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Archive for the ‘ice cream’ Category

CLEWeek: Sweet Moses

Posted by CMH Gourmand on June 11, 2013


I like ice cream. In fact I like Ice cream a lot. I have eaten much more than you have. I have read more about it. I may have made more than you have. So, in case it is not yet clear, I have a thing for ice cream. In an alternate retirement path for me, I see myself owning an ice cream shop in Athens Ohio that would be a more accessible, less (oh my god I am going go say/write it) pretentious version of Jeni’s. Another thing I have a thing for is history – the stories, lore, facts and falsehoods of food history, in particular ice cream.

The above sets the stage for why I adore Sweet Moses. Creating a culinary experience is a difficult task. Creating one that is also historically accurate as well as really, deliciously, painfully good and still profitable is……near impossible, downright expensive and risky as hell. So when I approached the doors of Sweet Moses, I was a bit skeptical. I really did not want to get my hopes up only to see them melt away and go down the drain.

The closest experience in my life to a true soda fountain occurred in my early youth before I could appreciate it. The Beechwold Pharmacy just up the street from my childhood abode was a quick banana seated bike ride away. I might have peeked my head in a few times as a youth, but I never stayed long enough to enjoy the place. It seemed a bit old-fashioned for my inexperienced pre-gourmand, pre teenage self. I was more interested in the pharmacy across the street that had an ancient coke machine dispensing a freezing cold bottle of coke for a quarter next to a stack of 25-cent comic books that time forgot. By the time I did get to an age where I could appreciate a true soda fountain, the Beechwold Pharmacy was a florist shop and I was scooping ice cream at my first job at Knight’s Ice Cream. (Note: I did find this soda fountain again in my later years).


Now that the flashback sequence is over, let’s get back to Sweet Moses. First – the name.
Sweet as in everything this establishment serves. Moses as in Moses Cleaveland, the founding father of Cleveland. Located within the Gordon Square Arts District, Sweet Moses was created with the intention of providing a family friendly place where guests can hang out, take their time and slow down a bit transporting themselves back to the era and pace of the 1930’s and 1940’s, the heyday of the soda jerk. Since we are all a bit too hectic and unschooled in the ways of the soda fountain, the shop conveniently displays signs to guide guests through the disorientation of not knowing what to do…. and having forgotten how to chill out a bit.


Sweet Moses gets every little detail right – from the antique high cresting wooden booths, swivel top stools and wire backed parlor chairs to the triple draft arm Bastion Blessings soda fountain from the 1940’s. Fortunately for us while owner Jeffrey Moreau was preparing for his departure from corporate American he was also collecting real deal soda fountain and ice cream parlor components from the 1920’s to 1940’s throughout a five state area. Some of the menu boards are repurposed from an 1800’s farmhouse. Moreau’s dream was to create a place that fit in with its neighborhood and would feel like it had always been there. His goal: to be authentic without being hokey was not the easiest task.


However collecting the equipment was an easier task than trying to get all of the soda fountain recipes right and ensuring flavors were spot on. A lot of soda fountain lore was lost in the decades so a fair amount of trial an error was needed before opening in March of 2011. And let me assure you, having sampled almost everything that everything is as it should be at Sweet Moses…..just right. The ice cream base is made using Hartzler Dairy milk from Wooster. The root beer is home-made and hand carbonated. The butterscotch, sauces and toppings are made from hand….all labor intensive, all ingredient driven and not inexpensive to source. The major investment is in time – it takes longer to make something than pour it out of a can but the tastes differences between fresh and manufactured never compare. For example, for the Bananas Foster Ice Cream, twenty just right and ripe bananas go into each tub of ice cream. The ice cream machine is the same (Rolls Royce of the trade) Carpigiani that Jeni’s Ice Cream uses. For those of you that are ice cream savvy, the ice cream is low overflow (dense ice cream with a low air content) with about 12% butterfat…..that is the sweet spot for ice cream in my book.


