Summer is for Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I’ll go out of my way to have it. Or make excuses to go out and get some. But sometimes, I’ll just see a place while driving by and I’ll stop to get some. I’ve already written about my favorite places to get ice cream in DC. Here is a collection of other ice cream parlors I’ve visited in the past couple of years. For more ice cream, check out the full list of ice cream related articles that I’ve written.

Nick Charlaps – South Buffalo

Nick Charlaps is a summer favorite in the south towns of Buffalo. Owned and operated by the Charlap family for over 50 years, they are known for their creamy homemade, premium ice cream and their wide variety of exotic flavors.

They have five locations: Angola, Boston, Hamburg, West Seneca, and one in the city itself in Kenmore. I went to the Hamburg location on Euclid Ave.

On that day, their menu had 30 flavors of regular ice cream alphabetically listed from Birthday Cake to Vanilla. Additionally, it had Lactose free vanilla, Rainbow Sherbet and two flavors of yogurt. Notable flavors are Burgundy Cherry, Caramel Brownie Overload, Coconut Chocolate Almond, Expresso Kiss, and Strawberry Cheesecake.

Other things I noticed about the offerings are that 3 involve raspberry, 5 have chocolate or fudge, 3 include Peanut butter, and there are 3 kinds of cheesecake ice cream.

With so many flavors, it was hard to choose. My companion and I both independently picked Chocolate covered cherry, so we asked the server for her favorite. She gave the same recommendation! My companion ended up going with that and I got the Peanut butter sponge candy. Both were excellent. Sponge candy is a regional candy that I’ve only had in Buffalo, but friends from elsewhere have had it so I am not sure where it can be found. It is a crunchy, honey combed toffee typically covered in chocolate. While the toffee can be flavored, this one was not. It was the ice cream that was flavored with peanut butter. It is a great combination. I was happy with the amount of both the peanut butter and the sponge candy, which was crumbled into small pieces. Likewise, the chocolate covered cherry had plenty of cherries which was mixed in with a cherry flavored ice cream.

Prigel Family Creamery – Glen Arm, MD

As I’ve said before, the best place to get ice cream is on a dairy farm. That is certainly the case with Prigel Family Creamery. The creamery is located in Glen Arm, Maryland, about 16 miles north east of Baltimore. I discovered Prigel’s because they are on the Maryland ice cream trail, which promotes dairy farms in Maryland. The day we arrived, the storefront had just lost power due to a thunderstorm. We got the last ice cream before they closed up shop!

Prigel also has dozens of flavors, but because of the power outage I do not have a photo of the list. But I can tell you what we ordered. My companion ordered the butter pecan in a cup and I had the chocolate marshmallow. Both were creamy and delicious. Worth the trip.

The Straw Hat – North East, PA

Several years ago I had stopped in North East, Pennsylvania for lunch. (Despite the name, North East is at the north western tip of Pennsylvania, just before the New York border).

While leaving, I came across The Straw Hat, an ice cream place so charming that I had to stop there. I had a cone on my first visit. I was happy enough with it that I have made it a practice to stop in North East, just to go to The Straw Hat for ice cream.

They serve two kinds of ice cream: Perry’s Ice Cream and Penn State Creamery. Perry’s is a regional ice cream maker that is headquartered in nearby Western New York. See below for more information about them. I like Perry’s, but since I often get it when I am in Buffalo, I go for Penn State Creamery whenever I am at Straw Hat. Penn State has been making ice cream since 1865.

Between Perry’s and Penn Sate Creamery, Straw Hat has dozens of flavors to choose from. Notable Perry’s flavors include Deep Sea Treasure (caramel ice cream with caramel sea salt truffles), Brownie Batter, Cookie Butter, and Let’s Dough Buffalo (a reference to the sports teams of nearby Buffalo whose rallying cry is “Let’s Go Buffalo!”). Notable Penn State flavors include Death by Chocolate, Scholar’s Chip (vanilla with chocolate chips), WPSU Coffee Break (coffee ice cream with chocolate chips), and Happy Happy Joy Joy (coconut ice cream, butter roasted almonds, and chocolate chip).

Normally I get my ice cream in a cone. But the last time I was there, I saw sign showing a donut filled ice cream. Enticed, that is what I got. It was delicious. But the concept turned out to be a bit of a gimmick, as the amount of ice cream you get is small compared to what you get in a cup or a cone.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. The super helpful server even offered to top it with any extras of my choice. I chose a peanut butter drizzle. It was a great combination.

Other items on the menu include milkshakes, sundaes, and floats. They also have something called “White outs”, which I think is vanilla ice cream mixed with candy of your choice: brownie, snickers, peanut butter cups, Oreoes, chocolate covered cherries, etc…

Donut filled with ice cream and peanut butter sauce

Main Street Ice Cream – Hamburg, NY

Main Street Ice Cream has been a bright spot in the village of Hamburg, 15 miles south of Buffalo, since they opened in 2009. It’s a lovely shop and it now serves home made ice cream. Located on Main Street in the center of town, it is easy to find. The owners, Denise and Randy Fenton, are known for more than just their ice cream. In October 2015, Erie County named them as citizens of the month for their involvement in the local community.

