Homemade Ice Cream in Orlando!

You might have been able to detect a bit of excitement from the title of this blog. If you did, you’re incorrect. There was actually a ton of excitement behind that blog title.

You may be thinking, why is Orlando so special? You’ve had homemade ice cream all over the country!

Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking that. The unfortunate reality is that the Orlando area suffers from a severe lack of homemade ice cream options.

You’ve got your soft-serve yogurt places. You’ve got soft-serve ice cream places. And you’ve occasionally got places that serve the hard stuff too – mostly Baskin Robbins and the like, but occasionally it’s a local shop carrying some ice cream they purchased from a distributor. And if you’re seeking gelato, you’ll find occasional options too, although I’m most excited to hear that Gelato Fiasco is opening an Orlando location soon.

But if you want homemade ice cream, made by the shop you’re purchasing it in, I wish you luck. Seriously. I’ve been in Davenport for more than three and a half months now, and finding anything less than a forty-five minute drive just wasn’t happening.

But yesterday was my day. We were in Orlando playing a concert, so we decided to adventure in the area while we were there. In searching for a botanical garden, I stumbled onto Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream. Ross and I decided we were obligated to stop. And wow – I’m sure glad that we did!

The outside is rather unassuming, with a light pink font amidst a very humble strip mall. But when you enter, you’ll be charmed by its light pink walls and sunny demeanor.

Affordable prices at Kelly'sPrices are extremely reasonable for a city, at $3.50 for a decent-sized small, $4.50 for well-portioned regular and $5.50 for a large. And if you are struggling to decide, you can get a couple of flavors in a regular (as well as a small, I believe) or three flavors in a large…or you can get an ice cream flight!

Ice cream flights are one of my favorite things. You typically pay a little more for the pleasure of a wide selection of flavors. In this case, I actually think it’s a very good deal. For $8.50 (plus tax), you’ll get four mini-waffle bowls, each with a scoop and change of a different flavor. For $10.50, they’ll be sundaes, with a topping and whipped cream and a cherry on each of them. They’ve got shakes and and shaved ice and other awesomeness too, and they have a lot of “signature” flavors, classics plus a rotating selection of seasonal scoops to try.

As usual, we tried lots of flavors, and unsurprisingly, I got an ice cream flight. It seemed like a fair price even without the waffle bowls (which I can’t eat due to gluten) but my husband Ross enjoyed snacking on them, so all wasn’t lost. Ross got a regular with two flavors.

Four cupcake holder filled with ice cream scoopsHere’s our report!

Lavendar Vanilla – This is the strongest lavender I’ve had! It’s really prominent and bright, but you taste the vanilla too; it’s a great complement. It does melt rather quickly, but not horribly. I think this flavor is best in smaller doses because it’s intense, and it almost gains in tensity as you eat more of it! It’s not quite as creamy as I’d prefer, but it’s still got plenty of creaminess.

Valen-thyme Honey – A great seasonal option. First you taste the sweet, natural honey; then you taste the thyme; and the vanilla base is subtle but nice. I love the sweetness with a bit of bite combination. It’s excellent, refreshing flavor with a bit of pop. Like the lavendar vanilla, I could use a touch more creaminess if I had my choice, but it’s still plenty.

Key Lime – Wow. This is creamy and bright and the perfect taste of key lime juice. It’s almost like cheesecake filling, without any crust/graham cracker/mixins. This is probably the creamiest flavor here. I could eat this every day. Refreshing and creamy…this is the best key lime I’ve ever had.

Maple Bourbon Bacon – It’s a maple base, with a hint of bourbon lending it a bit of wood or nuttiness, and the bacon is perfectly crispy. The bacon is also perfectly distributed so that we both found we had a little bit in every bite, although maple is the showcase here. The maple is outstanding, prominent with a deepness to it and that wonderful maple sweetness.

