Food + Drink

Heaven in a Cone

When the temperature soars, we crave ice cream, in all its sweet, frozen glory.

We all have our special moments with ice cream. Maybe it’s the memory of warm sun on our faces while eating a double chocolate chip cone, or devouring an entire pint of butter pecan after breaking up with that someone special. Whatever the memories, we all have them.

And for some, it’s all about summer fun. “Ice cream reminds me of hot summer nights when my friends and I would rollerblade down to Taggarts,” says Canton artist Erin Mulligan. “My eldest sister would go in and take orders for all of us while we waited outside. I always got chocolate chip cookie dough — it was my favorite then and it still is today.”

Bob DiBiasio connects two warm weather passions. “What better way to spend your youth than baseball and ice cream? Ice cream endures all,” says the Cleveland Indians senior vice president of public affairs. “Whether you hit a home run or strike out, you tried your best and it’s time to celebrate with ice cream.”

For others, ice cream evokes family memories. “I remember making ice cream with my family,” says Polly Campbell, food and dining writer at The Cincinnati Enquirer (and the author of the blog “Campbell’s Scoop”). “My dad would line up all six of us. We’d each crank the machine 100 times.

“When I moved to Cincinnati,” Campbell continues, “I was thrilled to discover Aglamesis Brothers and Graeter’s ice cream. That’s when I knew I was really part of Cincinnati.”

Zack Bruell, award-winning chef and proprietor of five Cleveland restaurants, sums it up best when he observes, “When I think of ice cream, I think of my youth.”

Ice cream and hot summer days go together like a scoop and a cone. But some Ohio enthusiasts have taken the treat to another level by creating ice cream sensations made with the finest ingredients. What better time to enjoy some of these special concoctions than in July, National Ice Cream Month?


A Scoop of Nostalgia
Jeff Moreau, founder of Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop, located in Cleveland’s historic Gordon Square neighborhood, wanted to create an experience where families and friends could enjoy the nostalgia of an old-fashioned soda fountain.

“It’s a labor of love,” says Moreau. “We don’t just make butter pecan ice cream, we make our own homemade butterscotch to put into our homemade Madagascar vanilla ice cream. Even our root beer float is made with homemade root beer, then topped with a hefty scoop of homemade ice cream.”

Each Sweet Moses recipe contains quality ingredients such as Belgian chocolate and Hartzler’s organic milk. Made in small batches, the ice cream is churned on site, then served behind an authentic Bastian-Blessings soda fountain. Patrons can enjoy their treats at the counter or seated on restored wrought-iron chairs.

Moreau has named his specialty sundaes after Cleveland landmarks. The Terminal Tower, for example, consists of 10 scoops of homemade ice cream topped with hot fudge, warm caramel, marshmallow, pecans, candy sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry. It’s served with all the spoons you want.

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Special Recipe
Graeter brothers Chip, Bob and Richard hold the key to the family’s secret French Pot recipes, a tradition that’s endured for four generations at the Cincinnati-based company.

“Graeter’s ice cream is truly a family business,” says Bob. “The French Pot process gently folds the ingredients, preventing air from whipping into our ice cream.”

The family creates distinctive “bonus” flavors that supplement the menu every two weeks. Past concoctions include a spicy chocolate ice cream as well as watermelon sorbet. Graeter’s also draws in chocolate fans with the legendary chunks of gourmet chocolate found in their chip flavors. The chips are poured into the French Pot just as the ice cream is finished and — like the ice cream — positively melt in your mouth.

Graeter’s has stores in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, and their ice cream is carried at grocery stores across the state.

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Local Hero
With locations in Columbus, Cleveland and Nashville, Tenn., Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams may have grown beyond Ohio’s borders, but it remains a community endeavor. From Snowville Creamery milk and cream to local fruits and cheeses, owner and James Beard Foundation winner Jeni Britton Bauer has long been committed to finding the freshest and best the state’s growers and producers can provide. “Ice cream is a way of bonding,” says Bauer. “We create each recipe from scratch using as many local, high-quality ingredients as we can.”