In 2015, the same year they got the award, the Fenton’s started making their own ice cream. They started out with just a couple but now they are up 2 dozen flavors, rotated seasonally.

Highlights of the menu are Brownie Mudslide, Peanut Butter Paradise, and the seasonal Strawberry Rhubarb.

One of the nice things about Main Street is that you can get a sampler containing 4 small scoops. Unfortunately, I neglected to write down what they wear. But I do remember that they were fantastic. They even through in a small cone for free.

Main Street Ice Cream has a wonderful ambience. The place the feel of an old fashioned ice cream shoppe, and the servers are friendly and helpfuk. The photos decorating the walls show black and white images of milk trucks and dairy farms, adding to the old-time feel.

You can also find Main Street Ice Cream’s wares at local festivals. For the Eden Corn Festival, Main Street produced an artisanal corn ice cream that can only be purchased at the festival.

Corn ice cream

I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about it, but the corn ice cream turned out to be very good. It is reminiscent of creamed corn but with a milder corn taste. It was quite subtle. The ice cream was creamy, with just a hint of sweetness. A well made treat.

Annapolis Ice Cream Co – Annapolis, MD

In the heart of the capitol of Maryland, right in the center of Main Street you’ll find Annapolis Ice Cream Company. Transplants from Massachusetts , the husband and wife Walter and Nancy Giera moved to Annapolis in 1991. In May of 2004 they opened up shop in order to give the city a taste of what they love. Awarded “The Best Ice Cream in Annapolis” in 2005, they have held the title ever since. 18 years straight.

Annapolis Ice Cream Co has over 40 flavors to choose from. Each one is made fresh in the store every day. Standard flavors available include Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cookies & Cream. Fruit inspired offerings include Strawberry, Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, and Raspberry Lemon. But they also have some unique combinations such as Mint Oreo, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Cookies and Cream Cheese Cake. The owners must really like Oreo, as it is a part of 5 of their ice creams.

With size medium or higher, you can get multiple flavors. I got two scoops, one of Chocolate Chocolate Chip and the other Peanut Butter Oreo.

Both flavors are very creamy. The former has a deep and rich chocolate flavor that satisfied this chocoholic’s cravings. The second had a strong peanut butter taste and contained plenty of Oreos. Peanut butter and Oreo is not a combination I would have thought off, but they worked together well. However, I can’t same for the chocolate. The next time I get the chocolate, I will get vanilla or similar flavor to counter balance the rich chocolate. Given the high quality of both flavors, I can see why Annapolis Ice Cream Co is the best in the city!

Parkside Candy – Buffalo, NY

Parkside Candy’s is an institution in Buffalo, as it first opened way back in 1919. It is famous for its candies, but Parkside also sells a variety of homemade ice creams.

Strawberry Parfait

While it now has 5 locations throughout the Buffalo area (2 in Williamsville, at the Walden Galleria Mall, on Colvin Avenue in Tonawanda, and one in Buffalo), I normally go to its most historic location at Main Street and Winspear Ave. They have occupied the building, which also houses their factory, since 1927. When I was a teenager I frequented the area. I always liked that every Easter they would have a man in a bunny costume outside greeting people. The Main Street location is so iconic that it was featured in the 1984 Robert Redford film, The Natural.

Strawberry Shortcake

I often do get candy at Parkside, typically their Sponge Candy which is their signature product. But occasionally I do get their ice cream. They have almost two dozen flavors, all home made. The most notable of which is the UB Graham Slam, named after the nearby University of Buffalo. It is a graham flavored ice cream with pieces of fudge mixed in. On the day I took these photos, strawberries were in season. So my companion and I both went with that theme. I got the strawberry shortcake and she got a strawberry parfait. Filled with fresh strawberries, they were excellent.

A Scoop Back in Time – Mansfield, PA

Mansfield is a borough in north-central Pennsylvania, just south of the New York border on Route 15. I occasionally stop in Mansfield to get meat at a local butcher. On my last trip there, right off their main street, I noticed A Scoop Back in Time, the local ice cream parlor. Of course I stopped in for some ice cream.

They don’t serve their own ice cream. They serve Perry’s. As I said above, Perry’s is a New York regional ice cream maker. It was started in 1918 by H. Morton Perry in Akron New York when he bought a dairy. Originally it was a home delivery business, but in 1932 the company started making ice cream for the local high school using an old family recipe. The company grew from there and they are now one of the largest ice cream producers in New York State. It is still owned and operated by the Perry family.

