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Tour de Hard Ice Cream Nominations 2.0

June 13, 2017

Instead of complaining again today about another scorcher, let’s shift gears and fantasize about ice cream.

But this is more than just fantasy. This is reality. Because soon, I will indeed be leading a group of intrepid eaters into the wilderness in search of some of the best homemade hard ice cream in the region.

Yes, it’s another FUSSYlittleTOUR. We just came off of the Tour de Seasonal Burger Stands, and in the fall we’ll do an epic Tour de Apple Cider Donut: Championship Edition. But now it’s time to think about ice cream. Do you realize that the last Tour de Homemade Hard Ice Cream was in 2012?

That’s five years ago! What have we been doing since then? Well, we had the Tour de FroYo, the Tour de Gelato, and a couple more editions of the Tour de Soft Serve. But on the spring burger tour, Chantelle not only requested we revisit hard ice cream, she also proposed a specific hard ice cream tour for the eastern side of the region.

Now, before we get any further, as is our custom I will open up the floor to nominations.

It should be noted, before anyone starts to get too crazy with this nomination thing, that this is not a democracy. We’re not going to the places that get the most votes or comments. Ultimately, I will be making the final decision. So that means, if you have a case to make for your favorite place, make it compelling in the comment section below.

Saying a shop’s ice cream is “to die for” tells me nothing. Get to the details. Convince me. Because while I do have very strong opinions, I also try to keep an open mind.

Just to refresh your memory, the last homemade hard ice cream tour stoped at Snowman, Moxie’s, The Ice Cream Man, Mac’s, and The Farmer’s Daughter. So those five places are out of contention this go around.

The place that got shafted was Scoups. So this year, I would really like to try and make sure this beloved local spot gets a stop on the tour. That peanut butter ice cream is something special indeed, especially when paired with a complementary fruit flavor. And I have always loved that you can eat in in front of actual cows.

Looking to the east, Dutch Udder just opened up a shop in Troy. Man, those guys take ice cream seriously. And the flavors they come up with are fantastically creative. I just popped in there recently, and tried the Wit, which is a play on Belgian wheat beer. So to echo those flavors, it’s made with malted wheat, coriander, orange peel, and banana. That’s delicious.

Chantelle also told me about the ice cream made at Samascott’s garden market. Yep, this Kinderhook farm also makes its own ice cream, and the fruit flavors are made from the farm’s own fruit. No joke. That’s amazing. I can’t wait to try some.

To the south, and almost due east of Hudson, on the New York side of the Massachusetts border is a place called Village Scoop. It’s in the town of Hillsdale. Is it a shlep? You bet. But it also looks magnificent. It has 4.5 stars on 11 reviews, and it’s out in the middle of nowhere?

Well, not nowhere, because even a little further away, but still in the 518, is the Hill-Over farm in Copake, NY. It’s a legit dairy. And they make their own ice cream. With a farm store. Where they serve cones, sundaes, and milkshakes. Can I get a “wow!”?

You know what else is in Copake? Tessa Edick’s Empire Farm! That’s the FarmOn! Foundation’s base of operations. And maybe, just maybe, we can figure out a way to schedule this tour so that those folks who want to check out what she’s doing there in Copake have an opportunity to poke around.

I hear poking around farms is a good way to work off five bowls of ice cream.

That’s five stops right there. Six if you count the post tour stop at Empire Farm. But these are just my first thoughts. Because there are still some great ice cream places that are missing from this proposed itinerary.

You know, like those incredible scoop shops just over that seemingly arbitrary political border to the east. Just because a few places are in Western Massachusetts doesn’t mean they aren’t part of our region. And for some reason, there are some truly excellent ice cream makers out that way.

Specifically, I’m thinking about Local-Lee Scooped, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, and SoCo Creamery. But perhaps there’s such a concentration, that a Western Mass hard ice cream tour may need to be its own thing.

But even closer to the geographic center of the Capital Region are shops like Tastee Freeze of Slingerlands and Twist in Glenmont. One or both of these might deserve a place on this summer’s tour. However, I can’t seem to be able to confirm of either of those ice cream stands actually makes hard ice cream in house.

Toll Gate isn’t on my current top five list either. Mostly because it still isn’t open after the medical crisis that befell the family. But by the time the tour gets scheduled, it’s possible the doors might have reopened. Call me an optimist. But if that day does come to pass, which one of the five proposed places should lose its spot on the tour?

That’s a real question. I want to know.

And I understand that the folks out in Schenectady County and the western realms of our region may be feeling a bit slighted. Duckpond Farms in Altamont is in that general direction, as is Wemple & Edick’s out in Fonda. And surely I could find more excellent places with a bit more searching.

We’ll get there. We will. If you haven’t picked up on it by now, the FLB takes the long view on these matters. Sometimes it’s a very long view, but I promise it won’t take five more years before we revisit the homemade hard ice cream tour.

So.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Did I miss any place super special? Where should we go? What places should we skip? And why? We can only stop at five, and that means there are hard choices to make.

Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    June 13, 2017 10:03 am

    Just another vote for Samascotts–in addition to the flavors that use their own fruit, they also frequently incorporate other local products (honey, Tierra Farms coffee, sweet corn, etc.)

    SoCo is amazing, but I personally see the down home ice cream experience offered by Samascotts (and many of the other places you mentioned) as being too spiritually distinct from bougie SoCo for a real comparison.

  2. Susan permalink
    June 13, 2017 10:17 am

    Probably way too far for this tour, but some of the best ice cream I ever had was at Battenkill Creamery in Salem, NY, when we stumbled upon it after getting a bit lost on our way home from Vermont. http://www.battenkillcreamery.com/

  3. Chris permalink
    June 13, 2017 10:03 pm

    Dutch Udder is the best. My family loves pink velvet cookie dough. My favorite is the grasshopper. We love that they have a different kind each time we go. It’s always something creative and their waffle cones are awesome unique flavers like toasted coconut or creamsicle!

  4. Deedee permalink
    June 14, 2017 12:05 pm

    I asked Twist in Glenmont and they said their hard ice cream is purchased.

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