Whether the ice cream is scooped or dished served in a sundae or fresh made waffle cone – the attention to detail is shown in every item served from the counter. What else makes the experience authentic – soda jerk garb of hats and aprons adore each employee as well as a bit of soda jerk jargon getting slung behind the counter. Many of the tables have small placards with details about the shop, the lingo and the lore of soda fountains. Small touches include a salty pretzel attached to the spoon of each sweet sundae. Water service to each table, a lacy coaster with each dish – the right spoon for the right glass – everything must be just so.

What else makes the place a destination: Homemade pies….and brownies. Served with or without ice cream have quickly become well worth the calorie commitment. Or maybe a peanut butter sandwich….simple, basic, American as apple pie….and if you come on the right day, you could get that too. Another item that started as an afterthought and has become a signature items is house made caramel corn, with the addition of handcrafted toffee.


Or maybe you want to bring someone with you for The Gordon Square: homemade brownie covered with Bananas Foster ice cream then topped with warm caramel and hot fudge. The more ambitious or the chronically indecisive may want The Terminal Tower:Ten scoops of ice cream—one scoop of each regular flavor with five toppings, almonds, pecans, sprinkles, whipped cream, some cherries and a few things I may have forgotten.
Jeffrey Moreau aimed to create something that would honor the past and by doing so, has ensured a sweet future on Gordon Square.
6800 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio

the end

Posted in CLEGourmand, desserts, ice cream, Ohio, pies, Road Trip | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SKY Gourmand: Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor

Posted by CMH Gourmand on June 3, 2012

The last time I visited Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor in Sandusky was in 1998. Note to self, this should be a yearly visit at the least. At the time I was writing an article about the best ice cream parlors in Ohio. I still firmly believe this is one of the best. I visited last fall during my extended tour of the Lake Erie Coast. I made it a point to go to Toft’s because I still had a great memory of the place so many years later (because in 1998 I arrived near the end of the day and I had already been to several area ice creameries on my quest).

Let’s begin with some back story. The Toft family started selling milk from their farm in 1900. By 1940 the company had grown to selling a wide range of dairy products throughout a large part of Northeast Ohio and built a new plant with the addition of an ice cream production line and a parlor to scoop out their new ice cream products.

In 1985 the company moved to the present location at the intersection of Venice Road and Edgewater Drive. Toft’s is still locally and family owned…a rarity in the business and it is he oldest continuously operating dairy in Ohio. Milk is purchased from local diary farmers and is free of growth hormones.

Considering all of the above, it could have been easy for the company to ditch the parlor to cut costs and employee expenses. However, the parlor persists and it is easy to understand why. First the parlor is a showcase of their products and the company is very proud of what they make and how they make it. In addition to scooping ice cream, other Toft’s products are sold here including milk, half and half, whipped cream and more. The much-loved and hard to find Ballreich’s potato chips are on the shelves.

The parlor scoops thirty plus ice cream flavors to the public. The flavors vary from the standard vanilla to more exotic flavors such as Graham Central Station and Yellow Cake Batter. The scoops are gigantic…close to a pint in size and weight. Truthfully, I could not finish one full scoop of ice cream. I suppose scooping from a parlor attached to the production plant makes the employees extra generous with their ice cream allocation. I also can’t think of any other ice cream operation with lower scoop prices than Toft’s (three scoops at Jeni’s would buy almost the entire flavor selection at Toft’s). The ice cream is obviously freshly made. You can also buy pints, gallons and some three gallon flavors to take home. Outside of The Anderson’s which has a limited selection, there is no other place to get Toft’s in central Ohio, so if you go take a cooler and stock up.

It is easy to miss the parlor since it is attached to a large manufacturing facility, but it is worth dropping in even if you are full. The place is fun and it is refreshing to see a company create a sense of playfulness in their place which serves as their face to the public. The rear wall is lined with chairs made just for the purpose of sitting and eating ice cream that were part of the old Toft’s parlor on Monroe Street. The chairs moved to the new plant on Venice Road when it was built. They have attached desk arms to allow a place to sit to ponder your flavor selection or rest while you are trying to complete a full scoop. (Credit for clarification to OAFDawg). I really enjoy the cow filled mural along the walls as well.

