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My Favorite Minnesota Ice Cream Treats


This is likely my last blog post celebrating Dairy Month, and while I’ve already covered some of my favorite cheeses and yogurt, there are several remaining dairy products that I wanted to brag about. But since it’s summer, and there are so many great options, I selected some of my favorite Minnesota ice cream treats for this post.

Izzy's Guatemalan Coffee Ice Cream
I am an Izzy’s girl for many reasons: the ice cream shop was close to home when I lived in South Minneapolis, they consider the environment by using solar power to offset the power they use to make and chill their ice cream, and they have a nice location with seating—but most of all, Izzy’s concocts fantastic flavors.

Coffee, cream, and sugar are a traditional and timeless balance of flavors, but hot coffee takes a back seat in summer. For their Guatemalan coffee ice cream, Izzy’s steeps their ice cream in Dark Roast Guatemalan Coffee Beans from Peace Coffee. They remove the beans, so what’s left is sweet and smooth coffee-flavored ice cream.

Izzy's Dark Chocolate Zin
Izzy’s Guatemalan coffee ice cream is good, but concocted with bittersweet dark chocolate ice cream, Italian balsamic vinegar, and red zinfandel wine, the dark chocolate zin is my favorite Izzy’s flavor. My advice for enjoying it: buy a pint, take it home, and top it with warm dollops of Legacy Chocolates’ Potion #9 chocolate sauce for a chocolaty experience that’ll make you swoon and maybe make your eyes cross.

Grand Old Creamery's Butter Brickle
Izzy’s ice cream is great in a bowl, but when I’m in the mood for a waffle cone, only Grand Ole Creamery will do. The aroma of their homemade malted waffle cones wafts through the air and sends your appetite into total overdrive long before you enter the parlor. The slightly salty and buttery flavor of their creamy butter brickle ice cream plays well with the sugary crispiness of their waffle cone. I like to do a little window shopping along Grand Avenue while I eat my waffle cone, since the crowd in the shop can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Salty Tart's Peaches and Cream Parfait

The MN State Fair chatter has already started, and that reminded me that I had to mention two of my State Fair ice cream favorites: the peaches and cream parfait from Salty Tart, and the honey sunflower ice cream at the U of MN Horticulture Building.

For the peaches and cream parfait introduced last year, Salty Tart owner and a 2010 James Beard Foundation nominee Michelle Gayer layered soft serve made with Greek yogurt, coconut water, and vanilla beans with peaches sautéed with sugar and lemon zest. She topped it all with crumbled ginger snaps. The result? A break from the cacophony of deep fried wonderment—the parfait was simple, sweet, luscious, and refreshing.

Honey Sunflower Ice Cream at the State Fair
As for the honey sunflower ice cream (pictured above), it’s a staple for many at the fair. It’s a cherished tradition for a reason: The MN Honey Producers Association take vanilla ice cream, swirl ribbons of honey through it, and mix in sunflower seeds. They sell it with chocolate ice cream as well, but I like how the delicate spiciness of the vanilla pairs with the floral sweetness of the honey.

Awhile back I mentioned that whipped cream is my favorite food of all time, so much so that it inspired a debate with my husband. I like my whipped cream made with Cedar Summit heavy cream, so it stands to reason that whipping up my own ice cream at home with Cedar Summit heavy cream could be a blast. I haven’t done it yet, but Dara & Co. blogger Stephanie Meyer made her own ice cream last summer, and I intend on replicating her effort this summer.

So now you know some of my favorite ice cream treats, but I’d like to know yours. Where do you go in Minnesota to get your ice cream fix?

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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