Everyone needs a summer project; a goal to work toward over the hottest months of the year; a plan that will give meaning to an otherwise lazy series of days. I considered this question carefully and arrived at the most obvious answer: visit as many ice cream shops as possible in search of the best Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream.
Why Mint Chocolate Chip? Mainly, because it’s my all-time favorite flavor, but also it seems like most shops offer an option that combines mint and chocolate. I’m willing to consider gelato, novelties and sorbet, but ice cream is really what I’m after. If you have recommendations on places I should try I’d love to hear them!
My fourth stop in my quest for the best minty-cool cone in the land was a little closer to home than my last spot but still required a little bit of an adventure to the remote and untamed borough of BROOKLYN…. Just kidding, I’m kind of in love with Brooklyn and have all sorts of schemes to go back ASAP especially if the ice cream is as good as Ample Hills Creamery’s Mint Chocolate Flake (quite a promising name….)
Here’s the scoop (I’m so sorry) on Ample Hills Creamery summarized from their website:
“…Ample Hills was the first to pasteurize on site in New York City – which makes us a registered dairy plant – and are one of the few places that make ice cream this way. We handcraft our ice cream from start-to-finish in small batches, using fresh, local, all-natural milk, cream, and eggs. Instead of relying solely on extracts, we steep source ingredients in our homemade mix, slowly drawing flavors out of vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, peanuts and coffee beans [ed. note: and presumably the mint leaves too.]”
The Scientific Part:
The five criteria are Flavor and then the four “Cs” - Color, Creaminess, Chips, and Charm.
I like a dash of kitsch with my high-quality ingredients, so my preference is for pale green ice cream with intense mint flavor and deep dark chocolate shavings. Yes, I realize that this doesn’t make them ‘chips’ per se, but then they’re more smoothly incorporated with the ice cream. I’m giving extra points for a whimsical setting or special experience.
Ample Hills Creamery’s Score:
Flavor – deliciously minty and cool (5 of 5)
Color – a peppermint pattie white, sigh (1 of 5)
Creaminess – lovely and creamy (5 of 5)
Chips – shavings of dark chocolate, see I wasn’t making it up! (5 of 5)
Charm – the waterfront location, just a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty hard to beat (4 of 5)
Total Score: 20/25
For folks following these adventures at home, here are the current rankings of the ice creams and shops I’ve visited so far. Those top three spots are pretty hotly contested!
1. The Lands at Hillside Farms: 22/25
2. Ample Hills Creamery: 20/25
3. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: 18/25
4. Sundaes and Cones: 11/25