If you are in the area or close by, make some time to drop into Toft’s but think twice about ordering two scoops.

Toft’s Dairy
3717 Venice Road
Parlor Phone: 419.625.5490

Other stores in Port Clinton and Fremont

Toft Dairy Ice Cream Parlor on Urbanspoon

Posted in ice cream, Ohio, Road Trip, Sky Gourmand | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Serendipity Ice Cream and Coffee House

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 7, 2011

I found a place that serves both coffee and ice cream, its name is Serendipity and that is how I found it. I was roaming around Westerville and just happened to walk by the place after eating. I saw Ice cream and coffee together in one place and knew I had to go in. Serendipity is located in an old house on East College Ave in downtown Westerville. It blends in with the neighborhood including the gazebo style dual swing in the front yard – it is great for rocking in.

In the inside – there is an ice cream counter dipping Ashby’s ice cream, a full service coffee shop and a small selection of baked goods, sandwiches, paninis and other foods.

Ice Cream and coffee were made for each other which makes Serendipity special. What makes it extra special is the cozy college coffee house feel it creates. The house is full of comfortable couches and chairs, plenty of reading material, games, free Wi-Fi, superior bathrooms and anything else you would need to camp out for one to twelve hours. I was too full to sample anything other than the friendly service but I know I will be back very soon.

Serendipity Ice Cream and Coffee House
33 East College Ave

Posted in desserts, ice cream | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Jeni’s Ice Cream in Clintonville: Sundae Bar Blues

Posted by CMH Gourmand on October 3, 2010

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream officially opened brick and mortar store number six in Clintonville on October 1st. As a native Clintonvillian I am happy to have this addition to the neighborhood and even more happy that it is within walking distance of my front door. The presence of Jeni’s is good for our community and a needed culinary shot in the arm for north Clintonville/Beechwold.

I have been a fan of Jeni’s ice cream since before there was a Jeni’s. Back in the day, when she was Britton not a Britton-Bauer Jeni had a scoop shop called Scream in the Short North. It was good ice cream, but not the great ice cream she wanted so she stepped back, retooled and set out to build an ice cream empire. She has succeeded. It has been fun and filling to watch and write about the growth of Jeni’s.

Now it is time for me to whine. I received a few advance notices about the opening of the new store – via word of mouth, a press release, twitter and the usual suspects. One phrase burned into my mind: SUNDAE BAR. Oh, yes. I had visions of a sundae bar dancing around in my head. The whole concept seemed radical to me. A sundae bar could only mean one thing: a bar of ice creams and toppings set up for self service like a salad bar. Or maybe it might be called an ice cream trough. Whatever. I thought: Visionary, radical, gluttonous…..VALUE! Since this seemed like a bold idea, I did check my reality a bit and thought, well, maybe they just mean a bar in the style of an old pharmacy counter where one could saunter up to a stool, order a sundae (“Make that a double icecreamkeep.”) and watch the ingredients come together. That would be cool, not as a cool as the ice cream trough sundae bar, but cool. As a kid growing up in Clintonville, I would walk to the Beechwold Pharmacy where a 1940’s soda fountain counter was in place for sandwiches and scooping ice cream. The new Jeni’s was not so far from where the pharmacy used to be. This Jeni’s sundae bar would be a tribute to days of old when soda jerks reigned. GENIUS! I was psyched. I waited. I watched. I…longed. And the day came. I popped in for a preview on September 30th. Anticipation was high. While others screamed for ice cream, I stalked for the sundae bar.

I walked through the door, searched and scoured and found no sundae bar. I felt like a kid waiting for the best Christmas present ever but opening the box to get Garanimals. As the muse would say…meh. There is a workstation of sorts where employees have the space to create sundaes. That is it. That is the sundae bar. And that is why I have the Sundae Bar Blues. Meh.