When caramel is called for, she makes it from scratch, and when fruit compote is needed, she creates her own.

Passionate about ice cream, Bauer continually experiments. “Each flavor has a story to tell and each flavor is an experience for the palate,” she says.

This summer, she was inspired by authors. The zingy juniper & lemon curd with juniper berries and made-from-scratch lemon curd is a nod to New Yorker writer James Thurber, a Columbus native. The plum sake sorbet, a blend of pulverized plum with plum-infused sake, recalls poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “The Plum Gatherer.”

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Building on Tradition
The Mitchell brothers agree that their happiest childhood memories revolve around ice cream, and they want to offer that experience to all of their customers.

“We’re proud to be part of Cleveland and the local food chain,” says Mike Mitchell, who with his brother, Pete, owns Mitchell’s Ice Cream. “By partnering with local farmers and vendors we can keep our products as local, fresh and wholesome as possible.”

Founded in 1999, Mitchell’s continues to add new locations and will open a new headquarters and production facility in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood this fall.

“We’re so excited about this,” says Mike. “The building is a 100-year-old movie theater. We’re doing a historical renovation where the kitchen will be centered in a new open space so folks can watch us make the ice cream from every angle. People will see us using fresh fruit, grinding nut butter, making all the sauces. They’ll see it, smell it and taste it. It will become an experience.”

And what tasty treats should you look for at Mitchell’s? Lemon black raspberry frozen yogurt or wildberry crumble ice cream sound perfect for a dish or a cone. Or try a Cleveland Brownie Sundae, a warmed brownie, vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, pecans and a Bordeaux cherry.

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“Ice cream is a way to celebrate,” says Bob Roberts, president of the American Dairy Science Association, who also teaches a class at Pennsylvania State University that covers the science of ice cream. The following are adapted from his frozen-dessert definitions.

Sorbet is a mixture of sugar, water and a fruit puree or fruit juice. It is also known as water ice or granita.

Sherbet is a water ice with some milk added to add creaminess. It’s a fruit-based product with a lower fat level than ice cream.

Ice Cream is built on the sherbet recipe but with more than 10 percent milk fat (butterfat) and a minimum of 20 percent total milk solids. It gets its protein from the  milk solids and must weigh, after freezing, 4.5 pounds per gallon.

Frozen Custard is essentially ice cream that contains at least 1.4 percent egg yolk solids. It is generally served as a “fresh frozen” product.

Gelato is an Italian-styled ice cream. It’s normally made with lower-fat products than American-styled ice cream. Gelato is generally denser than ice cream because it contains less air.

Frozen Yogurt is generally a low- or reduced-fat ice cream product mixed of some amount of yogurt depending on the manufacturer. It’s available in soft-serve or hard-packed.



Backyard Mint Ice Cream
Courtesy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes 1 quart

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
A large handful of fresh mint from your back yard or farmers market, leaves roughly torn into small pieces

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the mint. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to steep for 4 to 12 hours.

Freeze: Strain out the mint. Pour the ice cream base into a frozen ice cream canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.


Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches
Courtesy of Chef Zack Bruell, Cowell & Hubbard, Cleveland
Makes 12

6 pints Mitchell’s Caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream

Meringue cookie rounds:
1-1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold tap water
4 egg whites

* Cook’s note: Meringue rounds can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container. You can pat down the ice cream into rounds and keep them in the freezer, but assemble the sandwiches at the last minute.

Cook: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the mixture reaches 250 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until foamy. Do not whip into peaks.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the hot sugar mixture. Increase speed to high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Pipe or spoon 3-inch rounds of meringue onto baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake on the middle rack of oven for 2 hours, then rotate the sheets and bake an additional two hours, lowering the oven temperature to 175 degrees if meringue begins to crack. Meringues should be completely dry to the touch. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Assemble: Place a couple of scoops of Mitchell’s Caramel Sea Salt ice cream between plastic wrap and push down to form a 3-inch diameter disc, about the same thickness as the meringue. Place ice cream disk between meringue cookies. Place in shallow bowl and lightly dust with powered sugar.