Way back in 1970, Gael Greene unleashed one of her famously sensual New York magazine food columns under the headline, “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Ice Cream But Were Too Fat to Ask.”
“I do not celebrate the Spartan scoop of vanilla the incurably constricted grownup suffers to cap a pedestrian dinner,” Greene wrote. “I sing of great gobs of mellow mint chip slopping onto your wrist as your tongue flicks out to gather the sprinkles.”
Decades on, as summer is set to become official for another season, Greene’s vision of how frozen treats can be hot has been embraced by mobs of enthusiasts, who now demand decadently farout flavors that make mellow mint seem modest.
Here in Atlanta, a trio of frozen treat makers have joined the party, creating the kinds of sweet, cold delights that summertime dreams are made of.
Frozen Pints Craft Beer Ice Cream
Two words sum up the idea for Frozen Pints: beer and ice cream. Not just the flavor of beer, but real beer, with enough alcohol that you must be 21 to buy a pint.
“It’s the first product of it’s kind,” says Aly Moler, who launched the company last July with partner Ari Fleischer. “We haven’t found any other company that’s doing retail beer ice cream with any alcohol content.”
Frozen Pints come in year-round flavors of Peach Lambic, Honey IPA, Brown Ale Chip and Malted Milk Chocolate Stout while seasonal offerings include Pumpkin Ale and Cinnamon Espresso Stout.
Recipe for success: It’s definitely a super premium ice cream. It has a high fat content, and we manufacture it in more of a gelato style, with a really low air content. That makes it dense and really creamy. Our pints are pretty heavy when you pick them up.
Best seller: Malted Milk Chocolate Stout. People love those chocolate notes. It’s our gateway flavor. Even people who would never drink a stout love it.
Personal favorite: Vanilla Bock. It’s a really complex vanilla. You get a little banana and spice, and it pairs really nicely with other desserts. A scoop bumps up the average pound cake or fruit pie.
What’s new: Single serving Frozen Pints are coming soon. And look for new bar-shaped ice cream carts at venues and events later this summer.
Where to buy: Places you find craft beer, including package stores, growler shops, Whole Foods and specialty markets. www.frozenpints.com.
High Road Ice Cream
Once they got a taste of the boozy-crème brulée essence of Bourbon Burnt Sugar, fans began mobbing High Road’s factory store in Chamblee, lining up to see what other flavors chef-turned-entrepreneur Keith Schroeder would come up with next. He did not disappoint, adding Roasted Caramel Banana, Mixed Berry Buttermilk and Meyer Lemon Tart to his repertoire.
“The factory store has turned into a cult location where there’s just wall to wall people every Saturday,” says Schroeder, who opened High Road in 2010. “When we make unique flavors for chefs, we’ll make a few extra pints to sell that you can maybe only get once. Some people come every week and buy eight pints.”
Recipe for success: We do an ultra premium product. But we think ice cream is more about texture and flavor than the specs. That’s why we decided to build our own pasteurizing room where we could make all of our own mixes. If we stumble on spectacular strawberries that warrant a nice, light mix, we can do that.
Ingredients: We use a lot of local ingredients, but quality has to be the driver. For instance, we’re working with a company called Patric Chocolate from Missouri and the guy makes this beautiful red curry dark chocolate that we’re using in a new coconut kaffir lime flavor.
Best sellers: Surprisingly, Vanilla Fleur de Sel. Alton Brown loves it. But Bourbon Burnt Sugar is always a big seller.
Personal favorite: We’re about to release a whole new portfolio of flavors at Whole Foods, and two of those are made with a creme fraiche culture in the mix. That cultured ice cream is the creation I’m most proud of. It takes ice cream flavor, balance and texture to a new level, particularly with fruit.
What’s new: Look for a line of Italian ice cream and ices in partnership with the new Sunday Gravy Italian food stand in the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Where to buy: Whole Foods, specialty food markets, Sweet Auburn Curb Market, Saturdays at the factory store in Chamblee. www.highroadcraft.com.
King of Pops
The combination of colorful roving street carts and social media created a cult culture of ice pop devotees when Steven Carse launched King of Pops in 2010.
The concept was inspired by a visit Carse took to Central America where paletas (fresh fruit ice pops) were sold from carts and shops. “I really got into how the flavors tasted, and it seemed like they would be fairly easy to make. I thought maybe we could make it a trend here.”
Foraging expeditions for ingredients at farmers markets led him to create flavors such as Chocolate Sea Salt, Banana Puddin’ and Blueberry Lemongrass.
“We’ve probably made 400 flavors now,” Carse says. “We try to make a new one every week.”
Recipe for success: We pay attention to the sweeteners we use, where we source our fruit and dairy, and everything in-between. You can take shortcuts with machinery, but you can’t place a banana and two vanilla wafers inside a pop.
Ingredients: Most of our pops have five ingredients or less and some have three or two, but it’s always good stuff. Our Georgia Peach pop is peaches, lemon and agave nectar.
Best sellers: Chocolate Sea Salt, Banana Puddin’, Georgia Peach. When I first started I thought we’d be doing mainly fruit pops, but now it’s about 50-50 fruit and creamy pops.
Personal favorites: Banana Puddin’ is my all time favorite, and if I’m having fruity one it’s Tangerine Basil or Georgia Peach.
What’s new: Look for more pops in places like Roswell and Alpharetta and well beyond in Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond Va. And look for a stand-alone store in Atlanta next year.
Where to buy: King of Pops carts, Whole Foods, specialty food markets, farmers markets and Paris on Ponce on Saturdays, http://atlanta.kingofpops.net.