The next Jeni’s are expected to open in Powell then German Village. If you hear about a Sundae Bar…don’t get your hopes up. However, do hope for sundaes because they are really good.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream website

home of the sundae bar……
4247 North High Street

Posted in Clintonville, ice cream, kid friendly dining | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

July is National Ice Cream (Capital of the World) Month: This Week is Beer Float Week

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 19, 2010

This post is really just a repository for a few leftovers that are not quite postworthy, but combined do create a theme.

The subtitle of CMH Gourmand is “Ice Cream Capital of the World”. I still be believe that. Put anyone in my company for about four to five hours and I can prove my statement with tasting and commentary.

Ice Cream Capital of the World Exhibit #47
Where the people have Beer Floats with an Ohio made ice cream.

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, I declare this Columbus Beer Float Week.

The Hills Market is serving up Beer Floats on Wednesday (July 21st). The Hills hosts many great eating events on their veranda, this is one.

The Hills is pouring five different floats featuring Ayars Family Farm Ice Cream (new, from Mechanicsburg, Ohio) and a variety of stouts, lambics and unique beers that bode well with ice cream. The floats are $1.75 each or you can try a flight of five for $7.50. Floats will be poured from 5:30 to 7:30 pm as part of the Harvest Happy Hour.

Bodega in the Short North is also featuring Youngs Chocolate Stout with Jeni’s Salty Caramel Ice Cream. Food historians may quibble in the future, but it will be noted in the record that the widespread use of and advocacy for Beer Floats began in Columbus in early 2008. Clearly some type of visionary genius was the guiding hand for this populist delicacy.

Ice Cream Capital of the World Exhibit #48
A city which can support a growing Independent ice cream empire.

Jeni’s Ice Cream declares Ice Cream Independence

It was tea in 1773 and now there is a call for ice cream independence in 2010. A flyer to this effect was seen in the Short North.

Among the ice cream rights that we have: creaminess, fresh ingredients and the pursuit of deliciousness. These are civil rights I can support. On a side note Jeni’s was also granted a code variance that will allow it to open a location (within walking distance of Gourmand Manor) in Clintonville as early as September. Unlike the tea party, there will be no swarms of residents dumping ice cream into the Olentangy we will be licking it all up.

In Other Jeni’s news, Jeni Britton Bauer has been selected as a Central Ohio Terra Madre delegate. Her supplier of milk cream for ice cream base, Warren Taylor from Snowville Creamery has also been selected for Terra Madre as well. There has been some question about Columbus having the ability to compete on the national food scene. As if being the Ice Cream Capital of the World was not enough, our community as well as the the farmers that supply our artisans and chefs will be sending nine people to Italy to talk food at Terra Madre. That is a big deal.

Posted in beer, Columbus, ice cream | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

a la alt.eats: Mardi Gras Ice Cream

Posted by CMH Gourmand on June 25, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, RSS Feeders and Google Reader users, Twitter followers and lurkers, allow me to introduce you to alt eats Columbus. A taste of the project is shown below. The website launched in March and has accumulated sufficient examples to allow visitors to get a sense of what it is all about. Our collective mission is to seek out and discover the immigrant kitchens and hidden cuisines of Columbus in places beyond the well beaten path. The Taco Trucks Columbus team added a few more scouts to our group to help us eat, explore and elaborate on the diversity of eateries in the capital city.

(alt eats entry below)

Cuisine: Ice Creams of the World

1947 Hard Road (Intersection of Hard Road and Smokey Row)
Monday to Sunday 1 pm to 9:30 pm / 10:00pm in summer months.
Closed for a period of time in the winter.

Click here to map it!

There is an ice creamery in our city that is beloved for having fascinating flavors made from unusual combinations of non traditional ingredients. The owner of this little ice cream shop started scooping her exotic creations in 2000 and quickly grew a loyal following. This is not the story of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. This is the tale of Mita Shah and Mardi Gras ice cream. Mita has always enjoyed cooking and making special Indian dishes for her relatives. She also likes to experiment with flavors. She created a mango ice cream recipe which she gave to the owner of a nearby ice cream store. Mango rapidly became a customer favorite so the owner asked Mita if she wanted to work for him. She told him she would rather purchase the business when he was ready to sell, and was later given the opportunity to buy Mardi Gras. She kept the name while changing the recipes of many of the traditional homemade flavors.

