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Tour de Hard Ice Cream 2.0

August 14, 2017

The Tour de Ice Cream has been divided over many rounds to accommodate all kinds of frozen treats. We’ve done soft serve more times than I care to admit, we found our way through a gelato tour, and one for frozen yogurt. But now it’s time for a second outing to survey more of the best homemade hard ice cream in the area.

Yes, it may take us a bit further afield than in the past, but I’m optimistic the effort will pay off in the end. Today, I’m proud to announce the itinerary for the Tour de Hard Ice Cream 2.0.

Why further? Because this tour is going to take us into farm country. Actually, it’s going to begin and end with places that have their own cows. But at the last one, you can actually purchase some excellent fluid dairy in addition to ice cream. So hopefully those who come on the tour will pack a cooler and take advantage of this great opportunity to pick up farm fresh milk right at the source.

Now let me tell you what I’ve got planned.

Before you say, “Holy shit, that’s a lot of driving,” allow me to provide a bit of context from previous tours. Making five stops over the course of a day to eat even what seems like a modest treat, can be quite a physical challenge. Two mini hot-dogs seem inconsequential. Ten mini hot-dogs almost killed me. The same holds true with cider donuts. And I don’t even want to think about the fish fry.

Having some time to drive between destinations is a blessing. It’s a forced break that allows your body to do the hard work of preventing you from slipping into a sugar coma. Tours with a tighter geographical footprint are brutal, because the breaks between eating occasions is significantly shorter.

This tour will also be a good warm up for fall when we drive from one end of the region to the other recapping the best cider donuts from previos tours.

At 12:00 pm sharp on Saturday, August 19, the Tour de Hard Ice Cream will commence at Scoups in Albany. Ideally, this year we would have kept the tour east of the Hudson for simplicity’s sake. I’ve been warned in the past about the dangers of crossing rivers. But Scoups was left off the list of our initial hard ice cream outing, and it really deserves a spot at the table. So this year, the great ice cream place with the infuriating name gets its shot.

As people gather, I’ll hand out score sheets for those who want to be counted in the final tally of the day. That’s right, you can come and just hang out and eat some ice cream. But if you want to judge, you’ll have to follow a pretty set of established guidelines. More on those in a bit.

After Scoups, we’ll all take off for The Dutch Udder in Troy. This is the new player in the field, but holy cow is it special. See what I did there? These high quality, creative flavors are going to throw a wrench into the judging system we used last time around, but no matter, I have a plan. As soon as we hammer out the itinerary, I’ll tell you about it.

Then comes the first big drive. Google says it’s a 30-minute drive down Routes 787, 90 and 9 from The Dutch Udder to Samascott’s Garden Market in Kinderhook. We’ll see about that. But this was one of the places Chantelle suggested as part of the original pitch for this year’s tour. It’s a favorite for sure, although if you ask Yelp these ice cream spots are all in a dead heat.

The second big drive is 33-minutes from Samascott’s to Village Scoop in Hillsdale. This shop looks so cute, I can’t even stand it. Now, technically, the ice cream there isn’t made on site. But it is still handmade local ice cream. It’s just made by the good folks at Jane’s. And since Jane doesn’t have a retail shop of her own as far as I can tell, we’ll get to try her work at Village Scoop.

From there we conclude the tour at Hill-Over Healthy & Fresh in Copake. I know we’re evaluating hard ice cream, but the milkshakes at Hill-Over seem to be all the rage. The hardest of the hard core will get a milkshake for the ride home after completing the tour. Hey, it’s hard to go cold turkey after hours of eating ice cream. If you stop suddenly, your body might go into shock. We wouldn’t want that, now would we.

The map of the day can be found here.

The tour is open to everyone and anyone. All you need is your appetite and transportation. Actually, that’s not true. All I’ll be providing is the map above, score sheets, and some color commentary. So I guess that means you will also need money for ice cream and a pen too.

Even still, please, please let me know if you are coming so I can make sure to have enough score sheets for everyone. It will also help to make sure we don’t leave anyone behind by accident.

The last time we did this I called ahead the day before for the flavor lists of the shops on the tour. That allowed people to stick with one flavor all day, be it it strawberry, chocolate, butter pecan, vanilla, etc. But for this outing I’m throwing that methodology out the door.

For your score sheet to count in the final evaluation, you must taste and completely score all five locations. You must also in good faith try to keep your order consistent at each establishment. If you take a topping, you should take that same topping everywhere. So choose wisely.

So how can you do that without a full knowledge of the flavors that await over the course of the day? With flexible and broad flavor categories. Some examples might be, fruity-based, chocolate-centric, nut filled, roasted and caramelized, candy-packed, or WTF. But I’ll be leaving it up to the individual participants. For what it’s worth, I’m serious about that last one. If someone wanted to try the most oddball flavor at each stop, that would totally work within these parameters. Really, the flavor category can be as creative as you can make it.

This is a kid friendly tour. So if you’ve got ‘em, and you want to bring ‘em, go for it. Let me know if they want their very own scoresheet, and I’ll bring one for them too. Please be advised, scoring by minors is for entertainment purposes only. The final tally will include only those scoresheets completed by adults.

I hope you can join us. The above may make this outing sound a bit intense, but these have been a lot of fun. I promise. It is why I continue to do them, and presumably why they have continued to attract new attendees.

Saturday, August 19 we eat ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. And we will try to settle the question of who makes the best hard ice cream of these five ridiculously great places. I look forward to seeing you there. Just let me know if you are coming.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Fuddley permalink
    August 14, 2017 10:37 am

    Keep in mind Saturday is also the Troy Farmer’s Market so parking is a tad of a challenge and the fine folks at the Dutch Udder will be in a scooping frenzy. A small price to pay for a truly tasty treat. Your patience will be rewarded.

    Oh yeah, I’m doing the tour for sure.

  2. Chantelle permalink
    August 14, 2017 10:51 am

    I can come for at least the first two but that’s likely it. I’m pretty bummed to miss out but life happens. If Samascotts has the oatmeal cookie flavor someone get it! It’s superb.

  3. August 14, 2017 11:07 am

    Alas I am going to miss this one due to travel. I bailed on the previous hard ice cream tour after 4 stops, even though I had a partner, and would have liked to redeem myself but not going to happen.

    A suggestion: due to the carbon footprint of this audacious tour you might want to post a link for people who want to connect and carpool. (Or I guess they could just do that in the comments.)

  4. August 14, 2017 1:47 pm

    Considering I ate a bunch of burgers by myself, this tour should be a piece of cake.

    I may even bring a cooler to bring some ice cream home.

  5. daph permalink
    August 15, 2017 12:23 pm

    Sounds fun! I’m coming and bringing my friend Laurie.

  6. Jen permalink
    August 18, 2017 6:38 pm

    I will join with my two kids. We’ll see what an “icecream high” looks like on two 7yrolds!

  7. August 18, 2017 10:07 pm

    Turns out, I can’t make this tour. I may have to grab a pint tonight to make up for it.

    Have fun!

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