On June 11 I attended an event at Purple Door Ice Cream in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Every two years or so, they try out a bunch of new flavors, and sell tickets so people can sample them and then vote for their favorite. For $10 (in advance: $12 day of) you get 12 tickets and a voting card. Turn in a ticket to try a flavor, and at the end put your voting card in the bucket for the flavor of your choice, then hope for the best. Simple.
I tried each of the twelve flavors — suffering for the benefit of my fellow humans. The event was held just outside of the shop on a small side street closed off for the day, and several awnings were set up to keep the ice cream and the staff out of the blazing sun. It was indeed quite warm — 94 Fahrenheit by my car’s reckoning — and the ice cream was melting quickly. Luckily, the samples were small portions, consisting of a small scoop (two or three bites) on tiny wafer cones, so a diligent ice cream eater such as myself could usually get ahead of the melting issues in short order.
Blended Berry Hibiscus Sorbet — A lovely blend of fruit flavors. I ate this one last, and though it was flavorful, it didn’t seem particularly special.
Brandy and Cornflakes — The brandy flavor was there in the first bite, but faded immediately. Being from Wisconsin, I enjoy a good Brandy Old-Fashioned now and again, so I was predisposed to like this one. Soggy cornflakes are no treat however, and I don’t see a way around that issue, save for sprinkling them over the top just before serving instead of blending them into the mix. Disappointing.
Cannoli The flavor of cannoli — one of my all-time favorite desserts — was subtle, and faded quickly. Also disappointing.
Earl Grey with Biscuit Bits — I don’t believe anyone in our group actually got biscuit bits in their samples. The Earl Grey flavor was nice but subtle and sustained itself well.
Glogg (mulled wine) — This was my first choice for favorite. The flavor was strong but not overpowering, and sustained itself through the last bite. Also, I like mulled wine anyway, so bonus points.
Milk Chocolate with Fairy Food — There is a special place in hell reserved for the inventor of Fairy Food, and while the flavor was present, it was an undertone, mostly overwhelmed by the rich, chocolate flavor. No actual Fairy Food bits were present in my sample, thank goodness.
Mint Chip Cookie Dough — Yup, that’s what it was, alright. Delicious, but not particularly outstanding. Less cookie dough, more (a LOT more) mint and chocolate chips.
Oatmeal Scotchie — Strong butterscotch flavor and oatmeal cookie bits had this as my second favorite choice by the slimmest of margins.
Orange Cake — Meh. Orange enough, but cake flavor was overwhelmed, and no bits were present in my sample. It was fine, but not special.
Rootbeer — I was predisposed to like this anyway, made as it was with local Sprecher Root Beer, which is one of my favorite brands. Flavor was strong and sustained, and I ranked it third among my favorites.
Salted Pink Graperfruit — Kudos to Purple Door: this flavor captured perfectly the taste of a salted grapefruit. Sadly, that’s not something I enjoy.
Sriracha — Despite the fact that this is not a flavor of ice cream I am likely to ever order (savory ice creams are not my thing. I still cringe thinking about the salmon ice cream some enterprising chef produced on an episode of Iron Chef), I must give the Purple Door Mad Scientists a HUGE thumbs up on this one. They captured the flavor of a pepper perfectly, and the burn was small but present. I enjoy spicy foods, so I wasn’t intimidated by this flavor, unlike many of the other tasters in the crowd.
And the winner is:
I was disappointed my #1 choice didn’t win, but it’s still an excellent option, so I’m satisfied. It was a lovely afternoon out with friends, and we relaxed afterwards with some delicious lunch at the Black Sheep, just across the street. We were disappointed that it was so hot: we’d intended to go to Milwaukee’s Pride Festival, but poor Tracy’s face was red just from the hour or so were were sampling ice cream, so we had to opt out.
If you’re ever in the Milwaukee area, Purple Door Ice Cream is well worth your time, plus they sell their delicious concoctions by the pint to enjoy at home. Stop in a try one of their many flavors and report back on how it was!