With nominations from our 4,800 Facebook fans and judging help from food blogger (“Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy”) Susan Filson, we set aside our better judgment and headed to five of Sarasota’s ice cream shops to find the best scoop in town.
Anna Maria’s Joe’s Eats and Sweets’ vanilla ice cream was luxuriously smooth, custard-like, and tasted of real vanilla. We tried it in a waffle bowl that was properly crisp. “It was all homemade, and you could tell,” said Filson.
Best Representation of a Classic: Kilwin’s butter pecan ice cream, with big chunks of toasted pecans and deep buttery flavor with just a hint of maple, nearly stole our hearts for the winning title, though we may have been influenced by the tantalizing aroma of sweet treats that enticed us through the door.
Best Specialty Flavor: Abel’s spumoni consists of layers of cherry, pistachio and chocolate ice cream that are peppered with almonds and a blend of candied fruits. “It’s like an Italian pastry, with a cherry on top,” said Filson.
Best Kiddie creation: Tyler’s Homemade Ice Cream’s Creamy Goodness flavor, a whirl of chocolate ice cream, Oreo cookies and marshmallow cream, would send any youngster to heaven.
Best Balance of Flavor: Big Olaf Creamery’s kahlua crunch is the perfect combination of sweet, kahlua-flavored ice cream and salty mocha chips. “Salt always accentuates sweet,” said associate editor Hannah Wallace.
“You mean there are ice cream shops other than Olaf’s?! Who knew?” – Julie Johnson Pauletto in response to our Facebook question about Sarasota’s best ice cream