So, if you're a reader of this blog, you know I don't do pints, right? Not to be a snob - but, well (cough) - the ice cream just isn't as good in the pint. It changes. It gets harder, sometimes crispy with ice flakes. Sometimes getting a pint that's been in the freezer too long can change my entire opinion about whether or not I like the ice cream. Not to mention. . . having ice cream in the house? At my beck and call at any time of day?? Dangerous.
But. You can't get Phin & Phebe's anywhere else (except now, Evergreen Ice Cream Co), so I figure if I wanna try out this Brooklyn ice creamery, I gotta go Pint. Cause everything else about them I love: started by couple Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman, who had never made ice cream before, they workshopped their ice cream in their tiny East Williamsburg apartment and drafted up flavors based on their favorite travels. They too took Penn State's Ice Cream Short Course (I guess it's even realer than I thought) and believe in handmade, well, everything. Even the vanilla wafers in Banana Whama (a banana pudding flavored ice cream), rather than using Nabisco. They use only the best all-natural ingredients and locally-sourced, hormone-free dairy from family owned farms across New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To date they are still the only two employees, even though they produce up to 25,000 pints a month.
It's a standard NYC rags-to-riches fairy tale. But besides all that cool stuff that I can get behind, it's GOOD. I found out about Phin & Phebe's when my roommate made pie and her friends brought over SUPER fancy ice cream, including Phin & Phebe's Vanilla with Vietnamese Cinnamon, which is A.MA.ZING (and sells for $7.99 a pint. Whew!). The fact that they can really make this ice cream taste like a colder (possibly higher-calorie) banana PUDDING and not just banana ice cream with wafers in it is astounding. And when you add whipped cream on top of it? Mon dieu! It's phenomenal. I am making up an Ice Creaming Award right now, and Phin & Phebe's WINS for Best Flavor. Plus, how cute is this carton?!?!
While we're on the topic of pints. . .
So, I only know one place to buy this stuff. It's Brooklyn Fare, in Cobble Hill. A very dangerous place for an ice cream blogger. Observe:
And here's the thing. They're all, like, the coolest ice creams on the planet. This is where I got my beloved Haagen Daaz Five Lemon. They have every combination of Ben & Jerry's Greek Yogurt (including the new Honey Caramel Vanilla I want to try). They stock everything from gelato and sorbet to coconut cream and soy ice cream. They even stock Ice Creaming faves Ronnybrook and Blue Marble. And Steve's, if I decide to give him another try. So, I'm deciding between the Phin & Phebe's offerings, and I see this:
Let me explain.
Earlier this year I was taking a scene study class, and we get assigned Theresa Rebeck's "Dead Accounts," which premiered on Broadway in 2012, starring Katie Holmes. In the scene we are assigned, I (in the Katie Holmes role) watch my brother Jack scarf down pints of Graeter's ice cream, which you can only find in Cincinnati. I've never heard of Graeter's, but it's like super-famous there. Lines around the block on weekdays sort of famous. Apparently it's AMAZING. Here is a line that Jack says:
"This is awesome. This is, like, you know, it's like the best ice cream in the world. People in New York go 'oh there's this great place in Brooklyn' or 'there's this gelato place on the upper west side' and I'm like you people have no idea. The best ice cream on the planet is in Cincinnati, Ohio. And they are so fucking superior! 'Cincinnati? Really?' Like that's the most, it's just retarded, honestly. So fucking retarded! You know you can get them to ship it. You can have them put a whole shitload of ice cream in dry ice and have it shipped for, like, not that much money when you think about it, and I was going to do that? Just to prove a point? But then I thought, no fuck you all. I don't have to prove anything. You all can just go to your graves without tasting Cincinnati ice cream. You don't deserve it!"
I looked it up. Cause I'm an ice cream blogger. I needed to KNOW. They claim to only make 2 gallons at a time (geesh) using a system called French Pot process, which allow the ice cream to be super creamy (which it is). Here's what "French Pot" process is:
"Our secret recipe of fresh cream and egg custard is gently swirled along the chilled sides of a slowly spinning French Pot Freezer. As the creamy blend thickens, a blade softly scrapes the sides of the pot, folding the ice cream into itself. Then we add the fresh ingredients to complete our unique flavors. The gentle folding process prevents air from whipping into our ice cream and accounts for the extremely dense and creamy consistency. Where a typical pint of ice cream can weigh as little as 8 ounces, a Graeter’s pint weighs nearly a full pound! Graeter’s ice cream is so rich and creamy that we have to pack every pint by hand."
Goodness gracious! Not to mention the chocolate inside the Vanilla Chocolate Chip tastes pretty superior. Apparently they have specially prepared liquid chocolate (on the label it says 'liquor") into the French Pot just as the ice cream is finishing. A paddle is then used to break up the frozen layer into the randomly sized chunks of chocolate. Which is pretty fun to find, if I must say. Their ingredients list looks pretty dope too - strawberries and black raspberries from Oregon, Madagascar vanilla, 100% cane sugar. They don't say where their cream comes from, just "farms that pledge not to use artificial growth hormones" but frankly, I'm already sold. This place is the bomb. And their ice cream is WELL worth paying shipping for.
Looks like I have a new way to stock my freezer, kids. RIP Haagen Daaz Five Lemon - onwards and upwards to Phin & Phebe's and Graeter's!