Monday, June 27, 2011

Northern Michigan Tasties Part III: Ice Cream

When I told my coworker who is from Traverse City that I was headed up that way for a weekend, she insisted I had to go to Moomers for some local homemade ice cream. But not only people from the TC area love Moomers ice cream, so does America. Moomers was voted best ice cream store in the country in a Good Morning America poll in 2008. 

Two things struck as delightfully unique about Moomers. The first, you can sit out on the patio and look out over the farm and cows that produce the cream that goes into Moomers ice cream. Second, the flavors. I had, for the first and possibly only time ever in my life, had rice pudding ice cream. Yes, there were chunks of rice, and yes, it was delicious. (Though I kind of wanted to sprinkle more cinnamon on top out of habit.) Of course they have more traditional flavors, as well, but why do that when you can have something original?

If you are planning a trip up north, definitely make Moomers Ice Cream one of your stops at 7263 N. Long Lake Rd. If you enjoy ice cream, you will not be disappointed.

Another uniquely Michigan ice cream that is all over my neck of the mitten is Stroh's, started by the Stroh Brewery Company in Detroit, Michigan as a result of American Prohibition in 1920. (I wonder if they ever made beer-flavored ice cream...) Wikipedia reports: "At the end of prohibition in America in 1933, the ice cream operation proved to be popular and profitable enough to continue alongside the brewing operation." 

Incidentally, Prohibition also gave us NASCAR, which you can eat ice cream while watching and celebrate History!

A local ice cream that I grew up with in Kalamazoo was Hudsonville, a creamery started as a co-op in 1895 in (surprise) Hudsonville, Michigan. TRIVIA: Hudsonville also gave us the sickest abs that should never be found on any minor ever, aka, Taylor Lautner, made famous as Jacob Black in the Twilight movies. Also, Hudsonville claims to have invented Blue Moon ice cream, but so do a lot of people and every recipe is different, so take that as you will.

The other major local ice cream to be commonly found in ice cream shops around Kzoo is Sherman's, out of South Haven, Michigan, also home to one of my favorite beaches. (They also make Blue Moon.) Some friends of mine claim to be able to tell the difference between Hudsonville and Sherman's and to not be able to stand one or the other, but I have never tried them side by side, and thus cannot really tell the difference. (Blue Moon tasting competition anyone?) I am sure there are differences, however, they're both ice cream and I love them both.

That being said, if you are in the Southwest Michigan area, most especially anywhere near Plainwell, Michigan, you must must must make a stop at Plainwell Ice Cream Co. on E Bridge St. Open only during the summer, this little shop makes some of the best ice cream I have ever had in my life. (And hey, they also serve Blue Moon. Who'd've thunk?) In fact, I think I need to be planning a trip there very soon. Time's a 'wastin'!

So there you have it. A brief tour of Michigan based on one of my favorite foods: ice cream. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

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