Monday, May 23, 2011

Cincinnati Eats Part 2: Graeter's Ice Cream

I haven't spent enough time in Ohio to know if this should be surprising, but the Buckeye State has a large share of delicious ice cream. In our past travels we stumbled across Jeni's in Columbus and raved about their creative flavors in this blog post. Where the people of Cincinnati are split on the virtues of their chili, everyone is behind their hometown ice cream favorite: Graeter's. As I was leaving for my trip a business associate who had previously lived in Cincinnati said, "get anything with chips!" (as in chocolate chips!).

Where Jeni's greatest strength may be in their edgy signature and seasonal formulations, Graeter's may be in their "french pot" process. In this process the small spinning pot receives the ice cream mix that freezes against the sidewall as it slowly scraped away. For ice cream with "chips" the chocolate is drizzled in at the end and the operator manually breaks it into pieces before each pint or gallon container is hand-packed. While this may all seem quaint and appropriate for a super-premium ice cream, for this Food Scientist it is amazing to think about this happening on the industrial scale with each 20 minute batch only yielding two gallons of finished product. Graeter's (a company with $35MM in revenue) not only sells out of their 47 stores, but also through retail grocery through Kroger, Meijer, and Giant Eagle stores.

Our Cincinnati hosts picked up five flavors to try . . . my favorite was the Black Raspberry Chip. My coworker was right about the chips, they are astounding in their individuality . . . one that wound up in my bowl must have been a half ounce of pure chocolatey goodness. The Black Raspberry was not to be under-shadowed with a bright tartness that helped cut the creaminess from the high level of butterfat.

Can we agree to love both Jeni's and Graeter's?