Cake Batter ‘n Sprinkles – Although this isn’t earth-shattering, it’s a really great cake batter base. High quality for sure, can’t really ask for more, and the sprinkles are a fun texture throughout. It’s a creamy base, but it has a firmness to it too, almost like a brownie or something else harder than ice cream…fudgy perhaps. I’m a huge fan of Blake’s cake batter ice cream (it has cake and frosting in it!) but I have to assume that this base would kick that base’s butt. Very well done.

Mexican Chocolate – This is a more subtle heat than I expected. Cinnamon is prominent here. It’s very nice, but definitely not my favorite for this type of thing.

The staff here was friendly and patient and accommodated my request to have a bowl-less ice cream flight very well. Although we preferred the creaminess of the Maple Bourbon Bacon and the Key Lime, all of them were delicious. I’m so glad we found Kelly’s and I look forward to returning whenever we’re in the area. Definitely a gem!

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!

Everyone’s Leapin’ for Leopold’s

Two scoops of Leopold's ice creamWhen you’re walking down the street and you see that everyone is in line for the same thing, that should peak your curiosity. And if you’re walking through downtown Savannah, there’s an excellent chance that the long line is for Leopold’s homemade ice cream.

This place is an institution. They’ll be celebrating their 100th anniversary next year! They carry everything from traditional ice cream flavors to flavors they’ve made since 1919 like lemon custard, to flavors made with local ingredients (like ginger from Verdant Kitchen in Savannah) to more unusual, seasonal flavors like Japanese cherry blossom and lavender. This stuff is super premium, and they offer nice sorbets too, alongside a menu with fancy coffee drinks, sandwiches and soups. (For those of you in New Hampshire, it reminded me of Blake’s a bit in terms of their offerings.)

They’re a little bit pricey compared to what I’m used to – $4 for a single scoop, $5.50 for a double scoop, plus tax – and you can only get one flavor per scoop. But the pricing seems fair for “city” ice cream, and they will happily let you try whatever you like. Of course for the benefit of all of you, I had to try a lot of flavors. Here’s how I did:

The menu board at Leopold'sCaramel Swirl – This is a caramel base with homemade caramel swirl in it. Basically, this is a perfect ice cream. It’s an amazing blend of creamy texture and caramel flavor.

Lemon Custard – Wow. What a great choice. This is rich and creamy and full of lemon flavor, and it isn’t too sweet. It’s perfect for a hot, humid day in Savannah. My only critique? It is a little one-note, so I’m glad I got multiple flavors to avoid flavor fatigue. (I just invented that. Pretty good, right?)

Japanese Cherry Blossom – This is super smooth, without any chunks and with a very gentle flavor. I found it pleasant, but not exciting.

Ginger – The chunk of local ginger in this bite was amazing. So tasty if you need a kick in your ice cream!

The portions are ample here. I had to wait at least 20 minutes to reach the counter, but they brought out menus and water for waiting patrons and had plenty of seating once I got inside.

The ice cream isn’t the creamiest I’ve had,  but the texture is very, very good. It could use a touch more creaminess – it occasionally felt like a little too much work to take a bite. But the caramel and cherry were the perfect consistency, so it seems to vary a bit by flavor.

If your interest is really peaked, they are willing to ship this around the world for you! Have you tried Leopold’s? Stay tuned for my next blog, where I share another ice cream option in downtown Savannah!

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

Great flavors at Leopold's

Ice Cream From Royalty in Milton, DE

Okay, royalty-based ice cream is a little silly. But this is from the same person who lived in a townhouse sandwiched between Dairy Queen and Burger King, leading for us to refer to it as the Royalty House.

But ice cream isn’t silly. It’s delicious! King’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop in Milton, Delaware is on a cute street in a cute town.

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The reason we made the visit was to visit Dogfish Head Brewery (well worth the visit, even if you don’t drink beer!) but this ice cream shop, with “homemade” in its sign, caught my eye. It turned out to be the shop I’d seen reference to in a couple of articles under a slightly different name, so I’d never been able to locate it!

My husband, Ross, indulged me and said yes, go ahead and get some ice cream. So I did!

