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 third stop in my quest for the ultimate cool, minty creation was The Lands at Hillside Farms in Shavertown, PA. Hillside Farms is more than just an ice cream shop, to paraphrase from a 2013 magazine article:
“Originally established in 1881, The Lands at Hillside Farms became a non-profit organization in 2005 devoted to sustainable life choices. Located on 413 acres in a magnificent valley; the goal of the farm is to use the landscape as a backdrop for educating the public about healthy life choices. […]
The dairy store offers farm-made milk in glass bottles, ice cream, butter and produce among many other wholesome products. The animals on the farm are treated humanely and are fed old fashioned diets while living as their ancestors did over a century ago.”
Some Thoughts on Ratings:
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.
Flavor – refreshing, well-balanced mint (5 of 5)
Color – medium green, but a touch too bright for my taste (3 of 5)
Creaminess – very smooth and dense (5 of 5)
Chips – miniature dark chocolate chips (4 of 5)
Charm – historic, functioning gentleman’s farmstead. Talk about local, I can see the cows! (5 of 5)
Total Score: 22/25