Once a year ice cream companies across the country gather in Boston's Government Center in June to fund-raise for cancer research. Here's the scoop: since 1948, The Jimmy Fund has been supporting the fight against cancer and since 1983, they've been doing it through unlimited scoops of ice cream via "The Scooper Bowl".
In my book, The Scooper Bowl ranks a close second behind The Puppy Bowl (Animal Planet's brilliant idea to commentate a puppy-only football game), but definitely beats the traditional Super Bowl (sorry, I'm not sorry). For $10, attendees can sample 36 flavors of ice cream from nine different local and national vendors. My original fear was that "samples" meant those tiny ketchup-cups often used at froyo establishments, but boy was I wrong! A sample at The Scooper Bowl is an entire scoop of ice cream, somewhere between a kiddie and a small size at a shop. After learning this, I knew I had to strategize to avoid a serious ice cream stomach-ache.
I pulled up the list of flavors, found here, and marked a first tier of flavors I definitely had to have and also noted a second tier of "might try" flavors if I felt the urge once I saw the scoop in real life. I made the executive decision to leave out boring flavors like mint chocolate chip, coffee, and strawberry. It's like eating all the complimentary chips at a Mexican restaurant before your burrito arrives - wasted stomach space!
It was perfect sunny ice cream weather at Government Center when we arrived. After entering through an arch adorned with a giant ice cream scoop we were handed spoons and the madness began. We worked our way from booth to booth, only sampling the previously agreed upon flavors. There were some surprises, some let downs, and some straight up wonderful ice cream. Below are some pictures followed by the winners in each category:
(1) Best Chocolate (2) Best Non-Chocolate (3) Best Non-Ice Cream (4) Wildcard! (5) Best in Show
Peppermint Stick & The Big Dig from Hood Dairy
Mango Sorbet & Malted Milk Ball Gelato from Ciao Bella Gelato
Mission Fig & Lemon Poppyseed & Salted Caramel from SoCo Creamery
AND NOW THE WINNERS!!!!
(1) Best Chocolate
Chocolate Therapy // Ben & Jerry's Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies & swirls of chocolate pudding ice cream
It had to have been the pudding that made this chocolate absolutely decadent and creamy. The chocolate cookies gave the ice cream just the right amount of texture that made each spoonful interesting. I had originally intended to eat Superfudge Truffle from Baskin Robbins instead of this, but it wasn't very good and I knew there had to be a better chocolate at the event. I highly recommend Chocolate Therapy if you're into classic chocolate ice cream.
(2) Best Non-Chocolate
Lunar Cheesecake // Baskin RobbinsGreen and white cheesecake flavored ice cream packed with cheesecake bits and wrapped up in a crunchy graham cracker ribbon.
This was the ONLY ice cream at the event that I thought "I need more of this". Apparently BR is bringing back the flavor as part of a promotion for the new Men in Black 3, but it originally launched in 1969 after the first man landed on the moon! Baskin Robbins has always been my favorite ice cream chain and even houses my favorite ice cream flavor from a chain - Gold Medal Ribbon. I loved the green tint of Lunar Cheesecake. The cheesecake flavor was smooth and didn't taste fake at all. I actually found myself hunting for the cheesecake bits with my spoon, but not being disappointed to find the sugary grit of graham crackers instead. A+ Baskin Robbins, next time I stop in it will be a scoop of Gold Medal Ribbon AND a scoop of Lunar Cheesecake for me, please!
(3) Best Non-Ice Cream
Blueberry Vanilla Graham // Ben & Jerry's Blueberry and Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt with a Graham Cracker Swirl
Once again I under-estimated Ben & Jerry's. I was going to try Hood's Maine Blueberry and Sweet Cream Frozen Yogurt but opted at the last second to skip it and go for the Greek yogurt instead. I was wary of Greek yogurt since I use a non-fat version of it at home as a replacement for sour cream. I wondered if my brain would be able to comprehend it as a sweet treat. Spoiler alert: It did. And it was fantastic! The chewy graham swirls and creamy vanilla yogurt contrasted nicely with the blueberry flavor and reminded of a frozen cobbler. Since I can now look at Greek yogurt differently, you might even say this scoop was life-changing.
Lemon Poppy Seed // SoCo CreameryLemon ice cream dotted with poppy seeds
I love the flavor combination of lemon and poppy seed, so I knew I wanted to try a scoop of the ice cream rendition, but I never predicted that I would be so crazy about it! The lemon ice cream was light, fresh, and smooth. The poppy seeds added the interest to the and when they combined with the bursting lemon flavor, the scoop tasted like summer sunshine. Unfortunately, Lemon Poppy Seed is not listed on the SoCo Creamery website so it might have been a special flavor for the event. However, Mission Fig, consisting of chewy black mission figs folded into their sweet cream base, is a standard flavor and was also fantastic and nearly took this title. Also, SoCo Creamery is located in Massachusetts, horray for local!
(5) Best in Show
Chocolate Therapy // Ben & Jerry's
Nothing beats classic chocolate ice cream. When you add creamy pudding, chocolate cookies, and the overall richness and high quality of Ben & Jerry's - you can't go wrong!
1. Mission Fig // SoCo Creamery Black Mission figs churned into a sweet cream base Unique. I loved the chewiness of the dates.
2. Graham Central Station // Friendly's Graham cracker ice cream with chocolate pieces and graham cracker swirl Surprisingly good ice cream from Friendly's?? Nailed the Graham base.
3. Holy Cow // Byrne Dairy Vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups and a peanut butter swirl I love peanut butter and this was perfect without being overwhelming.
Biggest Let Downs:
1. Malted Milk Ball Gelato // Caio Bella Gelato Blend of real malt, rich cream, and malted milk ball morsels Weirdly melty and strange flavor. I manged a gelato store, you're doing it wrong.
2. Hunka Chunka PB Fudge // Friendly's PB cups, swirls of PB and chunks of hard-shell fudge in vanilla ice cream Tasted like straight cream. I was excited about the peanut butter and barely tasted it.
3. Superfudge Truffle // Baskin Robbins Double choc. fudge ice cream, chunks of choc. ganache, and toffee truffle pieces Can best be described as "meh". I feel BR's classic chocolate is better.
Credit: Zac Wolf
I hope you enjoyed this Scooper Bowl post. I left feeling only a little bit sick but with a large sugar rush and a larger smile on my face! Anytime I can eat ice cream for charity, I am a happy girl. If you live in Boston, look out for the 31st Scooper Bowl next year!