I love ice cream. I’m not always a huge dessert fan, but ice cream can be my Achilles Heel. But it has to be good ice cream. And only “good” flavors. And I don’t eat ice cream filled with artificial ingredients. They just don’t taste the same to me; I’d rather have homemade ice cream any day. Graeter’s Ice Cream, made in Cincinnati in two gallon batches and sold in lucky grocery stores, is the best of both worlds. They make the ice cream for me, but it tastes like the best homemade ice cream.
If you’re lucky, your local grocery store will carry at least some of the famous Graeter’s flavors. In Chicago, we can find Graeter’s at Jewel, Dominick’s, Mariano’s, Heinen’s, Whole Foods, and Meijer stores. There are plenty of other stores outside Chicago that carry it, too, from Publix to Dierbergs to Giant Eagles and more. Or you could order online for an almost complete selection of flavors. Of course, if you’re fortunate enough to live in Ohio, you may have a Graeter’s retail store where you can find all of their flavors, as sadly the grocery stores don’t (yet?) carry everything.
The original Salted Caramel is now available at Jewel, Mariano’s, and Meijer. Graeter’s has been making this flavor for over 100 years using their French Pot Process. The fact that they use ingredients I know and can pronounce like cream, milk (with no artificial growht hormones), cane sugar, eggs, and the like means that the flavor is pure. There are no food dyes to trick our eyes into thinking the flavor is richer than it really is. There’s simply no need. The ice cream is smooth as can be, never so hard you can’t scoop it from your pint, and decadent without being overly rich.
While Graeter’s has been making the Salted Caramel flavor for over 100 years, this is the first time it’s available in the stores near me, and I am ecstatic – and a little afraid, as I know I’ll be buying … a lot. It is such a creamy texture and the taste is all that it promises, a buttery caramel with a hint of salt to balance it.
When I received my six pack, my husband, Mister Man, and I sat down to choose the flavors we’d try. Don’t tell them that I secretly took a tiny spoonful of each of the flavors before deciding what flavor I was going to have a full bowl of (first). As tough as the choice was, Mister Man made it a little easier on me by taking the first bowl of Salted Caramel. He may not have gotten this full bowl. I may have snuck a spoonful or two before handing it to him.
He adored it. The ice cream melted slowly while he ate it, and he adored how it clung to the spoon when he ate it. That pint? It’s long gone. Long, long gone. The Chocolate Peanut Butter was quickly devoured by my husband, as well. I adored my bowl of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, too.
And the flavors that claim to be chocolate chip? This is another place where Graeter’s differentiates itself. They don’t have the plastic tasting small chocolate chips that you can hardly taste when frozen. Instead, they use Peter’s chocolate, a high quality chocolate, melt it into their French Pots and stir it by hand with a paddle to chop it into their chunks. And yes, the chunks were sometimes as large as my spoon. The chocolate actually tastes like chocolate, and it melts in your mouth with the ice cream while you eat it. I will be hard-pressed to eat another kind of ice cream that claims to have chocolate after this.
So it’s possible that the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is also gone. As is the Black Cherry Chocolate Chip that I refuse to admit I ate for dinner one night. One by one, the flavors are falling while other ice cream sits untouched in my freezer because it is that good. Hand made ice cream tastes different. Artisan products have better flavor to me for a reason, and Graeter’s is exactly that: an amazing artisan ice cream available in my grocery’s freezer.
I can’t wait to see what Graeter’s brings next, but you can bet that I’ll be getting some and possibly sharing with my family if they’re lucky.