There are tons of ice cream stands in our area, however most of them serve hard packed Perry’s Ice Cream, Hershey’s Ice Cream, or soft serve that comes as a bagged mix. Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with that, but making ice cream from scratch is a beautiful and delicious art form and people who have mastered it are hard to find in this area. Last year on my summer food tour, I visited Casey’s Ice Cream and Candies in Meadville and Connie’s in Erie. This week, Amanda and I got to try samples from two more shops that specialize in locally created frozen treats. Monday night, we stopped by Romolo’s at 1525 West 8th Street in Erie to see what they had to offer. Although they do not make the ice cream on the premises, the chocolate, caramel, and other ingredients that make up Romolo’s delicious candies are sent to Marcie’s Homemade Ice Cream in Meadville, made into a variety of creamy confections, and then are sold at the Romolo Café. The freezer case has twelve flavors and a few really stood out to us. Amanda wanted to try a flavor called Trash Can and I decided on Frogs in Cream. Trash Can started with vanilla ice cream that was then mixed with fresh cookie dough chunks, rainbow jimmies, and a ribbon of Romolo’s chocolate throughout. The sweet vanilla base, when combined with the cookie dough and jimmies, made the ice cream taste a bit like funfetti cake. I would have loved more of the chocolate in it, but that’s just me being greedy because I love Romolo’s chocolate. The Frogs in Cream was based on the chocolate frogs they sell in the chocolate shop. The rich and creamy chocolate ice cream base was chock full of whole pecans, caramel, and the same fantastic chocolate found in the Trash Can ice cream. The pecans gave the ice cream great crunch and a hint of saltiness, and the Romolo caramel and chocolate made it perfectly gooey and messy. The caramel was easily pulled and a bit chewy. Marcie’s Ice Cream combined with Romolo’s ingredients makes for a delicious dessert that you’ve got to try. For $5, we got two single servings, but they were good sized and well worth the money.
The other place we checked out was the Boston Bean Café, located at 12 South Lake St. in North East. This cozy café offers fantastic choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and of course, dessert. Eight or so tubs of ice cream sit in a freezer case just inside the door. All of the ice cream is made in house and it looked amazing. Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry seem to always be available, but they also make more unique flavors like Key Lime Pie, Salted Caramel, and Dill Pickle. We sampled a few other flavors- Peanut Butter and Raspberry Chocolate Torte- but Amanda settled on Banana Split and I ordered Fluffernutter. The Banana Split started with a creamy banana base and was filled with chocolate chunks, strawberry preserves, and chopped peanuts. It was sweet, slightly salty, a little crunchy, and extremely refreshing on such a hot day. The chunks of chocolate and peanuts added wonderful texture and gave the ice cream great contrast. My Fluffernutter was based from an item from the kid’s menu- bananas, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff in a wrap. It had the same banana ice cream base with little pockets of creamy peanut butter throughout the entire scoop. Artfully woven throughout the ice cream was a sticky marshmallow ribbon that really brought me back to my childhood. The drive from Erie to The Boston Bean Cafe is well worth it for the quality of the ice cream. Bravo to you, the ice cream chefs at The Boston Bean. A single scoop in a cup or cone was only $1.50 and they are the perfect size for a cool after dinner treat.
Until next time,
Andrew — Beard vs. Food