The Huffington Post recently published their editors’ ten picks for the best summer ice cream flavors, and Ohio companies were well represented.
Graeter’s Summer Peach ice cream was on the list (some would say that’s a slam dunk), but Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams appeared twice. In addition, there’s a definite Ohio flavor to these flavors.
“Ohio is a great ice cream state,” said Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, who recently added a James Beard award to her credentials. The flavors chosen by The Huffington Post prove that.
First up is Jeni’s Juniper and Lemon Curd. “A few years ago, we set out to make a series of writer’s ice creams. James Thurber, who is from Columbus, liked a lemon zest martini.” The ice cream was inspired by that drink. This flavor particularly benefits from the grass-grazed cream that Jeni’s purchases from Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy, Ohio. In fact, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sources many ingredients locally.
Hirsch Fruit Farm provides most of the berries, as well as peaches, from Chilicothe. Integration Acres contributes ingredients like black walnuts and elderberries from their farm in Albany, Ohio. Of course, even though we’re all very grateful that Ohio is an important agricultural state, we don’t grow everything here. “We have an awesome relationship with our vanilla bean supplier, in Uganda!” said Jeni.
The other flavor chosen for the list was The Buckeye State. Made with peanut butter and dark chocolate, this is “our version of Ohio’s favorite confection”, according to the Jeni’s website. This is one of many flavors where Jeni Britton Bauer uses honey. She was asked to discuss the importance of honey to her work.
“Honey has a rich, round flavor,” she said. Jeni’s uses honey in place of a portion of the sugar. “Honey gives a lot of depth. For example, honey makes pistachios taste more like pistachios. When we started out, it took six months to use a five gallon bucket of honey. Now, we use at least that much in a day.”
Jeni also co-founded a non-profit called Local Matters. In addition to fostering awareness, education, and access related to fresh, local food, they offer food health and nutrition courses for kids. “My daughter, who’s in kindergarten, now demands vegetables,” Jeni said, since she took a class there.
“After all, ice cream is a sometime food, not for all the time,” Jeni said. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams believes in making those times their best.