August 9, 2007

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Still time to scream
Cool off from August heat with purveyors of homemade ice cream
By Matt Kirouac and Christina Nyquist news@hippopress.com

After weeks of the breezy 70s, we’ve finally had several days of uninterrupted summer.

And everyone knows scorching heat means one thing: ice cream.

Although New Englanders are known for enjoying their ice cream year ’round, summer is the season when companies all across the area crank out seasonal flavors to the eager public.

No summer memory of ice cream would be complete for a Manchester-area local without the Puritan. Located at 245 Hooksett Road on Manchester’s north side, the Puritan’s ice cream is what began its business way back in 1917 (first on Hanover Street; not until 1938 did the business move to D.W. Highway). To this day the Puritan follows its original ice cream recipes, producing a line of more than 30 flavors. Some new selections for summer include golden Oreo (French vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookies), watermelon sherbet and strawberry cheesecake (cheesecake ice cream laced with graham cracker and bursting with fresh strawberries).

Blake’s is the New England chain born and bred in Manchester on South Main Street. This original location is where all Blake’s ice cream shops and restaurants get their frozen confections made. It all began in 1963, when the owners started using local dairy farm milk and cream to produce a 14-percent butterfat ice cream product. With more than 40 flavors to choose from, there is no shortage of scoops. Some of the refreshing summer options are chocolate cherry cordial, red raspberry revolution, lemon meringue pie, graham cracker central and the made-before-your-eyes blend that is Copacabana banana (French vanilla ice cream with banana slices, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs).

Many consider Cremeland to be a godfather in the world of summertime ice cream. An entirely seasonal operation, Cremeland offers flavors such as orange pineapple and strawberry peach. With the pink berry colors of the strawberry ice cream and the chunks of fresh peaches blended in, this is what seasonal ice cream should truly be made like. Ever since the establishment opened in 1947 under its original name of Mimi’s, Cremeland has been creating a house-made ice cream served in portions huge enough to satisfy any appetite.

If it is the back-woods dairy barn atmosphere you desire, then head right on over to Kimball’s Farm in Jaffrey. Originally from Massachusetts, the owners of this farm have been selling its ice cream for more than 50 years. There is a long list of flavors — banana, peach, chocolate mint Oreo, Pralines and cream. On the lighter side, Kimball’s offers a mean selection of sherbets and sorbets including lemon sherbet and strawberry sherbet. Key lime sorbet and Valencia orange sorbet also are low-calorie options.

A stone’s throw from Concord is another classic dairy farm making its own ice cream. Beech Hill Farm has an astounding list of more than 75 flavors. They also offer frozen yogurt, sherbet and sorbets. True-blue blueberry is a phenomenal summer selection; it is packed with so much fruit it almost feels healthy. The farm also has a make-your-own sundae bar to tantalize any tastebud.

The folks at Arnie’s Place at 164 Loudon Road in Concord have been churning up their own ice cream on site since 1992. Molly Lanigan, daughter of owner Tom Arnold, said customer favorites include cookie dough, black raspberry chocolate chip and coffee Heath Bar. New and resurrected flavors this summer include a more peanut-buttery peanut butter cup, as well as blueberry and banana. Lanigan said the new peanut butter cup has been received warmly by the fans of the old peanut butter cup. According to Lanigan, homemade ice cream is worth the effort, because unlike certain brands, theirs is a fresh product containing no preservatives, and is served within a month of being made. Makers are able to see firsthand what goes into the ice cream they sell, and can choose better individual ingredients, which leads to a higher-quality ice cream. For more information on Arnie’s, visit www.arniesplace.com or call 228-3225.

