Who doesn’t like ice cream? If you are lactose intolerant, diabetic, or have a milk allergy, you are not allowed to answer.
We all have our favorite flavors and experiences with frozen dairy desserts. The wide variety of niche and chain ice creameries, gelaterias, frozen yogurt shops in the U.S. alone show us that ice cream is as homogeneous as our population. Travel around the world and witness that some version of ice cream or gelato is a beloved treat even in the coldest of climates.
I certainly have had some fabulous ice cream and gelato. I know, it’s blasphemy to say that the best wasn’t the cliched Italian gelato in Italy. I love Paris’s famous glacier, Berthillon, enough to remember multiple visits clearly – and, I’d like to think, won a certain ice cream/gelato version of the Pepsi Challenge on the Ile de Saint Louis in Paris with that shop (If you’re wondering, it beat out Amorino, an Italian gelato chain). Yet it was a nondescript, touristy Viennese gelato shop not far from the Stephansplatz that gave me my creamiest memory of European frozen dairy confections (cookie dough and my usual favorite, hazelnut). I couldn’t tell you the name or any details; I simply didn’t expect it to stand out relative to the countless other gelato shops nearby.
Five years after the Vienna Experience, another ice cream trumped the others: enter Butter & Cream in Decatur, Georgia. I had an unfulfilled, four-day-old craving for self-serve frozen yogurt and toppings and tried to convince everyone to do frozen yogurt. My brother-in-law had another idea and wandered – with my sister and me in tow – into this local joint. The anticipation of future guilt trips to self for not trying homemade, unique ice cream because of a craving for the omnipresent FroYo made me try a few of Butter & Cream’s flavors.
I can’t describe my reaction without embarrassing myself. It might have been a bit animated compared with everyone else’s (understatement), but I think we all could agree that every flavor – and Butter & Cream – was outstanding – not a bit of iciness and a velvety, dense texture. Their Bourbon toffee flavor was the common denominator. With six flavors between the three of us, this one was the hands-down winner. Bourbon Toffee had just enough bourbon to make it interesting and unmistakably bourbon, and the toffee wasn’t your everyday Heath – it was homemade and delicate, with a very light caramelized flavor that complemented the boubon and cream perfectly. Butterscotch brownie, dulce de leche, and their fruit ice creams all were wonderful. I can’t wait to go straight to Decatur and Butter & Cream the next time I make it to the ATL.
Thus concludes the tale of how Butter & Cream’s bourbon toffee ice cream vaulted into a crowded field to become the best – or at least most memorably unique – ice cream I’ve ever had.