Mita has created a United Nations of ice creams. In addition to the standards, she offers several flavors based on Indian desserts, a few with Asian leanings such as lychee or green tea and several obscure or forgotten regional ice creams including Blue Moon (a very blue, vanilla based ice cream). She has a repertoire of 200 flavors, scooping 48 at any given time including (depending on ingredient availability) at least 16 international flavors.

Mardi Gras has an unlikely location, buried in a strip mall on the Northwest side of Columbus. Over ten years a loyal customer base has developed at a place that is way off the radar. The walls are lined with photographs of happy customers. A cricket team comes in for a traditional round of Sweet Rose milkshakes before matches.

Customers bring her recipes and ideas for her to try out. One customer brought her a recipe for Spumoni that was passed down from her Italian grandmother. Mita is constantly searching for authentic ingredients and dries her own fruits so she can create flavor profiles that meet her high standards. She teaches her employees to take special steps to store and cover the ice cream to preserve freshness and flavor.

Unique flavors such as Kesar Pista (a mix of saffron, almonds, pistachios and cardimum) are balanced out with flavors such as Rum Raisin or Highlander Grogg. Mardi Gras has something for everyone with kid friendly soft serve options, candy toppings, sugar free and fat free options. There is even a flavor with noodles in it, that one is staying a secret until you try it. The staff gladly offer as many samples as one needs to make a decision since there are so many new options to choose from.

Popular flavors include: Mango, Sweet Rose (it really has the aroma of a rose), Ginger (not too intense, but full of flavor), Anjeer (Fig), Guava and Roasted Bananas. Mita’s more exotic flavors combine a balance of subtle and intense tastes while allowing one to taste the true essence of the main ingredient. Tasting notes for the Falooda Kulfi (a combination with Iranian, Pakastani and Indian roots that includes pistachios and rose water) were: “intensely floral, creamy, sweet aroma, like sticking a nose in a flower“. Mardi Gras makes a party of flavors and tastes which allow one to explore the world via an ice cream cone.

Posted in Columbus, culinary knowledge, ice cream | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Travels on US 68: Urbana to West Liberty (Food Trail)

Posted by CMH Gourmand on October 24, 2009

Readers may recall the post about Urbana’s Crabill’s Hamburgers back in September. Well that was just the beginning of my day. My journey of discovery and rediscovery took me through Urbana then up Route 68 to Kenton, Ohio and beyond. So months after the fact, here is the recap.

After a few hamburgers and investigation of the food scene in downtown Urbana, I started my backroads journey to Ravenhurst Winery in Mt. Victory. Driving out of town, I rubbernecked seeing the image of a potato chip person out of the corner of my eye. Meandering back to the site of my sighting, I found –

Mumfords since 1932

Mumford's since 1932

Mumford’s Potato Chips.
325 North Main St

The Mumford clan started crafting potato chips in 1932, back in the day when there were many regional potato chip companies in Ohio. Mumford’s is still at it, although as charming as the store looks from the outside, they started outsourcing production of their chips years ago. On the plus side, you can buy two pounds of potato chips on the cheap for emergency roadfood. For the full chip story click here.

Back on track, I recalled that I would be passing by a good source for ice cream in West Liberty. Looking at the clock, I figured I had an hour of extra time for reconnaissance and an ice cream cone. The last time I was on US 68 was in 1998 while researching the best Ohio ice cream stands for Ohio Magazine. I had wandered by the Ice Cream Parlor by accident. The place has changed owners since then but everything else has stayed the same. The waffle cones are still made fresh daily with a touch of malt. The moniker is still The Ice Cream Parlor. Since it is the only ice cream parlor in that neck of the woods there is no need to worry about a snappy name.

