Most people call it the most wonderful time of the year, but I think it is fair to also label this point in the calendar the sweetest time of the year. Go ahead and try to tell me you are walking by the tray of cookies someone put out in the office without grabbing one or, at the very least, seriously considering one or three? You know you are. We all are.
The sweets are flying fast and furious. Most of us can’t get enough.
Cookies, depending on what kind, I usually manage to avoid. Ice cream? No chance. If you put a seasonal flavor in front of me, I’m taking it down. Casa Blanco is on notice. No ice cream purchases until next year. Fortunately, that doesn’t affect my time out, you know, ‘working’?
These days, we have more options for ice cream and gelato than we ever have in Savannah. I dug up some fabulous seasonal flavors around town the last few weeks. Some, you may know about, a couple you probably don’t. Here’s the list for you to enjoy between now and New Year’s Day should you find yourself in and around downtown Savannah. Keep in mind, this not a ranking. Not at all. Apples, oranges and bowling balls. Just eat ‘em and like ‘em.
River Street Sweets
I was on River Street a little more than normal the last few weeks because of the Tubby’s River Street story, so it allowed me the opportunity to pop in on our friends at River Street Sweets. A lot of people don’t realize that they don’t have their ice cream shipped in from out of town. All of it-over a couple of dozen flavors-are made at their local facility here and then shipped to their outlets, including River Street, City Market and Habersham Village. I’m told the Rocky Road is usually very popular at Christmas time because of the Marshmallows. The Sugar Plum was also good, but the shining beacon on the Savannah waterfront was the Red Velvet Gelato. Yes. Red Velvet Gelato. One of the best scoops I enjoyed all year and a must try.
A little further East on the Riverfront is another tiny gelato shop you should know about. If you are a regular around here, then you know we don’t frequent many chains. That said, there’s a spot that is doing a very nice job with their gelato at the Eastern Wharf development. It’s called Honeysuckle Gelato. It’s a small chain but based here in the South. They are kind of overlooked because development at Eastern Wharf has been a slow roll, but I can tell you their best seasonal flavor is Bananas Foster. Perfectly creamy, almost like a frozen banana pudding, delicious. The one advantage to their location? Parking is a snap. Plenty of spaces available down there and a beautiful view of the Savannah River too.
Doki Doki Ice Creamery
Very much the new kid in town, Doki Doki is brought to you by Southern Cross Hospitality, the same group behind The Collins Quarter, Fitzroy and others. I love the variety they are running through here on the regular. Not sure how I felt about the Blood Orange and Olive Oil gelato they had a few weeks ago, but that’s the beauty of ice cream. If those are your flavor profiles, then yes, it was delicious. I think. The holiday flavors I tried included Sugar Plum, and Ginger Snap, the latter of which offered a perfect throat tickling spice to it. Not too much. Delicious. My favorite, though, was from their soft serve machine. Peppermint-thick and creamy and served with a candy cane. What’s not to love? Keep in mind soft serve flavors turn over quicker than the others. Don’t delay if it’s something you want to try.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
Of course, it’s not a discussion about ice cream in Savannah without a discussion about the granddaddy of them all. Leopold’s Ice Cream on Broughton Street offers a nice variety of seasonal flavors every year. One of them is a winter flavor not necessarily a Christmas flavor. It’s their Hot Cocoa ice cream and it is fantastic. But you don’t have to race down there for that one. You’ll be able to find it easily after January 1.
Among the seasonal flavors that I enjoyed were the vegan chocolate and vegan strawberry. The chocolate was good, but I thought the strawberry was fantastic. I’m told the tartness of the strawberries works better with the coconut milk they use for the ice cream. Makes perfect sense. Delicious. My favorite, though, was the Egg Nog. They’ve been serving it for years, but this was the first time I tried it and I’m in love. So rich and creamy like egg nog should be, but not at all too heavy on the flavoring. Here’s the kicker…I don’t drink egg nog. I don’t like it. Maybe there is an egg nog out there that I might love, but I have yet to find it. This ice cream though? Over the top wonderful and along with the Red Velvet Gelato from River Street Sweets, my two favorites that day. What a day that was.
'Research,' you know. Merry Christmas.