Ice cream flavored like cake batter is a hot trend these days.
Though chocolate, vanilla and strawberry will likely always be ice cream's holy trinity, there are ice cream fads.
Scott Wise, whose family has operate Flavor Freeze in Dunlap the last 42 years and another 20 on Bristol Street in Elkhart, has seen the fads come and go.
He and those who work for him keep making hard ice cream, which they call "gourmet," to sell at the two stands. Frozen yogurt and soft-serve are also available, but I'd head for the hard gourmet ice cream. Plain flavors aren't usually among the dozen available. The list usually has a mint variety, blue moon, chocolate chip cookie dough and butter pecan, as well as either bubble gum or Superman. Occasionally Ooey Gooey Chocolate Mess is on the list.
The colors are vibrant. Wise said they want their Blue Moon to be blue.
It's easy to describe the color. It's about the color of Grover the Muppet.
The flavor is more difficult. Bob Wise, Scott's father, always said it was lemon flavor with nutmeg.
"People don't know what that means," Scott said.
Combined with ice cream that has 15-percent butterfat it just means it's good.
I think the chunks of dark chocolate in the mint chocolate chip are too big, but I think the ice cream is good enough to make a finalist for the best in Elkhart County.
It's creamy. For hard ice, it's pretty soft. The amount of fat in it keeps it from seizing like a stone.
I didn't try the butter pecan, but Wise is proud of it. Next time perhaps. There will be a next time since Flavor Freeze is a finalist. (Five scoops out of six)
Culver's came to Elkhart long after Flavor Freeze. The first Culver's didn't open until 1984 and the Elkhart location near the Wal-Mart along C.R. 6 opened in 2004.
The chain based in Wisconsin cranks out frozen custard, which like Ritter's just means it's ice cream with a bit of eggs.
Vanilla and chocolate are available daily, along with a premium flavor. Culver's has a calendar at www.culvers.com.
The vanilla and chocolate are, by themselves, quite good. The chocolate has a full cocoa flavor, but is still sweet enough. The vanilla is a solid base for a sundae or what's known as a concrete cake.
As with Flavor Freeze, the consistency is nearly perfect.
The service and dining experience at Culver's is great, but I wish more types of ice cream were available on a given day. I know the business model is to make ice cream fresh and limit the flavors. That assures quality, but not a huge array of choices at any moment. (4 1/2 scoops out of six)
Michoacana at the corner of Benham and Lusher in Elkhart offers a different take on ice cream since Alicia Corona and her family opened it last summer.
It's Mexican ice cream, which incorporates the tropical fruit of the sunnier south and a different approach to frozen confections.
The result is flavors like pineapple and cream with hunks of crushed fruit. The mango is more like sorbet than ice cream but is full of fruit flavor. Same goes for the lime. And then there's the corn and pine nut.
Corn ice cream, with chunks of corn, wasn't available the other day. The pine nut, made with the nuts that can also be used in pesto, had hints of coconut but is similar to Blue Moon in that the flavor is subtle and difficult to describe.
The problem with the ice cream is consistency -- from one flavor to another and in the texture of the ice cream.
Some are like sorbet. Others are like frozen whipped topping. None of it has the silky mouthfeel of premium ice cream. But the flavors of ice cream make it worth of a visit. (four out of six)
Two weeks until a winner is named in Ice Cream Quest. At least three more places remain to be tested. The finalists so far are The Chief, Flavor Freeze and the soft-serve from the Dairy Bar at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.
I'm hungry. Let's eat.