In honor of National Ice Cream month (and summertime!), we've put together this list of unique ice cream flavors, all homemade by Select Registry bed and breakfasts, inns, and small hotels, using only the freshest ingredients. You may never find fresh, homemade ice cream at impersonal, large chain hotels. This summer, leave that carton of commercial ice cream in the freezer section and reach for something completely unique and homemade!
Chocolate Espresso Ice CreamBirchwood Inn Bed & Breakfast in Lenox (Berkshires), Massachusetts, makes its own chocolate espresso ice cream for its phenomenal mud pies. Just when you think it couldn't get any better? Chocolate espresso ice cream + a chocolate chip cookie crust AND a thick caramel chocolate sauce drizzled over. You won't want to share this one!
Innkeeper Ellen Chenaux of the Birchwood Inn Bed & Breakfast started making this dessert in the late 1970s. She has served it to her inn's guests for sixteen summers.
What inspired this chocolate dream? Chenaux says, "Back in the late 1970s, I was living in Toronto, and the Toronto Star printed a recipe from MacArthur Park in San Francisco. And my variation was born! I use my own homemade chocolate chip cookies, my own homemade ice cream, and a thick and rich chocolate sauce that simmers for an hour. This creation won me the title “Mud Pie Queen of the Berkshires” in a local marketplace contest."
So what's the key to homemade ice cream? "The key to homemade ice cream is to have all of the ingredients as well as the pie plate or tart pans icy cold, and it’s important to use the best ingredients, from the highest quality chocolate to cream," says Chenaux. Maybe it's the quality ingredients or maybe it's the love Chenaux puts into it, but one thing is for sure, guests at the Birchwood Inn B&B can't get enough of this sinfully rich dessert! Next time you're near the Berkshires, you should stop in and try it for yourself.
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream vs. Minted Mango Sorbet
Fairbanks House in Amelia Island, Florida. If you're someone who's never said, "it's just too much chocolate," ice cream flavor #1 is for you! The Fairbanks House's Peppermint Chocolate Chip ice cream will cool you off and make you dream of sugar plum fairies and snow-capped mountains. Yum.
Unfortunately, you can't order this ice cream flavor all of the time. It's specially made for the B&B's girls' getaway groups. So the next time you're pitching a place to go, mention the Fairbanks House's peppermint chocolate chip ice cream and its Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Getaway package! It could be exactly what you need to win everyone's vote because let's be honest, who doesn't love chocolate and peppermint together?
Whereas the peppermint chocolate chip ice cream is for special occasions, the minted mango sorbet is served all of the time during the hot summers at the Fairbanks House. Innkeeper Theresa Hamilton says, "our Minted Mango Sorbet tastes like an explosion of summer freshness on your tongue. The mangoes are at their freshest, and the mint straight out of the garden takes the taste to 11."
What inspired you to create this flavor? "We had an employee who had a mint patch that was chasing her out of her yard, so she kept bringing fistfuls of fresh cuttings to the inn when she came to work. We kept finding more ways to incorporate it into what we serve at the inn. Mangoes have always been a favorite of our guests here in Florida, so we decided to try the combination, and magic happened. We now serve the sorbet as our breakfast fruit course several times a month," says Hamilton.
If you're tried the Minted Mango sorbet, please tell us what you thought of it in the comments below. If you haven't, stop in next time you're near Amelia Island, in Florida!
If you're still wondering why we've included a sorbet in our list of Best Homemade Ice Cream Flavors to Celebrate National Ice Cream Month, we promise it's not too far of a stretch. Sure, sorbet is icier and ice cream, creamier... but the difference between the two really boils down to a single ingredient. We aren't going to give away any of the B&B's secrets, but here is the basic principle:
Sorbet: Water + Sugar + Fruit
Ice Cream: Milk/Cream + Sugar + Fruit
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Have you ever thought of adding a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream to your ice cream? We haven't either. That's what makes this homemade ice cream flavor so incredible and unique! The Antlers on the Creek in Durango, Colorado, is where you'll find sour cream ice cream. It's served with stewed nectarines or grilled peaches, creating the most delicious blend of sweet and creamy.
We weren't kidding when we said Daisy Sour Cream. Innkeeper Susan Barrett lives in a really small town, so while she would love to use something organic... she doesn't have many options. She began making sour cream ice cream in early May 2015 when a groom gave her the recipe to make for his vow renewal ceremony. Barrett loved the recipe so much that she hasn't stopped making it since!
What is the key to homemade ice cream? Barrett says, "I like to use vanilla paste or vanilla beans and scrape them... Don't use vanilla extract. I think it makes a difference. Also, having a really great ice cream machine is key." Which brand does she swear by? DeLonghi.
Chai Tea Ice Cream
This one is for all of you Starbucks fanatics out there. To be honest, it was hard to choose only one... ALL of the homemade ice cream and sorbets at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont, sound amazing! We were lucky enough to catch up with Pastry Chef Phyllis to get the inside scoop on her Chai Tea ice cream.
