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Graeter’s: Exhibit C – Ice Cream Capital of the World

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 23, 2008

Graeter’s Ice Cream
2555 Bethel Road
(Production facility, kids play area and mini museum)

1534 W. Lane Avenue
Upper Arlington
(First Columbus location)

Other locations:
Grove City

What is so great about Graeter’s? Let me count the ways….. Graeter’s has served ice cream in Cincinnati since 1870. A company has to do many things right to be popular for 137 years! There are now over two dozen Graeter’s in Ohio as well as a large selection of pints and half gallons available in Kroger stores. Graeter’s melted away most of the competition in the online ice cream business, especially since 2002 when Oprah Winfrey mentioned that Graeter’s butter pecan was her favorite ice cream.

In spite of this large volume of ice cream production, it is still made in small two-gallon batches. The family ice cream recipe is egg custard and fresh cream mixed with the finest ingredients. The process is very time and labor intensive but leads to a sumptuous result. Vertical batch freezers, a.k.a. French Pots, press the ice cream onto itself which pushes air out. (Less air in the finished flavor means fewer ice crystals, which leads to a more tantalizing feel on the taste buds). The ice cream is also paddled by hand with specially designed scrapers instead of being whipped by a machine. Hand paddling beats more air out. Some air is needed to keep ice cream from becoming an icicle, so at the end of the process, Graeter’s ice cream is about 5% air compared to some commercial ice cream which can be up to 50% air. This is why a pint of Graeter’s weighs about one pound. This thickness gives the ice cream a distinctive density and creaminess. Having a butterfat content of 16 – 18% does not hurt either.

Many fans love the large chunks of chocolate in the chip flavors such as the signature Black Raspberry Chip. Graeter’s pours in liquid chocolate while mixing the ice cream. As the ice cream cools, the chocolate forms into large pieces. The chunks are then broken down into more manageable bites using the same paddles used to mix the ice cream. If you want to see what this French Pot process is all about, go see it in action at the Bethel Road Graeter’s.

Graeter’s is synonymous with good ice cream in the Buckeye state. Friends of the Graeter family opened the first Graeter’s in Columbus on Lane Avenue in 1989. Today there are multiple Columbus locations. The ice cream is made fresh locally. The toppings and waffle cones are made by hand in each store. Graeter’s has consistently been ranked as one of the best ice creams in the nation, Ohio and of course Columbus for more than a decade.

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