There's nothing quite like an ice-cold treat on a hot summer day, and this town will soon be serving up plenty of both. Chances are that you have your favorite neighborhood ice-cream haunt, as well as a couple places worth a leisurely evening drive. But maybe you're in the market for a new spot? Or perhaps you're interested in exploring frozen alternatives beyond ice cream? I thought that might be the case, which is why I traipsed around Rochester and risked a case of chronic brain freeze in order to bring you the scoop on some luscious new options.
When Jennifer Posey and Zahra Langford moved Hedonist Artisan Chocolates to its lovely new South Avenue storefront, they found themselves blessed with an abundance of space. So, after kicking around a couple of ideas, they settled on Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream. "We can incorporate the ingredients we love," Posey says, and the synergy between Hedonist's confections and its ice cream is unmistakable. The dark-chocolate sorbet, for instance, is intense (and dairy-free), while the sublime whiskey-fig ice cream, which incorporates little bits of goat cheese, smacks of the same inventive decadence that inspires Hedonist's truffles.
Hedonist sources local ingredients from purveyors like Pittsford Farms Dairy and Hurd Orchards, keeping a seasonal rotation of eight ice creams and sorbets priced at $4 a scoop. (Pints are available for $10, quarts for $16.) Yet as satisfying as the flavors are on their own, Hedonist also offers an array of lily-gilding toppings (an additional 25 cents to 75 cents). Drizzle some gloriously boozy bourbon caramel over that whiskey fig, or add some crunch to the juicy strawberry ice cream with a scattering of waffle cone flakes. Or — wait. You'll figure it out.
Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream is located at 672 South Ave. It is open Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m. For more information, call 461-2815 or visit hedonisticecream.com.
It's tough for parents who want to indulge tiny sweet teeth, but find that their choices are loaded with food coloring and high-fructose corn syrup. That dearth of healthy summertime treats is what prompted Jessica and Michael Toner's year-old Snow Daze. Housed in an adorably revamped 1964 Shasta camper, Snow Daze serves up fluffy shaved ice splashed with a choice of syrups made from fresh local fruit and organic evaporated cane juice; cones cost $4 apiece. The local growing season dictates the flavors. June constants include tart cherry and Concord grape, with strawberry-rhubarb and watermelon-hibiscus in the rotation as well.
Between raising young twins and working for her father's Flour City Pasta (plus, of course, shaving ice), Jessica Toner finds time to add to Snow Daze's repertoire by putting its all-natural syrups to other uses, with new offerings such as 10-ounce sodas ($2), along with to-go liters for guiltless home indulgence. (Toner is also busy testing recipes for Snow Daze's upcoming line of frozen pops.) Oh, and Snow Daze is also available for private events if you'd like your next party to be cool, both literally and figuratively.
Snow Daze can be found Thursdays 4-7 p.m. at the South Wedge Farmers' Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Object Maker's Lot by the Public Market, and Sundays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Brighton Farmers' Market. For more information, call 248-2974 or visit facebook.com/roccitysnowdaze.
When Amber Odhner and Cate Augustine of Eat Me Ice Cream Sandwiches threw an old-fashioned ice-cream social last month, everyone in attendance received schooling on how to properly push an envelope. Delicious seasonal flavors like lilac and asparagus shared the stage with a refreshing strawberry-rhubarb sorbet, as well as a subtly spicy orange-curry ice cream that Odhner reports will be soon making an appearance at local farm markets between a pair of freshly baked cookies.
The idea behind Eat Me is to offer one type of sandwich each week for $3.50, featuring small-batch ice cream plus two harmonious cookies, made in both dairy and vegan-friendly coconut-milk versions. Future creations are scheduled to include sweet-corn ice cream and candied jalapeño shortbread, as well as classic vanilla bean alongside chocolate-chip cookies. Also available from Eat Me, which operates as part of the Small World Food Collective, is a 12-week summer-ice-cream share for $75, consisting of one imaginatively yummy pint every week made from local, organic products. Only daring palates need apply.
Eat Me Ice Cream Sandwiches can be found Thursdays 4-7 p.m. at the South Wedge Farmers' Market, Saturdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Public Market, Sundays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Brighton Farmers' Market, and Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. at the Monroe Village Farmers' Market beginning June 13. For more information, visit facebook.com/eatmeicecream.
The astonishing variety at YoTality, Pittsford's new frozen-yogurt spot, is almost enough to distract you from the brilliant simplicity of its self-serve execution, which puts you in complete control of your experience. Choose from 12 rotating flavors, such as cake batter or sea-salt caramel pretzel, toppings that run the gamut from gummy bears to fresh blackberries to toasted flax seed, and traditional sauces like marshmallow and chocolate. Then bring it to the weigh station and pay 52 cents an ounce for however much or however little you decided upon. Next, enjoy.
YoTality is the brainchild of Gene and Suzy O'Donovan, founders of Montana Mills Bread Company and Pittsford parents of three who developed YoTality with wholesome eating habits in mind. The frozen yogurts — there are currently about 40 in play, with more on deck — are all kosher, either low- or non-fat, and occasionally sugar-free, meaning that you can afford to get a little naughty with add-ons like M&Ms and brownie pieces. Or you can keep it nice thanks to a variety of fresh fruits, nuts, and grains, which, when paired with YoTality's plain Euro Tart, make you feel like the world's healthiest person. So go ahead and tuck a couple of Butterfinger chunks at the bottom... you know, for dessert.
YoTality is located at 6 S. Main St., Pittsford. It is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. For more information, call 967-3938 or visit yotality.com.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.