Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: update – a visit to NYC

If you live in New York City, as I do, you put up with a number of negatives, but these are more than offset by a lot of positives…otherwise why would we choose to live here? When I want to crawl into a hole and hide from subway riders who think a subway car is the appropriate place to clip their nails or apply their make-up (sure, I’d love to have some of your face powder all over me…NOT) or I want to run from the garbage bags outside Starbucks in the summer months (milk cartons plus 95 degree temperature does not remind one of roses), I remind myself that for every challenging incident, there are numerous world class museums, restaurants, shops, and parks, and they in turn, drawn visits from friends who live far away.

A recent visit from Jeni Britton Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream fame, is another reminder of what a draw New York City can be.  The timing could not have better, as I had blogged about Jeni’s only a week before, not having any idea that Jeni herself, along with her ice cream, would soon be visiting my home town. [See previous post, dated September 2, 2012.]

Last week, Jeni and some of her employees, drove an ice cream truck from Ohio to New York City to promote her ice cream.  Over a one week period, her adorable truck was parked outside various specialty food stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn who carry the Jeni’s Splendid brand, and ice cream (or frozen yogurt) was offered at no charge.  I was fortunate to be able to use my lunch break one day to take a short subway ride to one of those locales, and was soon meeting Jeni (delightful), and eating Lemon Blueberry Frozen Yogurt (delicious).   A very productive lunch break indeed.

I offer you photos from that day:

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Splendid Customer Service

My Dad had a milestone birthday recently, and in addition to getting him some gifts that I knew he wanted, I wanted to get him something that would truly be unexpected.  On that note, I ordered seven pints of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and arranged for them to shipped to him in time for the big day.

I decided to post about Jeni’s initially to rave about their excellent customer service, but other reasons to post include:

  1. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream offers some of the most luscious ice cream I have ever tasted.
  2. Many of us will want to buy a gift at least once in our life for that person who says they do not need anything.
  3. Even if you never order directly from Jeni’s, you should not miss out on the experience of trying their ice cream.  Luckily for us, Jeni’s came out with a cookbook in 2011 and you can try making their ice cream at home.  [I have the cookbook and started with their signature Salty Caramel.]
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is a Columbus, Ohio based company, and is the brainchild of founder Jeni Britton Bauer, who uses grass-fed milk and cream and other locally sourced ingredients as much as possible.  The first Jeni’s opened ten years ago and now there are nine locations in Ohio and two in Nashville, Tennessee.  In NYC, where I live, there are even a number of upmarket specialty food stores that carry some of Jeni’s flavors.

Having made the ice cream at home last year, and being very impressed by the unique method which allows for a a very creamy textured product, not to mention delicious flavor combinations, I was thrilled when I discovered this summer that Jeni’s has a mail order option.

I called Jeni’s customer service number a few weeks before my Dad’s birthday and spoke with the most delightful woman.  She was friendly and very helpful in guiding me in my flavor selection.  We ended up deciding on a variety that included signature ice cream flavors, a perennial flavor, and a sorbet.  I was able to select the exact date that I wanted the order to be delivered on.  Added bonus: the shipment would be sent with dry ice and by choosing UPS Ground, they could guarantee two day delivery for the zip code I provided, all for shipping fees that were less than $13.  The ice cream itself, at $12 per pint, is not inexpensive, but the shipping fees certainly were.  For those of you who might be thinking that $12 per pint is steep, having made the ice cream myself, and also using top quality ingredients, and knowing the steps involved to get it just right, the price does not seem unreasonable.  [Note: if you need overnight delivery, shipping costs will naturally be higher than with Ground.}

My Dad’s package arrived as promised, in a well-packed box, that included an attractive ice cream-themed watercolor print.  The dry ice kept the ice cream very hard…even after two days on the road.  In fact, your home freezer is not as cold as the dry ice.  Luckily for me, I went to visit my Dad, and was able to try all seven flavors (well, someone had to do it, I was doing research after all): Ugandan Vanilla Bean, Salty Caramel, Black Coffee, Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk, Cherry Lambic Sorbet, Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry, and Juniper and Lemon Curd.  I loved them all, but if I had to choose my top three, it would be the Cherry Lambic, Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry, and the Juniper and Lemon Curd.  In addition to the creamy, smooth texture found for all flavors, the intense natural fruit flavors were especially exciting to my palate.

Here’s a photo of my sampler bowl:

When I ordered the pints, knowing I would be visiting my Dad, I also ordered some empty containers (and labels) for myself to be included in the same shipment, to use when I make ice cream at home.  Unfortunately, the containers did not make it into my Dad’s shipment.  When I contacted Jeni’s customer service, they were very apologetic.  I explained that I would need for the containers to be sent to my NYC address as I would no longer be visiting my Dad when the new shipment arrived.  That was not a problem and a few days later I received my shipment.

To sum it up, if you ever need to give a special gift to someone, or if that special person is yourself, know that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is an option…a splendid one indeed.