This past Saturday, Sugarbomber, Eat Boston, and Grand hosted the Ice Cream Showdown, a Scooper Bowl of local proportions. Seven local ice cream companies got together in a hot and humid parking lot in Union Square to dole out over 1500 samples to about 500 hungry people. I tasted 6 of the 7 companies (and was only a mere moments from trying the last, b.good, when they ran out of smoothies). I loved trying different flavors, and it really felt like a community event. The whole thing was a benefit to support the Juniper Fund.
The participants were:
b.good - They were blending up what looked like mango smoothies, but they were also the last place we hit, and they ran out with only about 5 people in front of me. Sad.
Chilly Cow - Pronounced the winner of the showdown, thanks to votes from attendees, Chilly Cow served up their delicious custard. It's not easy to find frozen custard around (we used to serve it when I worked at Emack and Bolio's), and Chilly Cow's is fantastic - thick and creamy and absolutely heavenly.
Christina's - Serving up the biggest scoops of the day, Christina's mocha explosion was interesting, but I'm not sure I would order it again. There were too many bits of stuff, so the ice cream to stuff ratio was way off. I do love how creative they are in general with their flavors, though. Any place that makes fresh rose ice cream is ok in my book.
Coop's Microcreamery - I had never heard of Coop's before until I realized that Marc Cooper, the owner, used to make ice cream for Herrell's. I was pretty blown away by their mango sorbet - it tasted like I had just taken a bite out of a super-ripe, super-cold fruit, and I kept expecting to run into chunks (although I'm happier that it was nice and smooth). Coop's ice cream is available at the Allston Cafe.
JP Licks - I'm a huge fan of JP Licks and their ever-changing flavors (I may be the only person who enjoyed their pad thai ice cream). They served up fresh mint and oreo cake batter, both of which had tremendous flavor. The cake batter was better for eating a whole scoop of, but the fresh mint was light and seasonal and gave me ideas of what to do with the huge mint plant in my yard.
Toscanini's - I've never been a big fan of Toscanini's, and to tell the truth, the whole taxes debacle last year and this insulting piece by Gus Rancatore about stupid customers (the same people who bailed him out of the tax problem) have all made me dislike the place more. Their Coffee Ice Cream Sandwich flavor was fine, but it didn't blow me away.
Wheeler's - I was pretty full by the time we reached Wheeler's, but I still wanted to try their vegan ice "cream." The salted chocolate was a nice balance of sweet and salty, but the texture was not quite right for me. If I were a vegan, this would be a great option, but I like real ice cream a little too much.