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    Eat & Swig

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    Photos by Jessica Ebelhar

    Darryl Goodner, co-owner of Louisville Cream, had joked since his days at Waggener High School that he was going to open an ice cream shop. “It was going to be called Float Your Boat,” says Goodner, now in his early 30s.

    Scoops of strawberry and pistachio ice cream topped with an animal cracker from Louisville Cream.

    Though his Louisville Cream storefront on East Market Street opened just a year ago, the name already feels like a brand that has been around forever, partly due to many collaborations: ice cream made with Against the Grain’s 70K imperial milk stout, espresso ice cream with Heine Brothers’ beans, Bourbon and Smoke ice cream with Rabbit Hole’s bourbon. Looking at the brick interior, sleek counter and cone-shaped neon sign, you’d never guess that the space, formerly a catering kitchen, was bare when Goodner took it over. He and his partners did most of the renovation themselves. “It looked bombed-out,” Goodner says. “No floor, no electricity, no HVAC.”

    Since its start as a small cart at the Flea Off Market, Louisville Cream has continued to produce some of the city’s most inventive flavors, from Blood Orange Meringue Pie to Avocado Mole to Cayenne Honey Butter. Each flavor experiment usually contains a mouthful of a name: Homemade Biscuits and Jam, Lavender Honey Vanilla, Brandy Cherry Smoked Almond. How would you like a scoop of apple-butter ice cream with pieces of duck-fat oatmeal cookies and bourbon-cooked apples mixed in? How about ice cream with goat cheese and a balsamic fig jam?

    Unless you’re ordering one of the four mainstays (Vanilla 2 Ways, Salted Butter Caramel, Bourbon Smoked Pecan or Royal Chocolate), what you’ll find on the black menu board in white plastic letters is a surprise. “I have a Google Doc with hundreds and hundreds of flavors,” Goodner says. “The idea is, don’t get attached to anything because there’s always going to be something new.”

     

    Louisville loves brain freezes. Especially recently. It’s becoming difficult to avoid locally owned joints that sell ice cream or frozen fare. There are staples like Dairy Del, Dairy Kastle and Comfy Cow, sure, but several new options have popped up in the last year or so alone. Fountain on Fourth downtown serves alcohol-infused liquid-nitrogen-based scoops. The Arctic Scoop on South Hurstbourne Parkway serves a similar, non-alcoholic version. Cocoberry Pops in Beechmont makes popsicles with fruit. Panchitos in the Highlands and on Preston Highway uses fresh fruit, too. Ehrler’s, a name once synonymous with ice cream in this town, now has a shop on East Main Street.

    Pineapple Upside Down Cake "sno" with cream drizzle from SnoWhat.

    Like Louisville Cream, SnoWhat started at the Flea Off, then became a truck selling shaved ice. It just opened a storefront on Poplar Level Road. Behind the counter sits a large, stainless-steel block-ice shaver, imported from New Orleans to make “sno,” that city’s version of shaved ice. Three blades turn 10-pound ice blocks into fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth sno. “I love shaved ice,” co-owner April Boyd says. “In the summer, I couldn’t even fathom eating ice cream. It’s too hot outside.” SnoWhat plans to purchase a machine to make its own ice blocks, but until then it will continue getting the ice from a place in Elizabethtown.

    The flavor board overwhelms inside the teal-and-white-striped building. It includes artificial nostalgic flavors like Tiger’s Blood (a combination of strawberry, watermelon, and coconut), blue raspberry and green apple, but also makes flavors with fruit. “We make them by what’s in season,” Boyd says. The Fresh Squeezed Orange tastes like a perfectly ripe and juicy orange that’s been hanging out in the freezer. Pineapple chunks top the best-selling Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The cucumber-lime flavor contains small specks of cucumber skin, the lime pulp double-filtered away. “There’s a lot of mashing and straining,” Boyd says. “I always describe it as making jam.”

     

    Andrew Llewellyn owns Liège & Dairy, a “super-premium” (“Not just premium,” he says) ice cream parlor in Holiday Manor. From front door to back wall, a long bench hugs the right side of the all-black shop. Decadent flavors like chocolate cheesecake or the Greatest Scoop on Earth (a pink-vanilla ice cream packed with animal crackers) are pictured on the ready-to-be-rotated menu, which hangs on twine with clothespins.


    Liège & Dairy

    The scoops at Liège & Dairy — pronounced Lee-age, like it’s namesake city in Belgium — are thicker and denser than most. Liège & Dairy whips less air than what’s typical into the six-gallon batches of ice cream produced in an industrial kitchen offsite, then adds chunks of, say, fresh strawberries from Baghdad, Kentucky, or chocolate-chip cookie dough. Llewellyn also makes waffles with a yeasted dough similar to what’s used to make brioche. He kneads in pearls of beet sugar, which has a higher melting point than cane sugar. He says he modeled the recipe after the waffles he consumed summer after summer while racing his bike as a teenager in Belgium. Liège & Dairy’s waffle maker does everything to-order. “It’s a cross between a doughnut, a croissant and a waffle,” Llewellyn says.

    ​Cover photo: Waffle sundaes from Liège & Dairy.

    This originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline "Treat the Heat." To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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