I was starring into the dairy case at Straub’s this week, eyeing one of their super premium varieties: Graeter’s Handcrafted Ice Cream. It’s the brand that Oprah touted to stardom, calling it “the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten.” Even Ben and Jerry co-founder, Ben Cohen, called it one of his favorite ice creams.
The woman standing next to me in Straub’s was making a flavor assessment of her own. She pointed out her favorite: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip. (Actually, the chips are more like chunks, that form when melted, gourmet chocolate is added to the mix.)
“I like the Black Raspberry with Chocolate Chips,” I said, eyeing the all-time best seller for Graeter. Actually, I felt like the fly in the candy shop: there was so much good, I didn’t know where to land!
I was considering the Peanut Butter with Chocolate Chips, but finally went with the one recommenced by the friendly ice cream analyst. Flavor choices.
What’s So Great about Graeter’s?
In the ice cream business, age and tradition matter. The Ohio-based outfit started as a malted milk stand in 1870. Today it’s an upscale, all-natural, small-batch ice cream producer operated by the 4th generation of the Graeter family. When other ice cream makers mechanized for greater output, they stayed with the original “French pot” process.
The method is much like the one employed on grandma’s back porch, using a hand-cranked or motorized freezer. Back then, she’d fill a metal container with a mixture of cream, sugar and eggs and place it inside a wooden bucket packed with ice and salt. Then the cranking began.
Small Batch Ice Cream
Graeter’s small batch ice cream is produced in containers, no larger that 2.5 gallons at a time. Because less air is whipped into the mix, the ice cream weighs more than the average pint. The density adds to the richness, but makes the product too thick to pump into pint containers. So each day 20,000 pints of ice cream are hand packed with the average packer spooning up 15 pints a minute.
As the weather warms up and you have a yearning for old-fashion, homemade ice cream, Graeter’s may be just what you’re looking for. As a bonus, you get to tell your family and friends what makes the old-style delicacy so special.