Tag: Big dipper

Big Dipper Ice Cream, Missoula, MT

Big Dipper Ice Cream in Missoula, Montana is an extremely popular ice cream spot. It helps that it’s in a college town, has a great location on the edge of downtown and it’s delicious.

I spent a summer working for Missoula Children’s Theatre when I graduated from college, so from 2005-2006 I had gotten lots of opportunities to sample their delicious ice cream (and sometimes, to eat it for dinner). I was delighted to return in August of 2019 and give my husband a brief walking tour of my old haunts in Missoula.

Though they’re currently offering contact-free pickup, I visited late on a Tuesday night last year and found a gargantuan line around 9 p.m., which tells you how popular this place really is. Please note that there isn’t a restroom, though at least pre-COVID they had tons of outdoor seating.

You can combine two flavors in a single (yay!) for $3.50, or you can go for a double (a very generous portion) which is super reasonable at $5. They serve the ice cream with a wooden spoon, which is a great environmental move I imagine but which does affect the taste a bit, if that bothers you.

Here’s what I tried: 

Elephant Chai – This is special! It’s a fun flavor, but my sample was very icy.

Chuckleberry – This is chocolate ice cream with huckleberry (the latter a regional delicacy if you haven’t had it!). I found this to be a pretty fun and smooth combination, and it was quite creamy.

Chocolate – This is super smooth, a classic lighter chocolate flavor. I found it kind of like a fudgsicle! This might make my top ten for lighter chocolate ice creams, and it isn’t dissimilar to a soft serve texture if that appeals to you (as it does me).

Cardamom – My first bite of this was ice, honestly. Otherwise, the cardamom spice is quite fun, and this was a super creamy texture. It’s a sweet enough base and the creamy aspect pairs well with the spice. I thought it was excellent, minus that first ice bite.

Big Dipper offers mainly traditional flavors, though it gives them a creative spin (like the chocolate plus huckleberry combination). With the giant line, I didn’t feel comfortable asking for additional samples. It seems like this location at least has some struggles with ice in their ice cream. I imagine this is more of a storage issue than a product issue – the ice cream is also sold in some stores, so they distribute it on a wide scale and I’m guessing they’ve got a very consistent product.

That being said, be prepared to get a bit of ice, but if you’re willing to forgive it, you’re likely to experience some truly delicious and very good to excellent ice cream. Enjoy, and say hi to Missoula for me!

Photo courtesy of Big Dipper Ice Cream. 

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Finding The Big Dipper

During a recent visit to Cheyenne, Wyoming, I got a craving for ice cream. Although there wasn’t any homemade ice cream there, it told me I could visit Big Dipper Ice Cream in Laramie for my fix. So the next week, I did just that.

Big Dipper is in a college town, and that seemed to show itself in the staff and students. The shop is adorable, with stools by the windows and some comfy seats for lounging, and the staff, while not forthcoming on their own, were friendly when I asked questions.

A sign told me I had to limit myself to trying only three flavors. Though that is always a bummer to see, three is more than two and certainly more than none, which I sometimes see in tourist towns, so I set out to choosing flavors.p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

The staff told me I could get two flavors in one scoop, so that helped me with my decision.

Here’s what I went with:

p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!Chocolate – The chocolate ice cream here is very rich and dark. It’s full of flavor and very satisfying.

Watermelon Sorbet – This was fun, if you like sorbet, but it wasn’t anything special. It has the icier quality typical of sorbets.

Wyoming Black Bear – This is a pretty rich raspberry base with decent chocolate bits, and it’s very satisfying. The chocolate chunks weren’t the best, but they were okay, and Ross enjoyed the base a lot.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow – This is a simple, refreshing and fairly creamy base, probably vanilla. The chocolate covered marshmallow mix-ins were very fun.

Grapefruit – This was the surprise win of the night! It’s super grapefruit-y, perfect if you love grapefruit like me. It’s so creamy! I interrogated the staff about how it could be so creamy if it’s sorbet, but they said it must be the stirring process. This is wildly awesome and blows the average sorbet out of the water. Smooth and delicious.

Despite the signage for gelato, they didn’t have any gelato in stock while I was there. The ice cream felt a little pricey, but the portions made it fairly reasonable.

I am so glad I got to visit Big Dipper. They have very tasty ice cream, even if it didn’t stop me in my tracks, and I love their downtown location. Plus, the grapefruit sorbet may be the best sorbet I have ever had!

Thanks, Big Dipper. If you’d like to read about my adventures getting ice cream in nearby Fort Collins, I wrote about gelato here and ice cream from Walrus and Emporium.

p.s. Thanks for supporting my blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Big Dipper, Laramie, WY | In Search of a Scoop