Ashley’s Pumpkin Ice Cream: A September-December Romance
You know that I love my fresh dairy products. My Aunt Phil always said she wanted to be buried in an ice cream carton. I feel the same way. When I was pregnant with my twins, I consumed gallons of ice cream each week. Toward the end, when I could barely walk, I saved what energy I had to make a giant blender full of milkshake, which I would sip all day long. To this day, I will occasionally have ice cream for dinner.
Although I have a constant favorite flavor (maple walnut), a spouse if you will, I anticipate this time of year with a longing that can only be likened to a sweet affair along the lines of Same Time Next Year.
The first time we met I was on the brink of womanhood, just back from an academic year abroad in Paris. I fancied myself to be very worldly, and a bit of a gourmet. I had spent my year in the City of Light drinking expresso and Beaujolais, eating croissants for breakfast, consuming countless baguettes and pastries. I even tried pigeon. Shortly after my return to the US, I visited home on a cool weekend in October. I had heard about Ashley's Pumpkin ice cream and decided to try it. As soon as the spoon met my lips I was seduced. The aromatic flavor was exciting and yet familiar. So rich, so good. And so much more desirable than the crème glacée I embraced in Paris. I was a country girl after all, smitten "down on the farm."
I share my beau. Ashley’s Pumpkin ice cream has a faithful following of admirers. Customers begin asking for it in August- but Ashley's holds off on production until mid-September, where there is a sufficient autumn chill in the air.
It is their top seller. Oh, there are plenty recipes for pumpkin ice cream if you’re inclined to make your own. This in particular sounds delicious.
But really, why make the effort? How could I make anything that tastes better than Ashley’s Pumpkin ice cream?
You most likely heard about the recent and publicized controversy over Ben and Jerry’s inaccurate use of the phrase “all natural” to describe their ingredients. In contrast, Ashley’s has a long history of using no artificial ingredients in any of their ice cream flavors, including my beloved Pumpkin. They use local ingredients as often as possible. Apples, strawberries, raspberries, peaches and blueberries are all picked at Bishop’s Orchard, minutes from where the ice cream is made. The pumpkins used for my ice cream (yes, they use real pumpkins) are from the tri-state area.
Joe Ametrano and David Anderson, the owners of Ashley's, firmly believe in supporting local dairy farmers. The cream comes from a local dairy three times a week and is churned within 48 hours of its delivery. As David told me, “there's a good chance the ice cream you're eating was still in the cow just a few days ago...” Now that is fresh. And that is local. No preservatives needed.
There are some other delicious limited fall flavors my research necessitated I taste this week. Apple Crumb (it tastes exactly like fresh apple pie). And cousins of my beloved pumpkin- Pumpkin with crumbled gingersnap cookies, Pumpkin Latte, made with real coffee...both quite scrumptious.
But I am a purist and I prefer the flavor I've known and loved every year for almost twenty years.
Sweet and creamy texture, intense pumpkin flavor, hints of cinnamon. Come September, I will be waiting once more with hungry anticipation. Ready for a culinary rendezvous, the memories of which will sustain me until we meet again.
Ashley's Ice Cream Cafe locations:
942 Boston Post Rd
Guilford, CT 06437-2750
1016 Main St
Branford, CT 06405-3730
2100 Dixwell Ave # 15,
Hamden, CT 06514
280 York St.
New Haven, CT 06551
724 Boston Post Rd
Madison, CT 06443-3039