Monday, May 12, 2008

I Scream for Connecticut Ice Cream!

I was born and bred in Connecticut, so it is only due time that I give a shout out to some ice cream in the Nutmeg State. (No, didn't have any nutmeg ice cream while I was there...hmmmm...)

A couple of weeks ago I was in Connecticut. I had ice cream with my lovely sister Sarah of ReBooK and brother in-law Liam...then I told my favorite younger sister (she just turned 27 the other day -- Happy Birthday, Arianna!) of our ice cream escapades, and she wanted ice cream too, so on the way back from Connecticut to Massachusetts, we exited I-84 for some creamy goodness.

Sweet, Sweet Claude's...

Sarah, Liam and I ended up in Cheshire (as Tina and I are both graphic designers I am going to add a little designer fact here -- information graphics guru Edward Tufte lives in Cheshire. Who knew?!) because Liam was on a mad quest for Mahjong and after call after call, Sarah finally found it in Cheshire at Toyz Toy Store. Whew!

Liam and Sarah promised awesome ice cream if I took a ride with them, and who was I to resist toys and ice cream. We stopped at Sweet Claude's Ice Cream (though they seemed to have a website posted on their wall, I couldn't find it online, and when I called to confirm, they said they do not have one, so this is the best I could get...). There was a group of people getting ice cream in front of us and only one girl at the counter, so the wait was a bit long, but it allowed for me to drool over the menu of many flavors, toppings, and homemade sauces...and admire the beautiful antique ice cream paraphernalia all over the shop.

In the end I decided on my old favorite, Cookies 'n' Cream. Sarah was a bit disappointed (as was I) that her favorite, Sweet Cream, was no longer on the menu (the girl at the counter said it would come back occasionally as a special), so she ordered vanilla with strawberry sauce, whipped cream and a cherry, which though missing the Sweet Cream base, she said was "pretty amazing". This looked and tasted so good, that contrary to my rule of vanilla only with toppings (I am a purist -- flavored ice cream, no toppings; vanilla ice cream, toppings), I added this topping to my C'n'C. It was amazingly good! Liam ordered a strawberry milkshake, "which," my sister says, "he pretty much always enjoys." The ice cream didn't disappoint, and even though I ordered a small, it seemed to me what would be a large everywhere else. Being so good, I finished it, but I probably should have stopped a bit sooner than I did!

Go Huskies!

Later on in the day, as Arianna and I drove back to Massachusetts, we spoke of ice cream again, and Arianna having had missed out on the first trip asked if we could stop somewhere for ice cream. Me, turn down ice cream? Never! Talk ended up on the UConn Dairy Bar on the Storrs Campus, so we kind of spur of the moment pulled off the highway, and drove the few miles to the University of Connecticut (where, I might add, I had not stepped foot on the campus in over 10 years, when I went with my AP European History class -- thanks for taking us, Ms. Kowitch -- to see Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel speak at the Gampel Pavilion and then finished the day at the Dairy Bar).

Seeing as I hadn't been there in ten years, I took the wrong road to the Dairy Bar and drove Arianna on a tour of the Agricultural School. It was a beautiful day, and a nice drive, even though we managed to circumnavigate the Dairy Bar without even knowing it, so getting there took a little longer than expected. Finally, we found it and both Arianna and I ordered the cake batter ice cream. Good? "I've had better," Arianna said, and I wholeheartedly agreed. It was good, but wasn't what you expect when you think cake batter. It was creamy and sweet though, and clearly the UConn Dairy Bar was good enough for me to remember and want to visit again ten years later...). My apologies for the not-so-great phone photo -- I wasn't expecting the detour, so didn't have my camera!

Well, hats off to you Connecticut! You brought us the first newspaper, the first public art museum, the cotton gin, and some pretty darn good ice cream.

And guess what I just found out? You also gave us the first ice cream making machine! Thank you, thank you, Connecticut!

(Connecticut Firsts discovered at About Connecticut)

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