Monday, August 23, 2010

Recap: Ice Cream (and Spoon) Showdown

On Saturday, I attended the first session of @eatBoston's second annual Ice Cream Showdown in Somerville's Union Square (the second session took place yesterday in SoWa Market). The event was small, yet crowded, and featured some wonderful local ice cream shops and restaurants that make homemade ice cream with innovative flavors. Stonyfield also sponsored the event, and ticket sales were donated to some very worthy local organizations, such as Lovin' Spoonful, Share our Strength, Somerville Local First, Arts Union, and Community Servings.

While the ice cream offerings were good, I do have one weighted complaint about the event - but I'll save that for the end of this post. Until then, here are the flavors I tried and my thoughts on them.

Stonyfield Organic - Gotta Have Java:

Stonyfield's java ice cream was incredibly thick and creamy, with a strong, smooth coffee flavor infused throughout. Warning: This batch isn't for the weak coffee drinkers.

PICCO - Coconut Chip:

Like many of the vendors on Saturday, Picco didn't skimp when it came to the serving sizes - thankfully. This tropical twist on traditional chocolate chip ice cream was perfectly packed with shavings of fresh, chewy coconut.

Toscanini's - B3 (brown sugar, brown butter, and brownie):

I loved the decadent addition of brown butter and brown sugar to this bowl. The end result was incredibly rich and delicious - I just wouldn't be able to eat a cup of it any larger than this without entering a sugar coma.

Christina's - Chai Tea:
Somehow, I failed to take a picture of this one - but if you're a chai tea fan, you will love Christina's ice cream version. Cinnamon and cloves were strong flavors in this batch, and the ice cream itself was addictively smooth.

J.P. Licks - Mint Lace:

J.P. Lick's Mint Lace ice cream was obviously homemade and held more real mint flavor than any mint chocolate chip ice cream I've had before. However, this dish didn't blow me away like many of the other vendors' concoctions did that day.

Chilly Cow Custard - Purple Haze:

Chilly Cow's black raspberry frozen custard mixed with Oreos was nothing short of incredible - definitely my favorite offering of the day. The custard was wonderfully sweet and tart from the fresh black raspberry flavor, and their was just the right amount of crushed Oreos added for some crunch and rich, chocolate flavor. Thankfully, I live right down the street from Chilly Cow now - which could become very dangerous.

The geniuses at Bull McCabe's were also giving away free hamburgers (and cheeseburgers) along with $3 PBR drafts to all Ice Cream Showdown goers. Although the last thing I needed after inhaling several heaping cups of ice cream was a burger and a beer, I managed to throw both down my gullet anyway. My cousin and I, for our own health, did split the burger, though - and I did also manage to get a bite in before photographing it.

Although the day was filled with great eats (and ice cold beer), there is one negative aspect of the day that I must report. There was a point during the Ice Cream Showdown that I had dropped my spoon on the ground, and asked the folks running the show for a new one (no one mentioned to me at the front of the event that we had to save our spoons). However, when I went up to the staff and asked for a new spoon, I was immediately told they could "rinse it off for me," but they couldn't give me a new spoon. Since I had already thrown the spoon in the trash (this is after only two samples of ice cream, mind you) I was immediately told, with attitude, that there was nothing they could do for me because they were trying to "save the environment" one spoon at a time. Meanwhile, not a single paper or plastic cup was being reused or recycled. After being scolded for another solid minute in front of a crowd of people, I finally got a new, plastic spoon shoved in my face. 

At events with hundreds of people, some clumsy person like me is going to drop their spoon once and a while, or throw it away by accident - it's inevitable, and these are things you should plan for. And I am all for not being wasteful and reusing and recycling whenever and wherever possible - the situation was just handled very poorly. 

I totally respect @eatBoston, the partnerships they have, the events they run, and the money they raise for some incredibly great causes. But, if you're going to be green at events, make it consistent, clear and professional. I don't see the need to make someone who purchased a ticket feel like they're trying to kill the environment one piece of plasticware at a time just because they asked for a new spoon.

Did you attend either day of the Ice Cream Showdown? What was your experience?


  1. I think all of these events always have some mixed results but it seems like overall (minus the spoon incident) it was a good time and for a good cause!

  2. Great post! It's true the situation was handled really poorly, there was no reason to have the attitude they had!

  3. I was sad we couldn't make this event...I am such an ice cream addict. Can't believe that about the spoon! Crazy!

  4. ooh, you didn't try batch?! i popped by for a bit, loved the B3 and purple haze too :)

  5. Oooh, I hate that they were so rude to you! Nothing is a bigger turn off than people who are obnoxious and mean about saving the environment! That's no way to approach it. . .
    That said, the ice cream looks awesome!Toscanini's especially. . .
    And great charities were helped!

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  7. Shannon: For some reason, I didn't even see Batch? Either they were late, or I was just oblivious....