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A Scoop Back in Time has 32 of Perry’s flavors, which are helpfully listed in alphabetical order. These include standard flavors like Cookie Dough, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Mint Chip. Unique flavors include Bittersweet Sinphony (coffee ice cream with bittersweet fudge), Grasshopper Pie (mint ice cream with Oreos), Nutty Bon Bon (ice cream with peanut butter bon bons), and White Lightning (Dark chocolate ice cream with streaks of mint white fudge). But the one I most wanted to try was a regional specialty ‘CUSE’ 44, a reference to a Syracuse University football legend. Syracuse is relatively close, located in New York state not too far north of the Pennsylvania border.

I had seen ‘CUSE’ 44 before, at The Straw Hat, and wanted to try it. So now I had my chance. It is a sweet cream ice cream, with chunks of Oreo cookies and orange colored pretzel balls (the color of the university) and mixed in. I found it a little too sweet and do not plan on ordering it again. However, I was very happy with the portion size, which was enormous. I ordered a medium and got plenty of ice cream for $4.00. A Scoop Back in Time is a place worth stopping at.

The Village Scoop – Lancaster, NY

I was meeting a friend in the Buffalo suburb of Lancaster, when I happened to drive by The Village Scoop. It looked interesting enough that I decided to stop by later.

The Village Scoop is another Perry’s shop, having 33 of their flavors. Their unique flavors include Graham Canyon (Graham cracker ice cream with sponge candy pieces), Mint-Ting-A-Ling (mint ice cream with swiss chips), Northern Lights (sour green apple, blue raspberry, and grape sherbet), and The Good Stuff (yellow cake ice cream with strawberry swirls and strawberry panda paws). Also note they also have the local flavor Let’s Dough Buffalo.

But they have other things besides scoops of ice cream. In particular, they have sundaes. Those are all made with soft serve, but they looked interesting enough that I wanted to try one of them.

I went with Peanut Butter Fudge. The custard was pretty good, but did not particularly stand out. And there was plenty of it. What looked like a lot of whipped cream turned out to be a thin layer of cream over a mound of ice cream. However, I was disappointed by the sundae. There simply was not enough candy pieces; just a little bit sprinkled over the top. And the fudge sauce was lacking as well.

Nevertheless, I was enchanted by The Village Scoop. The ambiance was great, with plenty of outdoor space to sit, decorated with a nice beach theme. And there was a large play area, which included a train and chalk boards to write on. It would be a great place to go with kids.

Sweet Jenny’s – Williamsville, NY

Sweet Jenny’s is an ice cream shop inside a historic landmark in the village of Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo. The Williamsville Water Mill had undergone a number of occupants over the years. Not that long ago, the mill was still operating and fresh cider could be purchased from the mill. In 2014, Sweet Jenny’s renovated the mill and now occupies it, along with a couple of other shops.

Sweet Jenny’s makes their own ice cream, with over 30 flavors to choose from. Notable flavors include Chai, Creamsicle, Butterfinger, and Snickers. Unfortunately, I did not write down what flavor I got the day I went, and it has been long enough since that I don’t remember what it was. I do recall liking it. My companion also enjoyed his sundae

Simple Pleasures – Maryland

Ice cream parlors and creameries are not the only places you can get good ice cream. Vendors also show up at farmers market. I’ve seen Simple Pleasures at several, but only recently have gotten around to trying their ice cream. The owner said that they used to have a store front in Bowie, MD where they made the ice cream. But they have grown and now use a industrial sized facility in Washington DC. I got the impression the store front no longer exists, but you can find them at farmers markets and at special events.

Simple Pleasures has about a dozen flavors, including the standbys such as Vanilla, Chocolate, and even Stracciatella, a vanilla with chocolate chunks combination that is normally only found at gelato places. More boutique flavors include honey toasted almond and chocolate chili (which I have had elsewhere ; it is a surprisingly good!).

The one I picked was Bourbon Butter Pecan. It was without a doubt the best Butter Pecan that I have ever had. It has a rich butterscotch flavor and contains plenty of pecans and was even topped with whole peanuts. That one taste cemented Simple Pleasures inclusion in this post.

Perry’s revisited

Several of the places I’ve visited carried Perry’s Ice Cream. How do they compare? Here are the statistics. The three locations combined had 55 unique flavors of Perry’s. But only a few were at all three locations: Cannoli, Cotton Candy, and Piece of Cake. Not what you would expect. This is a little misleading as The Straw Hat also carried Penn State Creamery ice cream. It turns out that they had the standard flavors — Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, and even Cookies & Cream — from Penn State and not Perry’s. All 4 of those showed up at the other two locations. But of the 55, only 23 flavors are at two of the three. There are 28 flavors that are only at one of them. This includes many of the flavors I’ve noted above: Bittersweet Sinphony, Cloud Nine, Deep Sea Treasure, Northern Lights, White Lightning, etc So no matter where you go, you are bound to find something unique. Perry’s certainly has a lot of different kinds of ice cream!

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