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

Getting Ice Cream at Glacier

I recently spent some time visiting Boulder, Colorado, and Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and Gelato was one of the absolute highlights. In the next few weeks, I will profile your homemade ice cream options in Boulder. Here are my thoughts on Glacier.

First off, it’s very reasonably priced, with fairly large portions and an offer to combine flavors in a dish. (Gelato is a bit more expensive, which makes sense to me.) There was ample indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff was friendly and attentive, even as we tried tons of flavors. Here’s what we thought about it all!

Glacier Ice Cream and Gelato, Boulder, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Pralines and Cream: Each element is right on. It’s got the sweetness and the right texture for each component. Delicious.

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip: This was so good! The base is so strong and fabulous. Just like a cappuccino…really like the best Frappuccino out there, to be specific. The high quality miniature chocolate chips are perfect. This is definitely in our top ten, and maybe close to our top five, for this type of flavor.

Double Chocolate: Wow. This is so smooth. It’s dark and almost smoky, like a dark brownie batter. Almost a whiskey finish Ross said…There was a tiny bit of bristle, but mostly it’s super smooth, like the other bases here. This ranks in the top ten.

Vermont Maple Honey: This has a pretty strong maple flavor. It could use a touch more, but the brightness due to the honey is awesome. Plus, it’s smooth and creamy!

Raspberry Chocolate Melt: This is a very awesome combo…the chocolate reminded me of Oreo in its texture.

Chocolate Hazelnut: This one is outrageously creamy! Delicious. Like an expresso.

Glacier Ice Cream and Gelato, Boulder, CO | In Search of a ScoopOverall, we found the flavors here extremely smooth, more like a gelato than an ice cream, but with the creaminess you’d hope for in an ice cream. Next time I will have to try their gelato.

Odd fact – there’s a newer Glacier, same name, in Denver, apparently of no relation. Bizarre, right? Anyone know that story?

I joined their birthday club and will be back next week I hope. Thank you, Glacier!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on other ice cream places in Boulder, Colorado. And if you need a refresher, here’s how I felt about Walrus and Gelato & aMore in Fort Collins.

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Ice Cream Roundup

I periodically have ice cream (or other treats) at places that don’t meet my typical requirements for a full review. I’ve decided to point out some recent highlights and thoughts from some less conventional ice cream destinations. Here’s an ice cream roundup from the past year or so.

Patron’s Hall, Alamogordo, NM

Patrons Hall, Alamogordo, NM | In Search Of A Scoop

This is an absolutely adorable cafe that seems to have been thoughtfully built when they renovated the downtown theater space. They host open mics and performances and we will most definitely return to play and grab a drink.

In the ice cream department, I was underwhelmed. They carry Shamrock Farms, which I hadn’t had before. Overall the flavors I tried were creamy but weak, including Peppermint Stick, Black Cherry Chunk, Mint Chocolate Chip (both pleasant) and Coffee, which I could barely taste a flavor of at all.

This past weekend I tried their vanilla and chocolate and found them both to be quite high-quality when compared to a Hershey’s or similar cheap, “premium” ice cream. Since Patron’s Hall offers fun powers for shakes and frappes and a variety of other drinks, there are plenty of reasons to return…and the ice cream was also dirt cheap, so it’s a low risk if you’re curious. Free samples too, of course.

Caliche’s Frozen Custard, Alamogordo and Las Cruces

Caliche’s, NM | In Search Of A ScoopCaliche’s, Las Cruces, NM | In Search Of A ScoopCaliche’s, Las Cruces, NM | In Search Of A Scoop

We’ve visited Caliche’s in both Las Cruces and Alamogordo, and though I didn’t grow up eating custard, I feel confident in saying that their custard is delicious. I have not tried the chocolate yet, but the vanilla is fabulous. I had a “caliche” which is custard with mixins – I went for raspberries and key lime sauce. On my second visit, I went for a sundae with hot fudge and strawberries. If you’re going frozen fruit, I prefer a caliche – so the fruit isn’t so frosty – but this stuff is delicious however you slice it. They also have a drive through and offer dog cones (at least in Las Cruces). Their “real” food was tasty if typical fast food quality. Future must-do is a green chile sundae. We will return, Caliche’s!

Le Macaron French Pastries, Winter Park, FL

Le Macaron, Winter Park, FL | In Search Of A ScoopLe Macaron, Winter Park, FL | In Search Of A ScoopMacarons are generally gluten-free, as they are here, and sometimes you’ll even get lucky and see a macaron ice cream (or gelato) sandwich!

We were told the gelato company featured here is French. The macaron ice cream sandwich with violet was delicious, with a nice chewy and crunchy outside layer. The vanilla gelato was quite creamy for gelato, with a nice vanilla bean presence and almost a tiny bit of a bite to it. The violet gelato reminded me of raspberry, with a really nice bitterness. It’s very subtle. Ross felt it was almost like “What’s the point?”, but I disagree. It’s just understated. It paired with vanilla nicely, but it will be easily lost next to other flavors. Worth a visit for macarons or gelato if you’re in the area…unfortunately there is no homemade ice cream or gelato in downtown Winter Park. (For the homemade stuff, head to Kelly’s.)

Sanaa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, FL

Sanaa, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopSanaa, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopMeals here are amazing (and the setting, with wild animals, is spectacular) but there often isn’t much in the way of gluten-free desserts. But we lucked out at Christmas this past year. They were serving a homemade cherry ice cream in a chocolate-covered cherry entremet.

It wasn’t a perfect or particularly creamy ice cream, but it had beautiful rich chocolates covering the cool ice cream with great flavor and a perfect crumble and mousse. The milky ice cream complemented the bitterness of the chocolate well. And that cherry Kurt was tart and amazing.

The portion was also huge – easy to share. And those who had their macarons described them as a “cloud with frosting in the middle”. So if you can get dessert at Sanaa, go for it…especially the special!

San Angel Inn, Mexico, Epcot, FL

San Angel Inn, Disney World, FL | In Search Of A ScoopThis restaurant was also a fantastic experience. It’s gorgeous, perpetual twilight, inside the Mexico pavilion. I had lots of delicious gluten-free options, and I decided to try ice cream for dessert.

This style of ice cream seems airy compared to what I’m used to…less creamy and almost icy when you swallow it. It had caramel on it, and I could detect cinnamon and nutmeg. It almost tastes like a different product entirely…maybe it’s a condensed milk base? It’s almost rustic. And somehow, though it wasn’t housemade, it didn’t taste like there were preservatives. Very tasty, thanks Disney!

That’s it for today’s roundup. Have you gone out for ice cream lately?

Some past blogs for inspiration:

Jordan’s Creamery, Belmont, NH

Eddy’s Frozen Custard, Buxton, NC

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

Finding Gelato and More in Fort Collins

When you pass an adorable gelato place, you should stop in. Especially if reviewers say it’s a homemade gelato place. And when you’ve recently had a less than stellar homemade ice cream experience, and you’re in a new city for a while, it’s probably time to cleanse your palate of that underwhelming taste in your mouth with some delightful, homemade gelato.Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

We are currently within walking distance of Gelato & aMore, a fabulous Italian restaurant with homemade gelato and desserts plus a variety of pastas, sandwiches and pizza. (They also offer spaghetti squash as a pasta option!)

Ross did try a slice of pizza and enjoyed it, but we focused our visit on all of the gelato. All of it.

Gelato choices at Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopThe staff was very patient with us, letting us try whatever we wanted and having a great conversation too. Here’s what we sampled:

Pistachio – This is very good, creamy and a forward flavor. Very tasty.

Amarena Cherry – I haven’t had these cherries before! It’s a very distinct, darker cherry that pairs well with the super creamy base. I enjoyed pairing it with chocolate and butter pecanTwo scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

Passion Fruit – So delicious! It’s vegan, though I confess I’m not sure if it was. sorbet or made with a vegan milk option. In any case, the tart and creamy combo is delicious, a definite winner, and the passion fruit sauce on top is fabulous.

Butter Pecan – Wow! This is the brightest butter pecan we’ve had. It’s so strong and fun…and the pecans are toasty and delicious!

Three scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a ScoopChocolate – This is so rich and creamy. I think it’s the best chocolate gelato I’ve had. It reminded me of the inside of a Lindt chocolate truffle, although the texture is a bit different of course. (Not that fudgy.)

The prices were very reasonable. We got a two scoop and a three scoop for less than ten dollars with tax.

There’s only one table inside, but that was enough for us. 🙂

Other tips: If you can handle gluten, there are some very creative ice cream sandwich type options, perhaps to share with a friend. (Churro gelato? Spumoni ice cream sandwich? Yes, please.) Also, pistachio and chocolate pair extremely well together.Three scoops, Gelato & aMore, Fort Collins, CO | In Search of a Scoop

This stuff is great. It’s super creamy, which is rare for gelato.

It’s all great. Highly recommend. We will be back for more Italian goodness…soon!

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

Stumbling into Savannah Candy Kitchen

I’ve been to many candy stores or confectionaries that also sell ice cream, but very few of them make their own. So when I saw signs for ice cream and gelato at Savannah Candy Kitchen, I prepped myself for disappointment. Lucky for me, when I asked a nearby employee, I found out they make BOTH their ice cream and their gelato themselves!

Savannah has a really fun, walkable downtown, and it had another great spot for homemade ice cream too, which we’d taken advantage of on our last visit.

img_7742-1But if you’re stopping in for some praline candies and you’re hungry, you won’t want to miss their ice cream or gelato.

Our review:

Praline and Cream Gelato – Wow. This is subtle deliciousness. The base is really subtle, and the chunks of praline candies are amazing. This is their candy specialty so it’s only logical the gelato would be great! I got one giant candy piece when I tried it – it’s so good!

Pumpkin Gelato – I was surprised to see this wasn’t super smooth. It had good flavor though, and there were a few candy corns in mine! It’s not especially sweet, so you can really taste the pumpkin flavor.

img_7743-1Key Lime Gelato – This was brilliant and creamy – but it has graham cracker in it, so stay away if you’re gluten-free like me.

Chocolate Ice Cream – This is smooth and has a lighter, creamy texture, almost like soft serve. It’s not my favorite chocolate, but it was really fun, and the texture was awesome.

img_7744-1The prices are reasonable here, for a downtown location. Normally $3.75 for a single or $4.75 for a double would strike me as a little high, but in a city that is fairly typical (or even pretty good). And it’s nice that you can have gelato, ice cream or both in the same location.

I can happily recommend the homemade gelato and ice creams at Savannah Candy Kitchen. And be sure to pick up some candies pralines for the road!

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

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!

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