CMH Gourmand

Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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Denise’s: Exhibit A – Ice Cream Capital of the World

Posted by cmh gourmand on July 15, 2008


Denise’s Homemade Ice Cream
2899 N. High Street
Clintonville
614.267.8800

Denise’s was a Bean Town favorite. It earned local and regional attention – including recognition as a Great Ate ice cream place by the east coast oriented Phantom Gourmet. Stan Zafran packed up the business when his wife – Denise – chose to move to Columbus to be near her family. Denise’s is the best gift Columbus ever received from Boston, much better than baked beans.

When this writer called to ask Stan a few questions about Denise’s, he insisted I come see him at work. Six hours after meeting the head dipper of Denise’s, I had tasted nearly every flavor and helped create three batches of ice cream. The Zafran philosophy of ice cream is a mix of cooking, chemistry, and creativity. While discussing his passion for ice cream, Zafran is as likely to mention viscosity as cocoa or an Italian gelato recipe. Making great ice cream is hard work, takes a lot of time, and the best ingredients are expensive so you have to love what you do and hope the customers will love what you make. There are many places where Stan could cut corners by using canned fruits, cheaper supplies, or premixed sauces, but Stan can’t stand for that – even if it means less profit. He cares deeply about the quality of his product so he refuses to use any additives or artificial flavorings.

He also has a passion for working with and teaching his employees, which is reflected in the names of some of his past and current flavors – Monty’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Naomi’s Thin Mint Mint Oreo and Kate’s Chocolate Sorbet. There are over 40 flavors to choose from including Guinness Stout, Chai Tea, Carrot Cake, Pistachio (the real deal, not the fake stuff that looks bright green), Lemon Pucker, and Sex on the Beach Sorbet.

Stan is constantly churning out new creative creations. Deciding on just one or two flavors may cause a culinary conundrum or a brain freeze but the scoopers at Denise’s are more than happy to offer multiple samples. If Stan sees you stuck pondering the fruits of his labor, expect him ask you to try his latest concoction, possibly right of out the ice cream machine.

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2 Responses to “Denise’s: Exhibit A – Ice Cream Capital of the World”

  1. Steve said

    I’m really excited about trying all these places you write about! I love ice cream.

    Also, I was up in Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago, recently. Another connection between Columbus and ice cream: http://www.bobtailicecream.com/

    “Jeff and Chris were inspired to create Bobtail by Grandpa Wilcoxon. . .who, beginning in 1950, sold ice cream from a tiny factory and door-to-door from a truck to his neighbors in Bexley, Ohio.”

    Steve

  2. Lorence said

    Exhibit A is right – of all the wonderful Ice creameries in and around Columbus, Denise’s is my favorite. While I’ve only had a few flavors and tasted only a handful (or two) more (I’m stuck on the Guinness), I think it’s the best overall.

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