When you attend an ice cream bowl you really have to prepare in advance. I’m telling you this with the voice of experience.
First: You need to create a gnawing hunger to eat a lot of ice cream – I did this by running four miles earlier in the day and walking to the ice cream bowl.
Second: You need to bring something to carry all the ice cream you grab from the tables. Some people bring muffin tins or tea trays – I brought a stroller.
Third: You need to wear a roomy shirt to disguise how much ice cream you’ve been eating in preparation for the big event, and how much you already ate. Check.
Fourth: You need to prepare yourself for waiting in long lines – I did this by going to Market Basket on Saturday the weekend before. (I kid I kid!)
After that, you’re on your own! But let me give you a little bit of a recap of the event.
Salem’s Ice Cream Bowl is part of their Heritage Days events line up, and is put together by the Salem Main Streets. The $5 entrance fee buys you a ticket with a list of the vendors, a plastic spoon and some napkins. Once you have these things in hand you’re ready to get tasting. This year there were 9 total vendors: Ben and Jerry’s, Captain Dusty’s, Cherry Farm Creamery, Down River Ice Cream, Hobbs, Maria’s Sweet Somethings (Richardsons), Mix 104.1 (Turkey Hill), Rita’s, Treadwells. I managed to make it to five of these before I ran out of gumption and ice cream tasting ability: Ben and Jerry’s, Captain Dusty’s, Maria’s Sweet Somethings, and Treadwells (plus the prepackaged Mix 104.1 Turkey Hill sample).
Since I had gone to the Pizza Competition on Monday, I knew waiting in line would give me time to compare all the ice creams to one another and decide which type I liked best. However, at the pizza competition each pizzeria only brought cheese pizza, at the Ice Cream Bowl, each vendor brought two to three different types of ice cream (though you really only get to choose one). I was surprised how many chose to bring a fruit flavored ice cream and ended up sampling a Raspberry Chocolate Chip from Treadwells, Black Raspberry from Captain Dusty’s, and another fruit flavor from Richardsons (that I already forgot…) Ben and Jerry’s Heath Bar was the only non-fruit flavored ice cream I ended up with.
Of course, there’s still just something quintessentially summer about visiting a roadside ice cream stand and crunching on a sugar cone as the sun goes down just chatting with friends. Which is where you’ll find me – as soon as I’ve digested all my ice cream from Tuesday.
Check out more Ice Cream Reviews of the North Shore here (by Madelene) and stay tuned for more reviews as the summer goes on.