Ice cream nirvana

Not all ice cream is created equal. The first time I tasted really good ice cream was in Stuttgart, Germany. When I returned home to Ireland, the £1.99 gallon tub lurking at the bottom of the supermarket freezer just wouldn’t cut it. So I moved on up the ice cream ladder and happily spent a little more money for a lot more tastebud-tingling icy, creamy goodness. Then I tasted ice cream in Italy, and things got kind of crazy. I experimented  with flavours, dabbled in gelato, flirted with sorbet, and eschewed anything with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. I secretly saw myself as an ice cream connoisseur.

Then, last week, I experienced an ice cream awakening. I was visiting the college town of Princeton, New Jersey on one of the hottest days so far this summer. As the noon hour drew near, the sun beat down mercilessly and a friendly college student, recognizing my plight, suggested I beat a retreat indoors to try the best ice cream Princeton has to offer. How could I resist? I followed his directions to Palmer Square and found The Bent Spoon.

ice cream nirvana bent spoon princeton new jersey

There was a line, but it moved quickly and soon I was inside, gazing up at the menu of hand-written signs attached to the wall above the counter.

ice cream nirvana bent spoon princeton new jersey

Zucchini cake. Blueberry apricot. I was hooked. The people ahead of me moved to one side and the ice cream came into view.

ice cream nirvana bent spoon princeton new jersey

The chap behind the counter grinned a tousle-haired hello, and seeing I was a new kid on the block, started offering me tastes of the flavours on offer that day. The lemon mint sorbet sparkled, the strawberry creme fraiche teased, but in the end I opted for lavender mascarpone and, at my tousle-haired friend’s suggestion, the blueberry mascarpone.

ice cream nirvana bent spoon princeton new jersey

I sat down and took a tentative spoonful of the lavender mascarpone. It was delicately perfumed, subtly sweet, and of a texture words cannot do justice to. Shifting over to the blueberry, the berry flavour burst out juicy and sweet, and again, that dreamy, thick, never let go don’t let it stop texture. I was humbled. The Bent Spoon in Princeton NJ schooled me on how truly great ice cream can be. As I looked up from my ice cream, I saw a review of the shop, hanging on the wall next to me.

ice cream nirvana bent spoon princeton new jersey

Yes. It was that good.

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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45 Responses to Ice cream nirvana

  1. Madhu says:

    Oooh! That’s my kind of place 🙂

  2. I love ice cream too, and my all-time favourite was a fresh lemon purchased off a street vendor in Istanbul, Turkey. Rich, creamy, tart and refreshing with every lick. That said, if you’re desperate for an ice cream fix, President’s Chocie offers their ‘Loads Of’ line. Their Pecan Butter Tart is rich, creamy, buttery & sweet. The dark chocolate and cherries… Mmmm… Not quite McKay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, AB (20 minutes west of my house) which is also fabulous, but a very close second.

  3. Oh my!! That looks so good right now!

  4. i hope The Bent Spoon compensate you for comments, it must be worth a blueberry mascarpone on the house

    • ailsapm says:

      Haha, wouldn’t that be nice. I actually checked their site when writing this post, and saw they had two flavours that weren’t on offer that day – sweet pea and cardamom ginger – now if the nice folks at the Bent Spoon ever read this and feel like sending me a sample, I would not be offended in the slightest. 🙂

  5. pommepal says:

    I’m drooling and licking my lips at the thought of all that choice….

    • ailsapm says:

      It’s probably just as well I don’t live there because I’d have to try every flavour, and seeing as they come up with new flavours all the time, I’d resemble the Goodyear blimp 🙂

  6. Emma says:

    J’adore ice-cream, so I really see your point.
    The best one I ever ate was this year, ilat Sirmione-Italy, white chocolate and cafe, just wow…

  7. This looks incredible. I’m probably about an hour away. ROAD TRIP!

    • ailsapm says:

      Do it, Gemma! I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Princeton before, but the campus is wonderful and the surrounding town is charming. And that ice cream alone is worth the trip 🙂

  8. thirdeyemom says:

    I love ice cream! It was my favorite food of choice when I was pregnant and able to eat it all the time guilt free! We are going on vacation this weekend and the place has the most amazing ice cream ever. During our week of vacation, we all try a new flavor each day. I can hardly wait!!! But I must also agree, that italy’s gelato is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had!

    • ailsapm says:

      A different flavour ice cream each day, now that has the makings of a delightful vacation! Have fun on your trip, Nicole, I look forward to reading your posts about it. xxx

      • thirdeyemom says:

        Thanks! Not sure when I’ll get to your new post on “art”. I have a backlog of five posts in my queue that need to be written but hopefully I can join in. If not this week then next time! I’ll be busy eating ice cream and praying I still look ok in my bikini! (he he)….not ready to give in to a mommy suit yet.

        • ailsapm says:

          Haha, this made me crack up, Nicole – from your photos, trust me, you are oh so far away from a mommy suit. Bet you rock your bikini! xxx

  9. I love your photos and the names of the ice creams. How creative! So many sound appealing; in the heat here in Oman, my mouth is watering for one of these refreshing treats. Great post, Ailsa!

  10. Yumi …. very delicious. I would choose blue berry mascarpone … yumi 😀

  11. adinparadise says:

    Oh, how delicious, Ailsa. I love the idea of “The Leonardo Da Vinci of ice cream.” 😉

  12. Shaanthz says:

    The way you describe the taste and texture Ailsa, I can almost taste the ice cream.

  13. sutira says:

    Oh man, I need to go there and experience this ice cream nirvana since I live in NJ. Thanks for sharing!

    • ailsapm says:

      Excellent, sutira, you are going to love it. Stop by after you’ve tasted it and let me know what you thought! xxx Ailsa

  14. Wow. You capture the magic of ice cream’s affect on the senses so beautifully… It makes me want some immediately even though I’m in freezing cold weather!

    Cat

  15. Sounds heavenly…. ice cream so sinful 😉

  16. My downfall was trying moosetracks ice cream. I used to take it or leave it.

  17. Pingback: Ice cream nirvana | travelogue | Scoop.it

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