Is there a more distinct pleasure than ice cream on a hot summer day?
If there is, it has yet to come to my mind.
But if you happen to be in New Hope, Pennsylvania, your pleasure in ice cream eating is bound to be particularly sweet, because this sweet little town is home to an establishment called Gerenser's Ice Cream.
For over 50 years, this shop has been serving up scoops of delicious and sometimes exotic flavors of ice cream. And it's truly a labor of love--as I learned from this website,
The story of the Exotic Ice Cream really is a love story. Stephen J. Gerenser who was teaching at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. would meet his sweetheart Julia Pelikan who lived and worked in Manhattan. New Hope was the half-way mark. Like many people that come here, the young couple were enchanted by the natural beauty and charm of the little story book town. They were married and made plans to settle in New Hope and raise a family.
One of their favorite places to meet was a little restaurant called the "Village Snack Shop." When they discovered it was for sale they decided to buy it and a new enterprise was born. Through the fabulous family recipes of Mrs. Gerenser the little restaurant thrived. The magic really began when Mr. Gerenser discovered a small ice cream machine sitting in one of the back rooms of their new establishment. Julia and Stephen were not satisfied with the commercial ice creams available, they wanted something better to compliment there wonderful meals. Stephen was raised in a dairy in New Brunswick New Jersey and he knew exactly what to do with that machine! He would make the best ice cream any one ever tasted.
As the story goes on, after a while the ice cream was clearly the most popular item on the menu, a popular snack for theatre-goers attending shows at the nearby Bucks County Playhouse. So after creating some fantastic ice cream concoctions in flavors like pumpkin, peach brandy, rum raisin, and more, they rebranded it as an ice cream shop.
On my recent visit, I went for the CakeSpy-iest flavor they had: vanilla birthday cake ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Yup.
The gorgeously creamy vanilla ice cream was studded with respectable but not overwhelmingly-sized cubes of yellow cake, and was pretty much so delicious that I all but licked the cup clean. While not necessary for the enjoyment of the ice cream, I firmly believe that we eat with our eyes first, and therefore the sprinkles were a Very Good Idea.
A friend got a chocolate shake, which had to be re-made because the first time the sweet but slightly confused employee only made a shake which filled about 2/3 of the cup (and when a shake is in the $5-6 range, it had better fill the cup!) and was none too chocolatey. But version two was far superior, and so we both left happy.
The ice cream shop feels fairly old timey but the prices are definitely geared toward today's gourmet - a small ice cream is $4.50, and the prices go up from there. But it is a tourist town, so while I found it expensive, I didn't find it totally unreasonable.
The array of flavors was pretty comprehensive, and they had the usual roster of flavors in addition to some more "exotics" - German Peach Brandy, Cotton Candy, Spanish Rum Raisin, and more.
If you find yourself in New Hope, please, do yourself a favor and go here.
Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream, 22 S Main Street, New Hope; more info here.