The servings are still on the enormous side and they still scoop Nafzigers a hard to find ice cream from Northwest Ohio. The time it takes to consume one cone of ice cream is exactly how long it takes to wander downtown West Liberty.

I had forgotten there are plenty diversions (Piatt Castles, Ohio Caverns and the highest point in Ohio) in this part of Ohio. However, with only 30 minutes left before I needed to get back on my timetable, I needed to get back on track. I still wanted to explore a new candy store which had taunted me with several signs on the way into West Liberty.

I had not heard of Marie’s before so I figured this would be a 5 minute peek and walk through visit. I thought wrong. This turned out to be one of the best chocolate and candy stores I have visited.

Marie’s Candies
311 Zanesfield Rd. (US 68)
West Liberty
Closed Sundays

This candy company started in 1956 so there is some history behind the name. However, there is even more history to the place. The current location is a restored railroad depot from the days when trains were to key to travel. The depot building was saved by owners Jay and Kathy King before it was used for fire department training. In 1993 they moved the depot to its present location and started the long process to restore the building to use it as a retail shop for their candy. The location finally opened Thanksgiving weekend in 1996.

The depot was brought back to life and restored to it’s former glory and additional space was added for retail sales, candy preparation and meeting space. The whole history of the building can be tracked on the walls surrounded by many artifacts from the glory days of railroad travel.

History is the side dish here. There is an incredible assortment of candy and chocolates. I spent almost an hour wandering around the store looking and sampling the selections. The service was great. I spoke with several of the employees as well as the owner at length. They were happy to answer all of my questions. At no time did they tell me I had a big smear of chocolate on my nose from the Ice Cream Parlor. Maybe they thought is was a birthmark or some type of disfigurement.

I left Marie’s with a few treats for the road and hauled tail for Mt. Victory hoping to get to Ravenhurst winery before closing. Along the way I sped by farmers market stands, drive in eatery’s and some sections of Amish country. There is a lot more to explore in the area but my first stop on my return will be a restocking mission at Marie’s.

Posted in chocolate, food, ice cream, Ohio, Road Trip | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Cow to Cone Tour: Local Foods Week Day Four

Posted by CMH Gourmand on October 6, 2009

If you have not heard of Jeni’s Ice Cream then you live under a rock with no access to print media, television, the webernet or me. I have been tracking the artisan ice cream crafting of Jeni Britton (Britton-Bauer now) since she scooped her primordial ice creams at Scream ice cream in the last decade. I have written and blogged about Jeni’s in many media over the years. Of course Jeni’s is pretty critical to my whole “ice cream capital of the world” campaign. So when I saw that a Local Foods Week tour was being offered at the Jeni’s plant I moved with haste to lock in my spot. I was one of twenty callers that called in time. Over 50 people were on a waiting list for the tour.

It is good to see good things in our world. Jeni’s is an example of a good person that did good work and as a result has achieved splendid things. Having the Bauer team on board helped a lot to build the business. I have often seen great success happen for people that were not so great. Such is not the case here. Jeni’s ice cream is one of the major pins that has places Columbus on the culinary map. You can expect to see a Jeni’s ice cream cart at any local event that promotes Columbus and good food, especially if there is a charity involved. I think the world of these folks. In the world of Ice Cream the baseline is good, so any ice cream maker can pretty much just show up and do well. Jeni has never been content with doing well, she constantly pushes the threshold for quality of product, service and flavor.

I am not cresting over the hump of Local Foods Week too well. It has been a massively busy time for eating and writing since August with almost daily events, meetings, dinners, etc., so I am starting to waddle and wane. Therefore for I am taking the lazy but timely approach of just posting photos and letting you fill in the gaps. More details on the tour just seems cruel to those that were on the waiting list.

(After the photos, I am recycling parts of a magazine article I wrote on Jeni’s years ago for people that do not know the Jeni’s Ice Cream history).

