Escape the Texas heat by cooling off with a sweet treat.
Texas has long been feted for its “everything’s bigger” attitude. And although the massive state (only second to Alaska in size) has plenty big boast about—barbecue, oil, and the six flags that have flown over Texas—the small town of Brenham also offers something sweeter: Blue Bell ice cream.
The family owned creamy opened its doors more than a century ago, making butter—not ice cream—from farmers’ excess milk. Call it a penchant for a sweet treat or good old-fashioned ingenuity, but before long, frosty cream was being whipped up in batches, and the decadent dessert was delivered to nearby neighbours by horse and wagon under the blazing Texas sun.
When I took a tour of the Blue Bell creamery last December, it was clear that the company, now named after the diminutive Texas flower (a framed photo of blue bells graces one of the corridors) had kept its homespun roots. The production was ceasing for the day — no round-the-clock production — and workers were taking down the machinery, washing it up, and putting it away until the next day, when production would start all over again.
The last few drops of The Great Divide (homemade vanilla and Dutch chocolate) were being sealed in tubs, and it was time for a sample cup of one of the myriad flavours on offer in the There are the standards you’d expect at any creamery (Neapolitan, Rocky Road, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Peppermint), along with legions of chocolatey confections (Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Mud Pie, Triple Chocolate, Mocha Almond Fudge . . .. But the oddball standouts were concoctions that rotate in and out of season, such as Birthday Cake (with real hunks of cake!), Spiced Pumpkin Pecan, Banana Pudding, and Christmas Cookies.
And just this week, in honour of National Pound Cake Day (March 4), Strawberry Banana Pound Cake was introduced. As you might expect, pound cake chunks are married with strawberries and bananas and swirled into ice cream, creating the ultimate comfort dessert.
Regardless of the range of flavours and Blue Bell’s constant creativity in developing delicious recipes, there’s nothing that matches the all-time flavour favourite: vanilla. And true to form, Blue Bell offers three delicious types. φ