ASTORIA — From Memorial Day and through Labor Day is an unofficial semi-holiday: ice cream season. Whether it’s ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt or gelato, aficionados of cold confections can satisfy their sweet tooth at several spots along the coast.
Sweet Scoops officially opened July 5, 2016. A little more than a year later, and co-owner Phillip Keuter is still coming up with new flavors daily and churning out more of his “dense and intense” homemade gelato than ever before. Whether it’s experimenting with cream cheese and animal crackers or fresh cantaloupe and orange blossom juice, Keuter is enjoying the creative process of coming up with new, unique flavors.
“I’m not a painter — I’m not an artist. This is the creative thing I get to do and it’s exciting and a lot of fun,” he said during a brief break in between customers on Sunday, July 23.
“I’ve discovered some new recipes that just flip people out. ‘Wow’ is a very common expression.” Some of the latest creations include “Banana Oreo,” “Lemon Cheesecake,” “Blueberry-Cardamon,” “Summer Peach” and “Coconut Almond Joy.” Inspiration often originates from customer requests, including black licorice and bubblegum gelato.
“Not everyone is going to ask for licorice, but those who want it, love it to the max,” Keuter said. Simply watching customer react to flavors is one of his favorite parts of the job and he encourages everyone to sample several before settling. The Oregon Blackberry — often made with local berries — has been the top seller, but new combinations routinely make their way into the display. There are 18 varieties of gelato to choose from daily along with sorbets, milkshakes and Dole Whip Floats, a treat popularized at Disneyland.
Frite & Scoop
Over the past three years, Frite & Scoop, has been a fixture on the Astoria waterfront featuring a French custard and Belgian-style frites. Today owners Kevin and Lisa Malcolm are still putting the same pride and effort into each batch.
“When we started our business three years ago, we knew we didn’t want to offer the standard waffle cone you’d find in any ice cream shop,” co-owner Lisa Malcolm said.
“We pride ourselves on making everything from scratch. We don’t use any pre-mixed bases, or stabilized commercial blends.” Instead heavy cream, whole milk, cane sugar, egg yolks and kosher salt, are gently cooked into a French custard. Next the “mix-ins” such as fresh fruit curds, chocolate, caramel sauce, pecan brittle, toffee or brownies, and others are added. A traditional krumkake batter is used for the cones, a nod to the Scandinavian history in Astoria. The best selling and signature flavor is called “Hokey Pokey,” featuring honeycomb toffee with a sweet cream custard.
“It originated in Australia and New Zealand,” Malcolm said.
“We came across a description of it two years ago, and decided to make our own version. We’ve had many Kiwis and Aussies tell us we make it even better than they do back home.”
While some come to snack on homemade fudge or cotton candy there’s no mistaking the main attraction at Scoopers Market in downtown Long Beach: ice cream. They rely on several vendors including Alpenrose, Umpqua, Tillamook, Cascade Glacier and Dreyer’s Grand, who keep the store stocked with more than 60 flavors.
“We have at least 64 flavors, some aren’t up because we don’t have room,” supervisor Lori Herman said Sunday, July 23. Chocolate and vanilla are the top-selling flavors overall, but mint chocolate chip and cotton candy have emerged as favorite for children. Located a short walk from the Long Beach arch, dozens of people will often descend after a day on the beach, particularly when the weather is hot.
“We can go through a couple three-gallon tubs of the mint chocolate chip or cotton candy in a day — it’s a lot of ice cream!” Herman said.