Jeni discusses and shows some of the fresh ingredients used in the ice cream recipes

Jeni discusses and shows some of the fresh ingredients used in the ice cream recipes

Fresh pumpkins delivered by Adam from Wayward Seed

Fresh pumpkins delivered by Adam from Wayward Seed

fresh beets

fresh beets

Ohio Organic Family Farms whipping cream and Ugandan fair trade vanilla

Ohio Organic Family Farms whipping cream and Ugandan fair trade vanilla

Ingredients end up in one of two tempermental Italian Carpigiani Gelato machines making ice cream in 10 gallon batches

Ingredients end up in one of two tempermental Italian
Carpigiani Gelato machines making ice cream in 10 gallon batches

ice cream samples galore including the exclusive Dean and Deluca flavor

ice cream samples galore including the exclusive Dean and Deluca flavor

reprinted by me with my permission:

Jeni Britton laid the foundation for her artisan ice cream career before she graduated from high school. She was among the first employees when Graeter’s premiered in Columbus. Later, Jeni walked across the parking lot to work at La Chatelaine where she learned the art and craft of making fine French baked goods and developed an appreciation for new flavors and culinary styles. Jeni opened Scream Ice Cream in 1996 with a passion for making ice cream her way. The shop had a good four-year run, but Jeni wanted to improve on her business concept and develop a craftsperson’s approach to fine ice cream. To advance her art, she took the famed Penn State Creamery Ice Cream course, studied with an Italian gelato maker and traveled extensively in pursuit of ice cream excellence. She then opened Jeni’s Fresh Ice Cream in 2002.

Over time she has made the business a family affair by adding her husband Charly Bauer and brother-in-law Tom to the fulltime team. Collectively, Jeni’s has continued to develop a loyal local and national following with an innovative concoction of flavors. Instead of relying on a lot of syrups and sugars, Jeni’s combination of special recipes and unique ingredients allow the natural flavors to come out to your taste buds. There are seasonal variations and signature flavors; an appetizer of flavor examples includes Sweet Corn with Black Raspberries, Bartlett Pear with Riesling Sorbet and Strawberry Rose Petal. These cutting edge creations caught the attention of the culinary critics on both coasts resulting in a Food and Wine Tastemaker Award in 2005, an appearance on Roker on the Road and numerous magazine articles.

Constantly cooking up these creative flavors allows for challenges and opportunities. The focus on local, natural, and seasonal ingredients causes Jeni to constantly forage for new purveyors and products. She has developed strong relationships with local farmers to obtain items such as milk and honey to meet her specific requirements. This quest for fresh ingredients led Jeni to be chef chair for the local branch of the Chef’s Collaborative, an organization that promotes chefs and farmers working together to create markets for local foods.

Preparing the components for an ice cream recipe is labor intensive. Everything is made in house including the marshmallows, pralines, sauces, and such. Interns from the Graham School mix the hard work of separating mint leaves with reminders from Jeni about how important math is to getting the right combination and ratio of flavor in each batch of ice cream. Jeni even experiments with the OSU diary science program in her quest for ice cream perfection. One day, she would like to own her own organic diary – she is that passionate about her product and what goes into it….. from Cow to Cone.

Posted in ice cream, tour | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Hills Market + Snowville Creamery = Beer Floats!

Posted by CMH Gourmand on May 27, 2009

Ice Cream Social

Ice Cream Social

Jill from the Hills teamed up with Jen and Warren from Snowville Creamery to craft a pairing of two of my favorite things – ice cream and beer. Visitors could sample either separately or even better – together in the form of beer floats (or a FrostTop Root Beer float for the timid, young and infirm).

There were many skeptics about beer floats but most were converted after the end of the the evening. I now will break down the steps in the process. DO TRY THIS AT HOME.

Step 1:
Get Snowville Creamery milk, a lot of ice, some sugar, vanilla and a few other items.

Step 2:
Pour, dump and spoon ingredients into your ice cream maker. In this case, Snowville’s bicycle powered ice cream churner. This is one of the coolest things ever.