They were happy to let me combine multiple flavors in a small cup. Their portions were ample, and they had fantastic service, letting us try as many flavors as we wanted. They also offer some really fun-sounding yogurts.

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It’s an adorable ice cream parlor – but there is no bathroom, so be prepared! They sell exclusively ice cream – no soda or coffee – and it’s a really nice place if you’re looking for an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Here’s what i settled on.

Butter Brickle: This has a delicious butterscotch flavor. It might be a little cheap-tasting? But I really enjoyed it.

Scoops of ice cream in a paper cupMocha: This is a strong and distinct coffee flavor, with chocolate covered expresso beans. Yum!

Dutch chocolate: This is a very pleasant, rich medium chocolate flavor. It has a light and smooth texture, and it’s soft.

Overall, all of the ice cream was great, though not life-changing. The ice cream was soft so it will melt quickly if you take it outside in the heat.

After visiting another less stellar Delaware ice cream parlor, I was delighted to stumble on King’s Homemade Ice Cream. Thanks for the treat!Two 50s style tables and Norman Rockwell paintings near an ice crema bar

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

Scoops of Delicious on the Outer Banks

Being from New Hampshire, where homemade ice cream can be found almost everywhere, I have fairly high expectations for local ice cream. I’m not content with whatever the local, cheap premium offerings are. I like to taste the local flavor, you know? In touristy, vacation areas, ice cream places are everywhere, and that can make digging for the good stuff a real challenge. That’s especially true here in the Outer Banks, where most places don’t have a website and at best have an active Facebook page. But we’ve done the hard work of sorting out the local offerings for you, so you can focus on enjoying your ice cream, and here is one of our favorites.

Scoops could easily get lost in the shuffle of touristy shops in Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills. But it shouldn’t – this place is special. Their Nags Head location is in a small, two-story shopping plaza that includes Kitty Hawk Kites, a fun boutique, a fudgery and more. 

Their Kill Devil Hills location is a few miles north of that, on the opposite side of the street. They’re close enough to each other that we recommend visiting whichever one is on the more convenient side of the street. 

When we first visited Scoops, it was after trying out two other local, homemade ice cream offerings in the area. We hadn’t been super-impressed and weren’t expecting to be here. But lucky for us, Scoops is really worth a visit. Ignore the few non-homemade offerings in the case (it will be obvious) and stick with Scoops for some creamy ice cream in original flavors that are perfect for summer. They’re also excellent at recreating the flavor of particularly non-ice cream foods.

Here are some of the diverse offerings we’ve tried, with our thoughts:

Mandarin Chocolate Chip – A summer fun orange flavor with less sweet chocolate chips. A much more upscale sherbet/chocolate jimmies/sprinkles combination!

Beach Cooler – This is like a pina colada, but with banana instead of pineapple. I loved the first bite, although I was less enthralled after that. The fluffy texture is great. It reminds you of a delicious coconut beverage, and the texture is so fun that it kind of re-sold me as I ate more of it!

Cantaloupe – The real fruit is subtle, and this is too! Not very sweet and tastes just like the real thing. It’s awesome, a perfect summer flavor. 

Chocolate – Expect a lighter chocolate flavor, super creamy and melt in your mouth delicious. 

Butterfinger – So fun! It tastes just like the candy. 

Salted Caramel – This is pleasant, but not striking. The consistency is similar to a cheap coffee ice cream. It reminded me of a cheap caramel candy. 

Cotton Candy – This one is highly recommended! It honestly tastes just like the real thing. If you like cotton candy, you need to experience this for yourself! 

Mint Chocolate Chip – Charming, with good chocolate chips, but not revelatory. 

Strawberry Cheesecake – This has an excellent fruity base with a real creaminess to it, with excellent chunks of cheesecake. 

Heavenly Hash – Uses their already great chocolate base, so it’s delicious. 

Chocolate Brownie – Ross’ review is that this is the “same chocolate we know and love with chunks of moist, delicious brownie”.

Butter Pecan – A light, sweet ice cream with a wonderful buttery aftertaste.

