Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Big Gay Ice Cream came to town

and a group of us were, of course, on hand to sample their wares.  If you don't know the Big Gay Ice Cream business, it's a New York-based small chain (a shop in the East Village and one in the West Village, with shops coming to Philadelphia and LA) that started as an ice cream truck and grew on the basis of its charm and, most of all, its delicious soft-serve ice cream.  It's done so well that it's made most lists of the best ice cream places in America--which is quite an achievement, given that the ice cream is soft-serve.

Don't get me wrong:  I love soft-serve ice cream, particularly on a warm day.  Soft-serve, though, can't have the fat content of hard-packed ice cream, and it's rarely anywhere near as delicious. 

So, I obviously had to check out this gourmet ice cream, and fortunately for me, their five-year-anniversary, Southern tour brought them to Raleigh last Saturday. 

An hour before the truck, a rental they picked up in Richmond, was due to arrive, the line had already formed. 

Click an image to see a larger version.

Fans of local ice cream will spot Yoli and Vanessa of The Parlour, makers of the best ice cream in these parts and, for my money, proprietors of one of the best ice cream shops in America.  I talked with them a bit as we were waiting.  We all agreed that truly great soft-serve should be possible, but you almost never encounter it.

The folks in the Big Gay Ice Cream truck kept everyone up to date on their progress via Twitter, and pretty much on time the truck arrived.

We decided to sample most of the major creations, so our group shared one each Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche injections, sea salt, and a chocolate dip), Bea Arthur (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche injections, and a coating of crushed 'nilla wafers), Pecan Gobbler sundae (vanilla ice cream, pecans, and other stuff), and strawberry sundae (vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and other stuff). 

For ease of sharing, we had them turn the lovely cones upside down into cups. 

All four concoctions were indeed delicious, with easily the best soft-serve ice cream I have ever tasted.  If Big Gay Ice Cream were ever to open a shop or operate a truck around here, I'd definitely eat there often, particularly on warm days.

The quality of their ice cream begs the question, was it as good as the best hard-pack? 

No, at least not to me or anyone in our group.  The higher fat content and greater ability to handle complex flavors of hard-pack ice cream make it, for my taste, the clear winner.

That said, it's an "and" world, and I would love to have Big Gay Ice Cream as an option.  If you get a chance to taste their offerings, take it; you'll be glad you did.

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