Step 3:
Wait about 45 minutes for the ice cream to churn and chill. “Let” other people pedal the bike because it is fun, fun, fun! Then get a glass.

Step 4:
Select a beer. This is where people get a little squeamish. You have to choose good beers to make good floats. Jill and the Hills did a fine job with selection – three beers were picked that were float friendly.

Orange Blossom - Orange Ale * Framboise - Raspberry Lambic * Hoppin Frog - Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Orange Blossom - Orange Ale * Framboise - Raspberry Lambic * Hoppin Frog - Oatmeal Imperial Stout

Step 5 & 6:
Put scoop of homemade ice cream in beer glass. Drink float.

My favorite was The Orange Ale Float – it had an orange creamcicle quality that was perfect for a hot night.

Camera provided by and photo taken by Hungry Woolf

Camera provided by and photo taken by Hungry Woolf

It was a good evening for all. A few biked the Olentangy Bike Trail which conveniently ends at the Hills Market. For those of you looking to get a disinterested person on a bike then on the trail – dangle the Hills as the end of the road reward. If there is not an event going on – there are plenty of treats to be had including: pints of Jeni’s Ice Cream, Pistacia Vera cookies, Dorothy Lane Market Killer Brownies, Sugardaddy’s Brownies and many more reasons to ride.

Snowville makes it to a few events at the Hills Market and other places in town and sometimes they bring their bikeomatic ice cream churner with them. If you see it in action – get your ice cream first and shop later, homemade ice cream scoops out quickly.

Gourmand’s Note:
A funny things happened to me on the way to the market…..

I charged my camera battery for this occasion, but forgot to put it in my camera. Fortunately, there was a Hungry Woolf at the Hills. She loaned me her camera and one of her photos so I can promote my beer float cult. Thanks B.

Posted in beer, culinary knowledge, ice cream, markets | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Taco Truckers Trek To Taco Truck Tour

Posted by CMH Gourmand on April 25, 2009

The first Taco Truck Tour was a success. You can read more about this at Taco Truck Tour Recap from, more photos and stories will be posted at TacoTrucksColumbus during the week of April 27th. In May, expect a Columbus Foodcast Episode about the the Tour and the blog. There is also an article in one of the local Latino newspapers. Thanks to everyone that came out. Congratulations to Hungry Woolf and Taco Drew on an excellent execution of this event. Also, this was the debut of Taco Corey as official head counter (80+ people).

The Tour showcased some of the best Taco Trucks of the west side. Most of the usual ilk were not present for the tour. We were joined by some great groups of people from the Easy Peasy Scooter Posse, ScootColumbus/The Columbus Cutters Scoot Club, bicyclists – including the group with Columbus Rides. Rest assured, this Columbus, people drove cars as well.

Taco Tourists had a map with 6 trucks to choose from so after a quick Hola – we sent them on their way to explore the wild, wild west side and the Taco Square (West Broad Street, Georgesville Road, Sullivant Ave. and Wilson Road).

As I made my rounds checking on our taco touristas at the different trucks, I discovered a truck from the east side has moved out west and a Mexican seafood truck has opened for the season.

I ended up at Los Potosinos (see as well as my post from March 19th). This was the taco tourist favorite for the day. Los Potosinos served up Polla al Carbon San Luis Potosini style.

My favorite of the day was the premiere of ice cream at Los Potosinos. I had two servings – “mixto” – with all of the flavors. Yum.

Taco Truck season is now in full bloom, warm weather means more trucks. Some trucks move around and vary location. The best way to keep tabs on truck tracking is at TACOTRUCKSCOLUMBUS.COM

Special thanks to Columbus artist Robert Patricy for his creation of the logo for the tour.

And if you want your very own tour shirt click on the link below.

Cbus Corners is an initiative of the Columbus Social Media Cafe to share our favorite parts of Columbus – known and unknown. The Taco Truck Tour was intended to share a tasty side of the West Side. Hence the CbusCorners tag.

Posted in culinary knowledge, events, ice cream | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »