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 fifth stop in my quest for the minty-est ice cream cone in the land took place in the gorgeous hills above Cayuga Lake in Upstate New York. I was back home visiting my family and of course had to take advantage of being back in dairy country to taste some local flavors at the aptly named Cayuga Lake Creamery, which sits above the aforementioned lake.
According to their site:
“Our homemade ice cream is made on the premises in small batches for excellent quality control. We start with a 14% butterfat mix from our dairy, Upstate Farms. We then add the finest ingredients available – from down the road and around the world – to create our flavors.”
“Mint Chocolate Chunk: Mint ice cream (we use white mint) with lots of chocolate chunks.”
I would have liked to give higher scores here, but the lack of minty-ness and pale color really hurt Cayuga Lake Creamery’s chances. This is not to say it isn’t worth trying since the ingredients were high quality, but I’d probably go for a different flavor next time.
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.
Cayuga Lake Creamery’s Score:
Flavor – not that minty and also unfortunately a bit strawberry-ish due to cross-pollination (2 of 5)
Color – a peppermint pattie white, sigh (1 of 5)
Creaminess – wonderfully and thick creamy (5 of 5)
Chips – dark chocolate pieces, yum. (4 of 5)
Charm – roadside stand way out in the country, corn fields clearly visible (4 of 5)
Total Score: 16/25
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. Cayuga Lake Creamery: 16/25
5. Sundaes and Cones: 11/25