Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts in the world, but did you know that it has a long and fascinating history in America? From its humble beginnings as a luxury treat for the elite to its widespread availability and variety today, ice cream has been a part of American culture for over two centuries. In this article, we will explore some of the oldest ice cream parlors in the country and how they have contributed to the evolution of this delicious dessert.
Bassetts Ice Cream: The Oldest Ice Cream Parlor in America
Bassetts Ice Cream, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the oldest ice cream parlor in America. It was founded in 1861 by Lewis Dubois Bassett, a Quaker schoolteacher who started making ice cream in his backyard using a mule-powered churn. He sold his ice cream at local markets and later opened his first retail store in 1885. In 1892, he moved his shop to the Reading Terminal Market, where it still stands today.
Bassetts Ice Cream is still family-owned and operated by the sixth generation of the Bassett family. It uses recipes that have been handed down through generations and offers over 40 flavors of ice cream, including classics like vanilla and chocolate, as well as unique creations like Guatemalan Ripple and Pomegranate Blueberry Chunk. Bassetts Ice Cream is more than just an ice cream parlor; it is a landmark that represents the tradition and innovation of American ice cream.
Fentons Creamery: The Home of Rocky Road
Fentons Creamery, founded in 1894 by E.S. Fenton in Oakland, California, is one of the oldest and most beloved ice cream parlors in the country. It is famous for its sundaes, banana splits, and richly crafted ice creams, especially Rocky Road, which was invented by Melvin Fenton, the founder’s grandson, in 1929. Rocky Road consists of chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and nuts, and is one of the most popular flavors in America.
Fentons Creamery has changed ownership throughout the years, but has always maintained its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. It offers 16 daily flavors of ice cream, gelato, sorbetto, and frozen yogurt, as well as sandwiches and salads. It also ships its ice cream nationwide and allows customers to create their own custom flavors online. Fentons Creamery is a place where generations of families and friends can enjoy a sweet treat and a slice of history.
Goolrick’s Pharmacy: The Oldest Soda Fountain in America
Goolrick’s Pharmacy, established in 1897 by Charles Goolrick in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is the oldest soda fountain in America. Soda fountains were popular places where people could enjoy carbonated beverages and desserts like ice cream sodas and sundaes. They were often located inside pharmacies, as soda water was believed to have medicinal properties. Goolrick’s Pharmacy was one of these places, where customers could get their prescriptions filled and also indulge in a refreshing drink or snack.
Goolrick’s Pharmacy still operates as a pharmacy today, but also preserves its soda fountain heritage. It serves classic sodas like root beer and cherry coke, as well as milkshakes, floats, malts, and ice cream cones. It also features a vintage decor with marble countertops, wooden stools, and antique signs. Goolrick’s Pharmacy is a place where you can experience the nostalgia and charm of an old-fashioned soda fountain.
Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum: A Time Capsule of Ice Cream History
Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum, opened in 1900 by three Greek brothers in Columbus, Indiana, is a time capsule of ice cream history. It showcases the original architecture and furnishings of the early 20th century, including stained glass windows, mahogany booths, marble floors, and Tiffany lamps. It also displays a collection of antique ice cream machines, soda fountains, syrup dispensers, and musical instruments.
Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum serves homemade ice cream made with fresh ingredients and natural flavors. It offers over 20 flavors of ice cream, including seasonal specialties like pumpkin pie and eggnog. It also serves sodas made with pure cane sugar syrup and fountain water from its own well. Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum is a place where you can enjoy a delicious dessert while learning about the history and culture of ice cream.
Angelo Brocato: The Italian Influence on American Ice Cream
Angelo Brocato, founded in 1905 by Angelo Brocato Sr., an immigrant from Sicily, Italy, in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the oldest Italian ice cream parlors in America. It reflects the influence of Italian immigrants on American ice cream culture, introducing flavors like pistachio, hazelnut, tiramisu, and spumoni. It also specializes in gelato, a type of ice cream that is denser and creamier than regular ice cream, and sorbetto, a frozen dessert made with fruit and water.
Angelo Brocato still operates as a family business today, run by the third and fourth generations of the Brocato family. It makes its ice cream and other products from scratch using original recipes and equipment. It also offers a variety of pastries, cookies, cakes, and candies, many of which are based on traditional Italian desserts. Angelo Brocato is a place where you can savor the flavors and craftsmanship of Italian ice cream.