Summer in our slice of heaven that we call the Wood River Valley means warm weather, blue skies and days that stretch into twilight long past the kids’ bedtime. And nothing heralds summer like a scoop (or two) of artisanal ice cream! Here’s a sampling of what’s out there.
A Gelato-Style Treat
A self-professed “ice cream addict,” Toni Bogue used to daydream as a child about leaving anonymous gifts of ice cream on her neighbors’ doorsteps. As an owner of Toni’s Ice Cream, she creates ice cream that is a gift to the palate: extremely smooth and creamy, as well as lower in fat and sugar than many house-crafted creams. Bogue says this is due to a European gelato technique that uses less cream and more milk. She cooks the mixture longer so it emulsifies without starch fillers, or chemistry on the back end, as Bogue puts it. She uses non-GMO milk and cream that is also rBST-free.
Favorite flavors include salted caramel and Toni’s Bon Bons: vanilla rounds coated with dark chocolate and a surprise caramel filling in the center. Adventurous flavors include honey chamomile, vanilla and olive oil, and carrot cashew brittle, made with heirloom carrots caramelized in local honey. This season, she’ll introduce high-end popsicles with flavors such as cantaloupe, coconut mojito and watermelon.
Toni’s Ice Cream is available at markets and restaurants throughout the Valley. One can also find Toni herself peddling her ice cream bike (with freezer) in Hailey during Fourth of July festivities and in Ketchum during International Ice Cream Day, the third Sunday in July.
Ice Cream with a Cause
LeRoy’s Ice Cream Fact of the Day: It takes an average of 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone! Located on the Town Square in Ketchum, and with plenty of benches around the square, LeRoy’s is the place to see and be seen. The scoops are huge, but you can also ask for one scoop made up of two flavors. LeRoy’s is a nonprofit that donates its profits to local kids’ organizations. So, while you’re basking in ice cream nirvana, you can also have the pleasure of knowing your purchase is helping to make a child’s life a little better.
An Old-Fashioned Parlor
The retro-inspired A la Mode in the Sun Valley Village is a child’s sweet dream! (Okay, those of us who are young at heart will appreciate it, too!) One satisfied customer on Trip Advisor said: “If you’re an ice cream fan, this is the place for you! You can pretty much order any ice cream concoction you can imagine!” Try the huckleberry flavor, a root beer float or splurge on an eye-popping sundae. A la Mode also offers six flavors of gourmet hot chocolate—perfect for those cool summer nights as you stroll around the Village. Or ride your bike over with the kids.
Lawrence Loves It
Ice cream aficionados in Hailey don’t have to travel up-valley to savor an artisanal scoop or two: Yellow Belly Ice Cream is located near the corner of Main and Croy streets, and is open year-round. Why Yellow Belly? “We named it after the yellow-bellied Western meadowlark,” laughed owner Lacie Hernandez. “The bird on our logo is called Lawrence and kids love him!” Hernandez rotates the flavors she makes in-house: salted caramel, fresh mint chip, toasted coconut with pecans, honey ginger snap, honey lavender (with locally sourced 5B Hive honey) and, of course, vanilla. One of her favorites is lemon blueberry frozen yogurt, made from Nancy’s organic yogurt infused with lemon oil and fresh poached blueberries. If you don’t see the flavor you want in the scoop case, chances are it’s available in a pint.
Hernandez began hand-cranking ice cream as a little girl with her grandfather. Today, she makes small batches of addictive ice cream with a higher fat content, which creates a dense cream with very little air. Her milk products come from Cloverleaf Dairy, located in Buhl, and she sources locally and organic when she can. In June, she’ll open Stanley Scoops at 615 Ace of Diamonds Street in Stanley.