Curry Freeze and Jumpin’ Jacks. They’re both institutions. I’ve eaten many a cone at both places over the years including when I was a kid some 40 years ago.

    I remember going to Big Scoop as a kid as well, but I’m not sure it was called that back then, it may have changed hands since. They’ve been around a long time as well.

  2. buffsoulja permalink
    March 8, 2016 9:03 pm

    I second Curry Freeze

  3. March 9, 2016 7:06 am

    I vote for Scoups ice cream on Albany Shaker Rd. in Colonie

  4. Grrrr permalink
    March 9, 2016 9:10 pm

    I don’t get the whole Soft Serve craze. It all tastes the same to me. However, I’m biased since I’m lactose intolerant and rarely eat the stuff. But I’ll suffer the consequences for the occasional scoop of tasty home made hard ice cream. And I’m a huge fan of the homemade hard ice cream (and fruit ices such as mango) at Mac’s Drive-In in Watervliet. They’re also seasonal and should be opening soon. And they have amazing burgers, meatloaf sandwiches, hand-cut fries and chili-cheese fries.

  5. albanylandlord permalink
    March 10, 2016 12:57 am

    I always assumed that soft serve was purchased in large industrial containers and poured into the freezing / serving machines. Maybe some differences in texture due to the chosen temperature of the mix or how long it was in there. Does anyone know what goes into soft serve? Are some of these places making there own and others doing it the prepurchased industrial route? Everyone making their own?

    I read the earlier results and obviously there were differences but im curious as to why.

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