Amaretto – Very good and tastes authentic. 

Scoops is one of two great options for ice cream on the Outer Banks. They’re reliably tasty, but they’re also extraordinarily friendly. They’re one of the few places that encourage you to try whatever flavors you’d like, and they will combine flavors into a scoop too. And it’s very affordable!

Both locations have pleasant places to sit – Nags Head outside in the shade or in view of the ocean, and Kill Devil Hills inside like a traditional ice cream parlor. We’ve also sampled a tasty burger in Nags Head, so this is a great option for a fairly quick, cheap meal. (Think under $3 for a burger.) 

Their ice cream melts in your mouth and is never icy, and they make gorgeous ice cream cakes if you should need one. We recommend a side of hot fudge to put on top! 

They also carry some delightful candy, including locally made bacon truffles. You’ll want to try one – trust us on that. And we hear the Nags Head location has some fun live music during the summer. 


One thing to note? Everyone around here has flexible hours, depending on traffic and maybe their whim. So call ahead and be willing to go to the other location if one is closed. Less of an issue in the heart of the summer, but the sign says to be aware of this. 

We love Scoops and if we are in the area, we always try to stop in for a scoop or two. We’re very thankful for this local homemade ice cream option on the Outer Banks!

Free Cone Day Is What You Make Of It

This past Tuesday was Free Cone Day, at least according to Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve only attended Free Cone Day a few times – maybe 3 times? Mostly because a) Ben & Jerry’s is usually downtown and/or out of my way (Meredith & Manchester, NH are the two I’ve participated in) and because b) as much as I enjoy Ben & Jerry’s, it’s more expensive and not super local when compared to my usual haunts, so I tend to gravitate towards the local ice cream places instead. I do love their work toward free trade & organic (and now a vegan flavor) though, so I have to applaud them for that.

In any case, Meredith is more than an hour away for me, which definitely wouldn’t justify a trip…except that I had to go to a rehearsal 20 minutes away on Tuesday. So I had a visit penciled in, obviously. Free Cone Day is fun. You usually have to stand in line for a long time, but it gives you plenty of time to choose your flavor. They usually let you get an extra scoop if you donate a buck to charity too.

Unfortunately, my plans were derailed. The day prior, my husband and I realized that he needed some library books – and because we live in a tiny town aka village, the library wouldn’t be open when he was free. So despite my best efforts to arrive promptly when the library opened at 2 p.m., by the time I’d found and checked out books, I knew that Ben & Jerry’s just wouldn’t fit into my schedule before rehearsal.

Saddened, I began the trip south. But about halfway, I had a realization…if I didn’t have to go out of my way, I would be getting to rehearsal VERY early. Which meant I had time for ice cream! It wouldn’t be Ben & Jerry’s, and it wouldn’t be free, but at least I could fulfill my ice cream craving!

IMG_2221So rather than drive non-stop, I pulled off the highway at M & M Scoops in Plymouth. They’re right downtown, perfect for Plymouth State University students, and they have an old-fashioned ice cream counter that serves soups & basic lunch food as well as Blake’s ice cream. Prices are reasonable ($3.60 for a scoop that is really 2 scoops) and Blake’s is delicious. I have never managed to try anything but ice cream though – let me know if you have!

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I went with an old favorite – Graham Central Station. It’s a guaranteed Jamie-pleaser. Graham cracker ice cream, with “a graham cracker variegate and chocolate covered crisp candy”. It’s delightful. Very smooth and creamy (one of the smoothest textures I’ve found in NH), never icy, rich and awesome. And it was a gorgeous afternoon for ice cream.

IMG_2212So, I celebrated Free Cone Day by paying for ice cream. But you know what? I really lucked out, because at least for me, it was Free Parking Day in Plymouth! Someone left me 90 minutes on the meter. Pretty great!

I haven’t been able to blog about all of my recent ice cream adventures, so you can look forward to more soon. I love having a back catalogue of ice cream awesomeness.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful week!

p.s. Thanks for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link!