While the soft-serve experts at King Kone at 336 D.W. Highway in Merrimack don’t make their ice cream entirely from scratch, they do whip up their own specialty flavors on site. Using a vanilla ice cream base delivered from Oakhurst Dairy, they create flavors such as peanut butter, mocha, strawberry, black raspberry, banana, cake batter, banana berry and strawberry. George Sofforn, who has worked at King Kone for six years, said their most popular flavors include vanilla and chocolate twist and coffee. New flavors include a different, more natural recipe for strawberry this summer, and strawberry shortcake and a chocolate peanut butter cup and peanut butter twist introduced at the end of last summer. Sofforn said their soft-serve is 95 percent fat-free. King Kone celebrated its 35th anniversary recently. For more information on King Kone, call 424-6848.

Bill Croteau and his wife Dawn opened the first and only New England chapter of Bruster’s Real Ice Cream at 621 Amherst St. in Nashua five years ago. Bruster’s is a franchise started in 1989 with more than 300 locations throughout the country, but Croteau’s ice cream is homemade on site nonetheless. He said some of Nashua’s favorite flavors include cake batter, white turtle, which is a vanilla ice cream with caramel and pecans, and chocolate raspberry truffle. This summer Bruster’s has introduced a new line of real fruit sorbets including strawberry, peach, black raspberry and pineapple. They are also offering a parfait made from their new sorbet mixed with soft vanilla ice cream.

While it is more costly for makers to manufacture their own wares, Croteau said that Bruster’s pumps less air per gallon and uses a higher butterfat content, which leads to a denser, richer, creamier and better-tasting ice cream that doesn’t melt the moment it’s scooped onto the cone. For more information on Bruster’s, visit www.brusters.com, or call 881-9595.

Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream is well into its third summer at its new location on Route 101A in Amherst. Roni Vetter bought the business four years ago from its previous owners in Milford, where it had been delighting customers with its homemade creations since 1989. Vetter has continued the tradition, however, and the ice cream, which boasts a higher butterfat content and lower air content than mass-produced ice cream, giving you more ice cream per scoop, continues to be made on site and sold year ’round. Vetter says customer favorites include Huckleberry, which is a black raspberry with dark chocolate chunks, Birthday Cake, which has marble cake and rainbow sprinkles mixed in, and Mount Marshmallow, which is a chocolate ice cream with a marshmallow swirl that rather resembles a ski slope. She says Jake’s changes its selection of flavors often, and features seasonal specialties. Peanut butter is a recurrent presence, while Oatmeal Chocolate Chip makes an appearance in the fall. Currently, customers can look forward to the fact that peach season is approaching in New Hampshire. Jake’s also recently introduced “Vermont,” a dark chocolate ice cream with white chocolate shavings, in opposition to the popular “Granite State,” a vanilla chocolate chip ice cream. The two are displayed next to each other in the viewing case, which gives new meaning to the joke that Vermont and New Hampshire have been “spooning” since 1791. Vetter says Jake’s ice cream parlor format makes it more personable; the folks there get to know customers — their favorite flavors, their likes and dislikes — and often get suggestions for new flavors. For more information on Jake’s, visit www.jakesoldfashionedicecream.com, or call 594-2424.

Van Otis Chocolates, 341 Elm St. in Manchester, serves its own homemade gelato and sorbetto at its café. There are nearly two dozen gelato flavors in rotation including amaretto, caramellatte, cinnamon, almond and honey, white mint and espresso. The company makes some 19 sorbettos flavors (sorbet is juice-based rather than milk- or cream-based), including blackberry, kiwi, limoncello (the popular Italian lemon liqueur), wild strawberry and pink grapefruit. In addition to its wholesale business to ice cream shops and eateries, the Van Otis Café serves seven of its gelato and sorbet flavors. Since the display case can only fit seven trays and new trays are finished all the time, the flavors are constantly changing. On a recent trip, the flavors were mango and raspberry sorbet and peanut butter, cheesecake, green tea, mint oreo chip and vanilla gelato. The gelatos (which are made with milk rather than the cream that is the base for ice cream) had a rich creamy mouth feel and an intense flavor. The sorbets are also surprisingly creamy (rather than icy, as some store-bought sorbets are) and have an almost fluffy consistency and deep, rich flavors. For more information on Van Otis, visit www.vanotis.com, or call 627-1611.



8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta

7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch