When I was a kid, the biggest treat was to go to the Bethel Dipper and have a scoop of vanilla soft serve. It was what my parents would promise me if I was very, very good. I had my first ice cream cone there, and I remember being fascinated that you could actually EAT the cone. What will they think of next. The Bethel Dipper is a tiny little box of a place with a walk-up window, kind of like Bruster’s but smaller and ancient; plus they also sell burgers. There’s no way to go inside and no place to sit down, so everyone just wanders around with melting milkshakes or hurries to a car and some air conditioning. Today is hot, and I could really use a scoop of soft serve. Sounds perfect.
The Bethel Dipper may have given me my first introduction to the amazing world of ice cream, but Graeter’s refined my taste and spoiled me forever. My friends Betty and Melanie introduced me to Graeter’s when I was visiting them in Covington, and it was one of the chief pleasures of my three years in Louisville. My husband and I were flat out broke, but when we needed a treat, we made a trip to Graeter’s. The manager of the store on Bardstown Road came to know us, and when we walked in he would start piling the black raspberry chip into a waffle cone. He got really irritated once when one of his employees asked us what we would like instead of remembering our usual. All their flavors were good, but black raspberry chip was the best one ever. The dark purple cream inevitably got all over our mouths, as good ice cream should, and made us feel like kids. It tasted fresh and sweet and creamy. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
Where I live now, there is no Graeter’s. However, we have a close substitute in Chaney’s Dairy Barn. Located in–you guessed it–a big red barn on the outskirts of town, their ice cream is rich and thick. My favorite there is the birthday cake, which has colored sprinkles throughout and isn’t too heavy like some places make it. They have nice milkshakes too. One of Chaney’s charms is that during the summer, they show movies projected on the side of the barn, and you can bring lawn chairs and blankets and watch a family flick outside.
These are my favorites, but I’m always on the lookout for something new. Anybody else have favorite ice cream flavors/stories/places that you would recommend?