In 1861, Lewis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker school teacher and farmer, began making ice cream in his Salem, NJ backyard using a mule-turned churn.
In 1885 he began selling his wares at 5th and Market in Philadelphia; in 1893 he moved shop to the newly-opened Reading Terminal Market.
And the sweet, creamy stuff has been sold there ever since.
Fast forward to the modern-day. Bassetts now churns out ice cream which is sold all over the Philadelphia area and even beyond, but the heart and soul of the company remains at the Reading Terminal Market.
And here are 5 reasons why I love Bassett's:
1. Their ice cream is not fancy, but it is very good. It's proof that when you've got a good process and good ingredients, the product will shine; there isn't much that is gimmicky or trendy about this ice cream, and that's part of why I like it.
2. Gadzooks! The flavor. What is it? As I learned from their website,
Bassetts decadent chocolate ice cream with pieces of Brownie Points peanut butter brownies, chocolate chunks and a rich caramel swirl. Gadzooks Original was unveiled at WMMR's Spring Break '06.
3. They are steeped in sweet lore and adventure. Per their website, in 1935, Lewis Junior, who took over the business, "ships 10 quarts of ice cream, packed in dry ice, via freighter from New York through the Panama Canal to the American Embassy in Tokyo. The voyage takes several weeks but the ice cream arrives in perfect condition".
4. Details matter: their waste bin at the Reading Terminal Market is shaped like a big ice cream cone.
5. Daily specials: on a recent visit, I had a double-header: one scoop of macadamia nut ice cream paired with one scoop of vanilla butterscotch. It was decadent, creamy, and completely dreamy. I loved every moment of that ice cream (pictured top).
Seek out your own reasons to love them; find Bassetts online here.