There are few things more refreshing and decadent on a hot summer day than a sweet, creamy, scrumptious scoop of ice cream. Summer road trips often include stops at great joints like Marion’s Dairy Bar in East Tawas, House of Flavors in Ludington, Roaring 20’s in Flushing, The Frozen Flamingo in Munising, and of course the aptly-entitled Screams in Hell. Heavenly ice cream isn’t just served around the state, it’s frequently made here too, and often with a flair all our own. Here are some standouts that are uniquely Michigan.
Kilwin’s Traverse City Cherry
There may be many places in the world where you can get some form of cherry ice cream, but only here in Michigan are you likely to find one that is loaded with delicious locally-grown cherries. There is nothing artificial about the “cherryness” of this treat from Kilwin’s. You’ll taste the fruit in every lick, not to mention a chunk of cherry in nearly every bite.
No list of specialty flavors in our state would be complete without involving some famous Mackinac fudge. There are many out there, but this one relies on more than just the decadent fudge to make it special. Imagine creamy white chocolate ice cream, then throw in some chunks of fudge, and top it off with raspberry ribbons. It’s a summer treat that’s as delightful as its name.
Moomers’ Apple Crisp
There are so many flavors from which to choose at Moomers it can almost paralyze your mind more than the occasional brain freeze that comes from eating it fast. This is one that really captures a local flavor profile. It’s comprised of cinnamon ice cream with fresh chunks of homemade apple crisp. While it might sound a little more like fall than summer, it is spectacularly refreshing any time of year.
Ray’s Blueberry Pie
Another of the wonderful tastes brought about by summer near the lakes are blueberries. Sure, Ray’s could make a nice tart ice cream from the fruit, but they’ve taken it up a notch by creating an a la mode experience. This creamy, dreamy concoction includes vanilla ice cream, a blueberry swirl, and chunks of actual pie.
Ashby’s Michigan Pot Hole
At long last, something good has come from our ridiculously bad roads. The folks at Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream have been cranking out award-winning flavors for 35 years, many of which are unique like Play Dough and Nana’s Banana Puddin’, but this one takes the cake. They describe it as “think, black-tar fudge in chocolate ice cream with chunks of chocolate asphalt.” I’ll just say it’s chock full of chocolatey goodness.
Hudsonville’s American Fireworks
Clearly created with summer celebrations in mind, this is one of the more whimsical combo’s Hudsonville has ever put together. At its core it consists of a blend of sweet and sour ice cream, that is accented by swirls of sour cherry, but it’s the extra ingredient that makes it much more fun. Riddled throughout are blue candies that can pop like tiny firecrackers in your mouth. I say “can” pop because not everyone experiences the thrill. Joe Pawlik tried the new sensation at a family barbecue on the 4th of July. He admits he didn’t experience the popping sensation with his first bite, nor the second, nor the third. Undeterred, he was prepared to keep eating until he did. His sister and a couple of her friends then noted that the secret to the surprise is to separate the candies and hold them under your tongue. Joe tried it and it worked! Keep that tip in mind if you decide to give this wacky swirl a whirl.
You can find these flavors being served up in shops around the state, or in local stores if you prefer to taste test in the comfort and privacy of your own home.