Since July is national ice cream month, two ice cream shops in the Heights spilled the milk on what makes their ice cream special.
Fat Cat Creamery, 1901 N. Shepherd Dr., began because the Heights was absent of an Ice cream shop. Owner Sarah Johnston began making ice cream at home and soon it developed into Fat Cat.
“The thing that sets our ice cream apart that I don’t think everybody realizes is that we make it completely from scratch,” Johnston said, “we get all the eggs from the farm and hand separate them. Our waffle cones—the batter is made completely from scratch, so everything that we do, we make from scratch; we make it from raw ingredients.”
“We pasteurize our own milk; our own base, and that’s the difference between fresh made ice cream and made from scratch,” input Dylan Rodriquez, the ice cream chef and production manager at Fat Cat.
Rodriquez is inspired to create new ice cream flavors from all over the world like Asia and Europe. But he also tries to do modern takes on classic flavors, like whiskey butter pecan, milk chocolate stout, chai tea coconut, and reverse milk and cookies.
They change their seasonal flavors, soft serves, and sundae every month. Salted butter caramel and whiskey butter pecan have become the most popular seasonal flavors. And because they rotate them in and out, customers are often calling inquiring whether or not they have a certain flavor because of how much they love it.
This summer season is pushing out watermelon, berries, and cucumbers, so the flavors at Fat Cat are more likely to reflect what’s fresh on the market.
“We’re really heavily influenced by the seasons,” Rodriquez said, “I just got ahold of sugar cube melon, so I made a bunch of sugar cube melon sorbet.”
A typical batch of ice cream takes about three days starting from the kitchen with nothing to the front of the shop. That means they’re always thinking at least a week ahead and with new flavors, months ahead.
Some of the new flavors to look out for at Fat Cat soon are coconut macadamia nut, stone cold cream Austin, which is caramelized white chocolate ice cream with brownie bits, strawberry ginger beer sorbet, honey toffee ice cream, chocolate banana nut, and more.
Over the Moon, 238 W. 19th Street, has one hundred percent vegan ice cream and toppings. Owner Gretchen Todd began creating her own vegan ice cream at home after she became allergic to dairy a few years ago. She’s been selling juice at farmers markets for eight years, so she was able to add prepacked pints of the ice cream to her offerings. Soon, she was in her first brick and mortar.
“This space became available, and then we moved in here last September after the hurricane. It just kind of evolved naturally,” Todd said.
For the most part reception to vegan ice cream has been great, with a few who are timid to try the dairy-free treat.
“It doesn’t really taste any different [and] it’s pretty simple to make,” Todd said. “We don’t do artificial flavors and colors, so everything is colored with juice or natural products and then we’re trying not to do any gums or binders. That’s the biggest challenge, not using any binders and not having [ice cream] be rock solid, but sugar helps it to keep from icing up.”
Todd is experimenting with sugar-free ice cream, but because sugar is what makes ice cream creamy, they only offer those prepackaged.
Over the moon uses nut milks for the ice cream base and even offers hemp seed milk-based ice cream for people with nut allergies.
“Our most popular flavor is probably coffee, and we have a charcoal lavender marshmallow and the unicorn magic that are popular,” Todd said.
Unicorn magic is a blend of a lot of different fruits, like lime, mango, dragon fruit, blueberry, and more. The product looks a lot like a tie-dyed shirt.
They offer all the normal ice cream shop varieties, like Sundaes, banana splits, and floats. Although they do also offer a kombucha float and a cold brew float.