The Cutest Place For a Mediocre Sundae

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is adorable. It fits into Main Street perfectly, reminiscent of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor from the early 20th Century.

But this adorable ice cream parlor doesn’t make ice cream – instead, they serve Edy’s. So I have never worried about covering it for this blog.

But this past Thanksgiving, my husband and I visited the Magic Kingdom. That’s right – I had my turkey dinner (an oversized turkey leg) with homemade, gluten-free stuffing and cranberry sauce. For dessert, I wasn’t thrilled with any of the options (Dole Whip is good, but I wasn’t in a pineapple mood) so I decided I’d try a special sundae at the Plaza.

There are fairly limited options at the Plaza, overall. Limited flavors, and limited toppings, as well as limited sundae types. They don’t even carry sprinkles (perhaps to avoid the mess?) but they were willing to give out extra cherries to customers who thought to ask. Prices here are on the high side compared to a typical ice cream place, but of course that’s to be expected at Disney World.

I settled on the All-American sundae. It had vanilla and chocolate ice creams, hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry and what’s referred to as “peanut butter drizzle”. It’s a beautiful-looking sundae. People were stopping me in the parlor to ask what it was. Unfortunately, it’s really not designed well. It was a great portion for a sundae too.

Alarm bells began when I realized they pre-scoop the ice cream cups. That’s not necessarily a problem…but why do it? They had too many employees working behind the counter (most were standing around), so couldn’t one or two of them have scooped ice cream? But honestly, it’s a theme park. If that was my only issue, I wouldn’t bother writing this review.

The reason I noticed the pre-made cup (chocolate scoop on top of vanilla scoop) was because the server was bored, flipping it over and over again while he waited for the whipped cream machine to be free. And no, I’m not kidding. I’m sure I made quite a face without intending to. Does Disney hire high school kids?

Next issue – these are peanut butter chips. Fine. Tasty even. But that’s not a drizzle. I was picturing some warm peanut butter mixed in with the hot fudge. Different story altogether – still tasty, but it was false advertising.

Next realization? The hot fudge is never going to reach this ice cream! Basically, each layer is solid, and the shape of the container makes it really difficult to get from one to another. So I ate about 3 inches of whipped cream (I almost felt like I’d be sick by the end) plus a few chips and then moved on to fudge and chocolate, trying desperately to leave a bit of fudge to go with the vanilla. I don’t know for sure the source, but this is very standard whipped cream, like what you’d get out of a can. Nothing like homemade.

A great sundae should have multiple layers of hot fudge. That way you’ve got some all the way down to the bottom. This is the complete opposite of that – the dish shape means the fudge and whipped cream are almost too distinct and impossible to enjoy with anything but the adjoining layers.

Getting two flavors in one bite is really tough here. When you manage it, it’s nice. Chocolate and peanut butter are a classic and an excellent pairing, and when I can get the fudge and chocolate ice cream together, that’s delicious too. Edy’s chocolate ice cream is really pleasant, I enjoyed it.

Ross described my efforts to pair flavors and eat this as a “geological survey in ice cream form”. Unfortunately there’s not much of anything else left by the time I get to the vanilla, despite my best efforts. And wow. This vanilla is…not that great. Ross wonders if I was overstimulated by the fudge and stuff, and that is always a possibility. But it tasted absurdly sweet to me, and without any real vanilla taste to it. It was like someone was given a description of what vanilla was supposed to taste like and they went with that. Also? It was icy. Charming.

If nothing else, this reminded me why I never order a sundae with Edy’s at a restaurant. I’ve never liked their vanilla base. It was so odd to order a sundae based on how awesome the flavors will go together and then to have to eat them almost entirely separately!

So, my recommendation? Skip the Plaza. If you need to visit that much, skip the All-American. If I had to eat here, the chocolate is a great choice, with fudge, and maybe I’d try mint chocolate chip or a caramel topping. But skip the vanilla and the sundaes.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season if you’re celebrating. Happy Eating!

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Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick

My brother Robbie has recently moved to Brunswick, Maine, and my husband Ross and I were excited to spend a couple of days with him and his girlfriend, Ria. I have some challenging dietary restrictions, but Robbie and Ria insisted on cooking a delicious meal for us before following it up with some delicious dessert at Gelato Fiasco. He clearly knows the way to my heart!

Gelato Fiasco seemed reasonably priced for a city, and perhaps most importantly, they encouraged us to try as many flavors as we wanted – and we could combine as many flavors as we wanted in a cup! I think Ross and I got mediums (and a Robbie and Ria got smalls). Since there were four of us on hand, we were able to sample a lot of selections. Here’s what we thought!

Sweet Resurgam: This flavor includes sweet almond, burnt sugar, chocolate and caramel. It reminded me strongly of a Ferraro Rocher candy, which I loved. Extremely creamy. Absolutely outstanding. Ross found it peanut buttery. The chocolate is perfect and the flavors melt and blend in the mouth perfectly.

Cardamom: This is subtle, with a nice spice throughout. It’s a perfectly fall flavor. Not nearly as creamy as the sweet resurgam – much more typical of gelato, which doesn’t have a very high fat content.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt: A darker chocolate base with the perfect amount of salt. It’s excellent. It’s almost as if hot fudge were gelato, although not as sweet. Deliciously creamy.

Caramel and Cider Donuts: Robbie thought there might be too much donut here! Each part was delicious, but he felt the ratio was off. Ross didn’t get many chunks in his, and he felt the gelato had no distinct flavor. Cinnamon, caramel or something would have been nice. Tastes perhaps like a generic vanilla.

Netflix and Chill: This flavor has peanut butter cups, brownies, chocolate chips and a caramel base. Ross really liked the overload of sweet treats here.

Fall in Bourbon County: This tastes like pumpkin and isn’t too sweet. They add bourbon and it had a little caramel to it. Ross said the pecans elevate it – the clusters are caramelized or glazed. Robbie added that this one doesn’t taste like every other fall thing. Ria enjoyed the bit of warmth and punch from the alcohol.

Ross sampled all of my flavors as well as his own, and he felt that the dark chocolate sea salt and sweet resurgam were much creamier than the other flavors we had. Perhaps their fall flavors are less polished and they’re still balancing? Or maybe I just lucked out.

Gelato Fiasco was founded in Brunswick, but they also have a Portland location. Their website is pretty fantastic, and I enjoyed reading about their Red Spoon Society.

It’s an adorable place that also carries coffee and gets very busy in the evenings. Stop by and report back on how you liked it!

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