Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
About Shira's Inside Scoop
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream. There is no season for this tasty treat, and Shira will bring you to the ends of the earth, or at least your nearest dairy, for this frozen delight. Whether homemade or not, the ride will be worth the extra calories. This monthly column has become one of the highlights of every issue - we hope you enjoy it too.
Lickin' Lap of New Jersey
I have tasted many a scoop since I started this column, and I would be very hard-pressed to select my favorite, but I can say that the ice cream that I’ve had in New Jersey has been phenomenal. Riding from tip to top you will find dairy farms everywhere (well, maybe not in Newark, but it does have the Ironbound district). So for this Just Jersey issue, I will bring you on a lickin’ lap of Jersey. No matter that the calendar pages are quickly depleting, there is always time and room for ice cream. Enjoy!
211 S. Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ • 609-492-5433
Seasonal: early May through December • call for hours
Starting in the southern part of the state, more specifically at Da Shore, we’ll cross the bridge onto Long Beach Island and head south. Found on a ride to join the family on their VaCa, the Woo Hoo greets you with colorful signage and smiling faces. Their fresh, homemade flavors are creative and delicious. Having concocted too many to name, they have a daily listing of twelve, which always includes their ‘base 7’. Since the ice cream is churned daily, when they’re out, they’re out, but you certainly will never be disappointed should you go to a back-up flavor. Grab a cone and enjoy the beach.
Taste-tested: Ice Cream 4 Breakfast, Peanut Butter, Javin’ Me Nuts and Cookies N’ Cream.
237 N. Union St, Lambertville, NJ • 609-397-2234 • Open daily at 11am
Heading north, take the scenic route through Bass River and Wharton State Forests and up Route 206 (sorry about Trenton getting in the way) along the river to Lambertville. OwOwCow Creamery was one of my first ice cream runs, and most every lick has had to measure up to that standard. Since sampling their wares at the original shop in Ottsville, PA, they have opened several others and, thankfully, one in New Jersey. Back in 2010, they had already created 100 flavors, so by now they have conquered the universe in diversity, I’m sure. Their premium ice cream uses locally sourced, organic ingredients in small batches to keep its integrity. For goodness sakes, they have three different flavors of vanilla: Tahitian, Indonesian and Madagascar (you’ve got to eat it, eat it…). For this time of year, they break out their seasonal Sweet Potato Wasabi and Candy Cane Chip.
Taste-tested: Coconut and Garden Berries
1063 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ • 973-338-7091 • Mon-Sat: 11am-11:30pm • Sun: Noon-10pm
Okay, as I need to cover some of the eastern side of the state, we’ll head to the oldest ice cream shop on this trip. You can make your way across the state on Route 31, head north on Canal Road and make your way through the Watchung, South Mountain and Eagle Rock Reservations before turning east to Bloomfield.
Holsten’s has been scooping up their homemade dairy since 1939, but much to the dismay of the locals who have been stopping in for their burgers, fries (NOT onion rings), ice cream sodas and take-home chocolates, they were chosen for the last location shooting (no pun intended) of the Sopranos. Not having watched a single episode of this series, I was not lured by the chance to sit in Tony Soprano’s booth, but their accolades for their ice cream. Holsten’s is a throwback to the days of old-time luncheonettes and soda jerks making fresh whipped cream and sauces. When you enter, should you glance to your right you’ll find the temptations of the dark side – chocolate, that is – of which they make their own. While most of the ice creameries I frequent have trendy, creative flavors, here you’ll get your vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry and perhaps cookies n’ cream. Pop your butt on a red-covered swivel barstool, order up and enjoy some history.
Taste-tested: Vanilla Peanut Butter (specialty flavor), Cookies n’ Cream
100 US Hwy 46 Suite 7, Budd Lake, NJ • 862-258-3593 • Open daily at 11am
We’ll vector west again, to the less inhabited part of the state, where we’ll find Das’ Creamery, nestled in the village of Budd Lake, a section of Mount Olive. Father and daughter team Pankaj and Komal Das have lovingly created a welcoming atmosphere filled with some of the best ice cream I’ve tasted. Not only is the ice cream of high quality, produced in small batches to ensure its freshness, Pankaj and Komal have come up with some very creative and unusual flavor combinations, and continue to experiment and tweak these delicious offerings. Pankaj learned the trade while attending a course at a university in Canada, while Komal opted for the Penn State course after attending the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. The path was laid, and Das’ Creamery became a reality.
With well over 30 flavors under their belts, the Das’ continually experiment and develop ways to tickle your tastebuds, with the likes of Ghost Chocolate, Kulfi and Cinderella’s Ride (pumpkin spice).
Taste-tested: Dark Knight Rises (black licorice), Village Fig and For the Sage of Maple
359 Ridge Rd, Fredon, NJ • 973-579-9657
Hours: Seasonal • check website/Facebook for hours
For the last stop on this tasty tour, I’ll swing you north towards Backroads Central’s stomping grounds and my go-to ice cream spot. You really can’t choose a bad road to get from Budd Lake to Newton, but my suggestion would be to head west a bit on Route 46 – not to worry, this part is very empty and scenic – take Petersburg Rd north towards Tranquility (this part of Jersey has pleasant names, yes?) and find your way onto Route 519.
Along this country route you’ll find Windy Brow Farm, named for its windy location on the brow of the ridge. This dairy farm dates back to the late 1800s, with the first fruit trees planted in 1920. The farm store was established in 1946 and the present owners, Jim and Linda Hunt, have been sowing their Garden State roots since 2000. Jake, their son, came on board in 2013 with The Cow’s Brow Creamery and has been kickin’ butt ever since.
Of course, they churn their own sourcing local ingredients and have super creative flavor combinations but Jake did something this year to truly celebrate his Jersey roots. In the spring he announced his ‘Only in Jersey’ collection, revealing one flavor at a time and culminating with his National Ice Cream Month Celebration in July. The first flavor to drop was Taylor Ham + French Toast (rich maple ice cream with Taylor Ham toasted bits and chunks of French toast). As I said in my original article on their festival, the power of social media is amazing, as this flavor went VIRAL, grabbing attention nationwide as well as internationally. Love it or hate it, it is here to stay and keeps bringing the curious in for a taste. In addition to this truly Jersey flavor, Jake added Buttermilk + Blueberries, Cranberry Creamsicle, Sweet Corn + Honey and Tomato Pie (my personal favorite – the base is steeped with oregano, black pepper, red pepper flake, cumin and Italian seasoning then swirled with housemade sungold tomato jam, ricotta cream and basil oil).
Taste-tested: pretty much everything
How could I not end this Just in Jersey Ice Cream Run with anyone else? Enjoy the ride, my state and remember, there is no season for ice cream – it’s always.