A scrumptious way to beat the heat in Wisconsin is sampling cold treats. And there is an array of food-based businesses devoted to whipping up batches of custard, ice cream and allergen-friendly frozen desserts all around the state. So if taking a dessert-themed road trip sounds like a fab idea, use the popular picks below as a must-stop guide.
Madison, Fitchburg, Middleton
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream is known for its award-winning deep, rich Zanzibar Chocolate and This $&@! Just Got Serious, a salted caramel ice cream folded with a melt-in-your-mouth sea salt fudge ripple and cashews. “In addition to those sought-after staples, this year, the ice cream makers also blended limited-time-only single batches of Burnt Butterscotch, a perfected ice cream version of the nostalgic treat, and #BasicBean, a caramel ice cream loaded with espresso-steeped chocolate ripples and chocolate covered espresso flakes,” says sales director Rebecca Stoffs. These special treats are available to enjoy now, but don’t wait! They may not be around forever
“Fifth Scoop Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts began as a fun challenge to create a truly fantastic vegan ice cream for a friend who cannot eat dairy,” says proprietress Ellen Coatney. “Now we provide a variety of vegan and gluten-free flavors at farmers markets and events across the Madison area. We also recently expanded our offerings to include ice cream sandwiches for a refreshing summer treat.” The custom blend of coconut and oat milks provide a creamy base for chewy cookie mix-ins, fresh fruit swirls and everything in between—including an ambrosial Strawberry Shortcake with real strawberry slices and spongy morsels. Visit Coatney and her crew at the Monroe Street Farmers’ Market on Sundays to purchase or at a local pop-up. (Upcoming vending sites can be found under the Find Us tab on the brand’s website).
“We are making ice cream six out of the seven days a week this time of year. This means there’s a good chance when you get scooped at The Pearl, you’re eating ice cream that was made fresh within days!” says shop manager Dani Peterslie. Rotating summer flavors include Key Lime Crunch, Summer S’mores, Cirque du SoLemon and, a favorite, Banana Blondie (banana ice cream with generous heaps of pureed banana, chocolate chips and crushed Blonde Oreos). Keep an eye out for a couple new features in addition to these staples to be released throughout 2021. Fun fact: President Biden ordered a scoop of strawberry and cookies and cream during a recent visit to The Pearl!
Fond du Lac
Enjoy your treat in a rocker overlooking the cows that produced the milk on this dairy farm. “Each day 20 to 25 flavors of Kelley Country Creamery’s old-fashioned premium ice cream are displayed to tantalize taste buds,” says co-owner Karen Kelley. Frequently visitors’ faves are Key Lime Cheesecake, Peach, Raspberry Lemonade, Mango or Pina Colada. And the “Specialty Sundaes” are another big draw with names like Slow Moving Vehicle (Turtle), Farmer’s Wife or the Campfire Pit. “Our homemade ice cream cookies sandwiches are handcrafted in our kitchen and topped with our delicious ice cream. Ice cream cakes are a big hit for all occasions,” says Kelley. Also don’t miss the Sunflowers Taking Flight event happening July 28 to August 15 during peak blooming season. Fresh sunflowers grown on-site and T-shirts will also be available for purchase by donation on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This past spring, Purple Door Ice Cream introduced its vegan “ice cream” pints. Made with coconut milk, vegan flavors have been a request from customers for years. Vegan pint options include Dark Chocolate, Cold Brew Coffee (made w with Anodyne Coffee), Peach Raspberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch, Purple Moon and Door County Cherry Crisp. Its new vegan line is available at all Purple Door locations, plus select area grocers. “Also this summer, we are hosting Fantastic Flavors and Where to Find Them—a flavor passport challenge to sample 50 unique/specific flavors by Sept. 6,” says co-owner Lauren Schultz. “Pick-up your flavor passport at any Purple Door scoop shop.”