"Our Masala Chai ice cream is layered with the flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, black pepper, and black tea," she says. Achieving so many layers of great flavors can't be easy. First, Phyllis steeps these flavors in a blend of whole milk and cream, and then, she chills everything in their White Mountain ice cream maker with ice and salt.
Normally, the Rabbit Hill Inn changes its menus to showcase the foods and flavors of each season. The inn offers its chai tea ice cream year round because it is so popular with its guests. Phyllis was originally inspired to create this flavor from the dessert she made, Dark Chocolate Tea with three tea ice creams: Earl Grey, Jasmine, and Chai. If you're asking yourself if these desserts count as your evening cup of tea, we say absolutely!
So, what is the key to home making ice cream? Phyllis says, "Firstly, follow the basic ice cream base recipe/directions of your ice cream maker. Each maker has its own nuances. As for flavors, begin with your favorite and continue to make it until it’s perfect. Then have fun exploring the endless possible flavor combinations. Making ice cream should be as much fun as eating ice cream. Just remember, you can always come here to Rabbit Hill Inn for inspiration."
Phyllis is always creating a wide variety of fun flavors that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth AND inspire your own homemade ice cream adventures. If you're not a coffee lover and you aren't sure which one you'd like to try, take her advice and order her favorite - Sweet Corn. Here's what's been on the ice cream menu lately...
Mango Tangerine Sorbet
Another mango sorbet... This one trades the fresh mint for the sweetness of a tangerine! It's full of fruity, deliciousness that will cool you off on a hot summer day. Innkeeper Kathryn Bundy of the Foxfield Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, home makes the mango tangerine sorbet. She describes it as, "a full-bodied tropical flavored sorbet."
How do you serve the Mango Tangerine Sorbet? Bundy says, "We started serving this sorbet to our guests about 3-4 years ago as a light refreshing way to finish breakfast." The story behind this sorbet flavor is simple. "The store was having a sale on mangoes and I wanted to do something different from what I normally use mangoes for," says Bundy. Her story is proof that you never know when culinary creativity will strike. Sometimes, all it takes is just the urge to try something different.
What is the key to home making sorbet? Bundy says, "There are several keys to making sorbet at home - letting the fruit macerate long enough before pureeing it and having a good ice cream maker to churn it."
It's not every day you come across an ice cream flavor as unique as this one! Who would have thought taking one of the world's oldest cheeses would end in such a fantastic result? If you consider yourself a cheese lover, you can find this decadent and delicious treat at the Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast in Chadds Ford, Pennslyvania. Innkeeper Glenn Mon says "it has that wonderful hint of cheesy, creamy, gorgonzola flavor... There's a sweetness from the sugar and then the cheese adds a savory balance. The flavor pairs so well with pear tatin."
But that's not even the best part... The Gorgonzola ice cream is part of this B&B's cooking school offerings! Recently, students in the French Country class learned how to make the Gorgonzola ice cream as the dessert for the dinner portion. Want to learn how to make it? Click here to view Hamanassett's cooking classes.
Currently, this is the only ice cream Mon makes with cheese, but he's considering trying new flavors. He says, "the beautiful thing about Gorgonzola is that it is a cheese with good melting characteristics." What's another cheese on his ice cream making radar? Raclette. "It's from the French and Swiss Alpine region and it's less nutty than gruyere," Mon explains. Like Gorgonzola, Raclette has good melting characteristics.
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
During the fall season, you can enjoy the Pumpkin Pie ice cream with the Great Pumpkin Pancakes at the Hartwell House Inn in Ogunquit, Maine. Innkeeper Eric Taubert takes pride in making seasonal dishes his guests love. He says, "I like to take the memories that people have of a particular season and turn that into someone's breakfast... So the Great Pumpkin Pancakes are a mix of fall flavors like nutmeg, pumpkin, pecan, and graham crackers."
Considering all of its cozy fall flavors, it's not surprising this dish is ridiculously popular. Taubert laughs as he remembers, "we had one guest who ordered the dish and loved it so much he took a picture of it on his phone. That was his first visit. Since then, he's been back five times with his friends to order it again and again."
What is the key to homemade ice cream? Taubert says, "trial and error, especially if you're trying to do something new. You can find plenty of recipes where people have done something different but to put your own spin on it... There have been plenty of times where I've made a whole batch of ice cream and have thrown it own because I wanted something different."
Homemade ice cream is just one of many defining characteristics that set bed and breakfasts, inns and small boutique hotels apart from large chain hotels... or in this case, large ice cream franchises like Ben & Jerry's or Baskin Robbins. Sure, both have incredible flavors to choose from. But they aren't homemade! If you're curious to taste the difference, stop by one of these properties and see how fresh their homemade ice cream is. You won't be disappointed!
Now that you've made it through the entire list, comment below and tell us which homemade ice cream flavor you want to try!
Want to receive our blog posts in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our e-newsletter.
Select Registry is a portfolio of more than 300 quality-assured premier bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels throughout North America. Each of our member bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels has passed an unannounced, rigorous, 200-point quality assurance inspection to earn and maintain its Select Registry membership, and to ensure it provides travelers with guaranteed quality, exceptional service, and an unforgettable lodging experience.