Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jeni, Jeni, Who do I turn to? Salty Caramel, of course.

After sampling the case, my selections
Ok, so don't blame me if you walk around humming the '80's Tommy Tutone song all day.  May I suggest a cure for your earworm?  You need to get your hands on some Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.  And thanks to the invention of dry ice and efficient overnight shipping, you don't have to be in the great state of Ohio to indulge.

Until recently, in order to sample the amazing collection of flavors in person you needed to visit one of the scoop shops in the Columbus area, but a new scoop shop in the charming Western Reserve town of Chagrin Falls, has put the in-person experience a little closer to home for Cleveland/Akron residents.

The 'scoop' on Jeni, according to their website:

Jeni Britton Bauer became inspired to make artisan ice creams while working at a French patisserie. Drawing on the practices of a traditional pastry kitchen, Jeni created her own techniques to make American ice creams that are less sweet and more flavorful.
  Each batch of Jeni's ice creams is carefully tended to; each flavor artfully achieved with fresh ingredients found in the Ohio countryside as well as responsibly-raised exotics from around the world. All of Jeni's ice creams, sauces, pralines and marshmallows are handcrafted in Jeni's production kitchen in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeni's is family-owned and operated. Jeni Britton Bauer and her husband Charly Bauer co-founded the company in 2002; Charly's brother Tom Bauer became a partner one year later. Together with their small team, they make every batch of ice cream that is served in their four (soon to be seven) stores in Columbus or shipped to doorsteps nationwide.

Flavor Selections at Jeni's
Probably the most well known flavor is the Salty Caramel, which is one of my favorites.  It has the perfect sweet/salty balance.  There is a line-up of signature flavors, such as the Brown Butter Almond Brittle, which has a shelf life of two days or less at my house, and a seasonal line-up that takes advantage of ingredients at their peak. 
The goat cheese, featuring Mackenzie Creamery goat cheese, for example, is paired with a Cognac-Fig Jam in the winter, and with roasted cherries in the spring.  Both are awesome!

The Backyard Mint - armfuls of fresh peppermint steeped in Snowville Creamery cream for 48 hours, reminded me of picking mint at my grandmother's house.  Snowville, my favorite local dairy, is the basis for all of the Jeni's ice creams. 

If you like a little spicy kick, try the Queen City Cayenne, a rich chocolate with tingly, peppery spice finish, or the Bangkok Peanut with features toasted coconut, peanut butter, and wait for it - a spicy finish that doesn't appear until after the other flavors have gone. 

Even the most 'normal' of flavors are layered flavor bombs Jeni style.  I was pretty blown away by the Ugandan Vanilla Bean. 

Don't expect your taste buds to be gently caressed; expect a roundhouse full-on punch.  The Rhubarb and Lime Cardamom Yogurt made me quiver every time I bit into a particularly citrus bombed bite. 

Sundaes at Jeni's

I am pretty sure you need a partner if you are going to indulge in one of the sundae selections, like "One Night in Bangkok' which features caramel sauce, banana, whipped cream, Spanish peanuts, cilantro and lime topped with a fortune cookie. 

Premium priced at $10 a pint, but once you taste the premium ingredients, handmade and handpacked, (they still hand write each label), you'll be convinced it's worth every penny.  My three half scoop sampler above (Backyard Mint, Strawberry Buttermilk, and Rhubarb Lime Cardamom) only set me back $5.

Akronites, the only place locally currently selling Jeni's is Deviti's Market, but I have put in a request with the manager at EarthFare. 

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