28 Aug The Scoop on Local Scoops
Some of my fondest summer memories are of Grandma making homemade ice cream: soupy bowls dotted with black vanilla beans, intricate drips of chocolate syrup in the style of Jackson Pollock, and the occasional chunk of rock salt in my mouth to offset the milky sweetness of every runny batch. Spinning the perfect mix took dedication, stamina and patience (or what Grandma called “Grandpa”).
The art of great ice cream making is vibrant in the high desert, so rather than churning your own batch, give these local favorites a try.
Nestled between the big box stores on Bend’s east side is Goody’s Soda Fountain & Candy. Goody’s first opened in 1984 in Sunriver as a candy store, but not long thereafter they began producing the homemade chocolates and ice creams they are known for today. Of Goody’s four Central Oregon locations, the Soda Fountain is by far the most unique. Behind its doors stands a large wooden bar with shelves displaying Italian soda syrups, candies, chocolates, and, of course, ice cream.
Goody’s ice creams are great for those who like a thick and dense cream that doesn’t melt quickly. I find their best flavors are ones with added ingredients. Goody’s Oreo cookie, for instance, has large, uneven cookie crumbles in an ice cream that tastes like an Oreo’s creamy center. A scoop of this is so chunky it demands to be bitten rather than licked. In fact, if you know someone with sensitive teeth, order this for them. In a few minutes, you’ll have two ice creams. (Order the lemon cheesecake for yourself.)
If you’re headed to the grocery store for your ice cream, Eberhard’s is the local cow. Since 2007, their distinctive mascot, Moo Moo Belle, has marked all of their dairy products. Eberhard’s has been developing dairy products in Redmond as a family-owned and operated business since 1951.
While I find Eberhard’s products generally to be high quality, the quality of their ice cream is like other commercial ice creams: foamy, full of air and lacking in fine flavor. Imagine Grandma downing a Red Bull and turning that churn like her salvation depended upon it. Lots of air. Lots of ice cream. Little flavor.
That said, Eberhard’s chocolate peanut butter is definitely worth your shopping cart real estate (right between the Slim Fast shakes and the carrots). Its strong, pleasing aroma is accented by a subtle, dark chocolate base and dotted with half-inch long peanut butter flakes that complement its fragrant punch.
The Bend festival and concert scene has something for everyone nearly every day of the week during the busy summer season. At many of these, you’ll find Addy Mac’s long, white and baby blue 1963 Ford Boyertown dairy truck. (Actually, there are two of them.) Addy Mac’s is the brainchild of Justin Scott, who says he wanted to make an ice cream that embraces “the old-fashioned, the homemade and a taste like you were making it on the farm.” Scott honed his craft at Penn State University’s famed Berkey Creamery, and has been scooping out joy in Bend since 2014.
Addy Mac’s base is concentrated and smooth. (I won’t divulge how much butterfat there is, but Elvis would be impressed.) It also has a gelato-like body that melts fast and evenly on the tongue. While Addy Mac’s boasts nearly two dozen flavors, including roasted strawberry with buttermilk, milk chocolate toffee, and salted vanilla, I can’t get enough of their churros and chocolate flavor, which features a vanilla base sprinkled with churro dust and layered with a 70 percent cacao chocolate sauce. These flavors and their light aroma bloom gradually but powerfully. Barrio in Bend currently features it on their dessert menu, so if you can’t run down the Addy Mac’s truck, make it a Taco Tuesday treat.
Finally, if you’ve spent an evening in downtown Bend, chances are you’ve seen people walking about with tiny spoons and small brown cups marked “Bontà [pronounced bone-TAH] Natural Artisan Gelato.” Bontà is truly artisanal. In 2010, Jeff and Juli Labhart combined two great loves: gelato and the diverse flavors from their travels around the world. Bontà pasteurizes and processes their own base, and they achieve a remarkably smooth texture with a relatively small amount of butterfat, all without the use of eggs. (I asked how this was done, but got the “then we’d have to kill you” line.)
Jeff Labhart says their unique mix makes “the flavors pop in your mouth a lot more.” Nothing characterizes Bontà better than bold flavors. Some of their less traditional flavors include wines and locally brewed beers, which feature both the sweetness and bitterness of the original products. Bontà’s sweeter varieties include dulce de leche with sea salt, toasted coconut, flor de latte (think sweet cream) and salted chocolate.
I relish sipping the last creamy remnants from Bontà’s little brown cups—so much nostalgic summer flavor, and none of the rock salt.