The Scoop on Where to Find the Best Scoops in Charleston
Cynthia Wong (former head pastry chef of Butcher and Bee) and the QUEEN that created the ice cream drumstick that looks exactly like fried chicken, announced this week that she would be opening up a sweet treats food truck, Life Raft Treats (get details, here). While the truck itself is currently under construction, Cynthia and food truck pastry chef Mary Oster will be debuting their treats TODAY at the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip from noon to 4 pm. (See menu below). With her extreme flair for creativity and two semifinalist nominations from the James Beard Organization, we cannot wait to get our hands on a few of her ice cream treats. Until her food truck is up and running full time, here are some of our other favorite places for ice cream.
Hardscoop Distillery: When asked to choose between ice cream and booze...I choose Hardscoop Ice Cream. No your eyes do not deceive you, it is alcoholic ice cream...and good ice cream at that. Hardscoop Distillery’s ice cream comes in three basic flavors, vanilla, chocolate and coffee with specialty flavors released every season. It’s currently buttered rum (yum!) but come fall, be prepared for pumpkin spice and peppermint deliciousness during the holidays. The ice cream is a whopping 16 proof, and yet still keeps the creamy consistency of a good rich ice cream (magic? Voodoo? We don’t care!) Hardscoop Distillery has a tasting room out at 2030 Wambaw Creek (free samples!), but is now available in most Harris Teeter’s throughout Charleston as well as Bottles and a few other retailers. Hardscoop ice cream is perfect in an adult milkshake or by the pintful (just kidding, maybe not a whole pint). According to their Instagram, they just launched something super exciting for summer, Hardscoop Sorbet made with local peaches.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Normally, I like to choose locally owned businesses, but it is hard to talk about ice cream without mentioning Jeni’s. One, because the ice cream is amazing and comes in some unique flavors and two, because CEO Jeni Britton Bauer is somewhat (ok, totally) a BAD*** #girlboss (seriously, check out an article about her here). Jeni’s ice cream is made with incredible ingredients and no artificial flavoring or dyes. One thing I really love about her ice cream is that many of them incorporate textures, such as the cream puff flavor with pastry flakes imitating a cream puff and the brambleberry crisp with oat streusel and blackberry/blackcurrant jam. Other favorites include the goat cheese and cherries (the goat cheese gives it both a richness and tanginess pairing perfectly with the tartness of the cherries) and darkest chocolate, which doesn’t sound as unique, but is Jeni’s personal favorite, because it took so long to find the right chocolate to perfect this ice cream. The shop itself is located at 501 King St, but her ice cream is now available in Publix grocery stores!
Wich Cream: The farm to table/fork style of dining has been popular for quite awhile now. What Wich Cream is doing is farm to scoop or ‘wich, as in ice cream sandwich. Owner Brandon Belk creates his ice creams from almost all local ingredients including the raw milk, eggs and flavorings such as strawberries, blueberries and lavender. His lovingly crafted ice creams are then either sandwiched or made into ice cream pops for easy one-handed eating. Some of their current flavors include strawberry lavender, peanut butter, an oatmeal porter ice cream made in collaboration with local brewery Carolina Brewery, a sorghum whiskey flavor made in collaboration with High Wire Distillery and Vietnamese coffee flavor made in collaboration with Bon Bahn Mi (which I am dying to try). Which Cream is available at quite a few retailers, coffee shops and restaurants around Charleston (check their website for exact locations) as well as the Charleston and Mt Pleasant Farmers Markets.
Cirsea Ice Cream: If you are doubtful of the goodness of Cirsea’s ice cream...you shouldn’t be, Cirsea creator Kelly Chu entered the Gelato World Tour competition in NYC at the James Beard House...and won giving her a ticket to the Gelato World Tour Finale. Kelly Chu’s winning flavor at the competition was a peppercorn and cinnamon candied pineapple, but the Cirsea Ice Cream flavor offerings are just as unique, like vanilla black pepper, lychee, latte and a personal favorite toasted black sesame (if you’ve ever had the Chinese dessert tang yuan, it tastes like the filling!) Cirsea ice cream is available on the dessert menu of many restaurants throughout Charleston, in particular Kelly and her husband’s new restaurant Betty’s Eatery. There you can purchase pints of the ice cream, enjoy it in a milkshake or atop grilled pound cake or pie. Betty’s milkshake flavors include red velvet, peanut butter chocolate and banana pudding and are as ‘gram worthy as they are delicious.