Summer and ice cream go hand in hand and my Uncle Charlie has made mandatory ice cream stops a ‘thing’. Whether hiking, biking, canoeing or camping, Uncle Charlie builds in a required – and most refreshing – mid-day break. Every August, my dear friend, Amy, and her family make a pilgrimage to Ocean City, NJ. I usually try to visit and last summer (with mandatory ice stops on the brain) I proposed a bit of a challenge. You see, her family had been frequenting (every night!) boardwalk hot spot George’s Candies. Die-hard George’s fans. And when it was presented to the group we venture off boardwalk (blasphemy!) there was a little resistance. Would it be worth it? Could it ever compare? How can we do this to George? With the help of ‘Yelp’ a contender was found. The challenge was set: 2 nights, 2 ice cream parlors, 1 flavor. I couldn’t make it this year but in honor of my friend, her family and for the love of ice cream I give you Gridwalking’s first Ice Cream Challenge.
The Steadfast: George’s Candies – 700 Boardwalk
George’s Candies has been a favored institution on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk since 1954, although, has only been serving homemade, hard ice cream since 2003. They pride themselves on their fresh-baked daily macaroons and in addition to ice cream and candy serve breakfast made to order from their grille. Disclaimer: I would have liked to have added more information regarding the ice cream itself but internet sleuthing did not turn up much more than what is here.
The Contender: TJ’s Ice Cream – 100 E Atlantic Blvd
TJ’s Ice Cream came on the block in 1998 and has grown its assortment to 60 different homemade, hard ice cream flavors (full disclosure: 2 of the 6 flavors we ordered were not available when we went). Chef Marla Pino is the woman behind the flavors for the on-location made, preservative free ice cream. Milk and fruits are sourced locally while the vanilla is from Madagascar and chocolates are from Italy. TJ’s also offers custom ice cream cakes/cupcakes and a variety of other desserts and beverages.
The Challenge: Battle of the Butter Brickle Ice Cream
An on-line article reviewed on our walk to TJ’s suggested if visiting TJ’s, one must try the Butter Brickle. After confirming with my cohorts that George’s also had this flavor, the challenge was set. As I had not been to either location, I, without any hesitation, accepted the task of tasting, comparing and determining the winner of what is now known as the ‘First Ultimate Homemade, Hard Ice Cream Butter Brickle Battle (Battle, Battle, Battle)’.
The Result: And the Winner is…
I have to say that both ice creams I sampled were good – it is ice cream after all! And if I was comparing the whole package the result could have been different. But the FUHHICBBB is all about the flavor. The winner of this challenge was hands down the better Butter Brickle. It had a rich, creamy vanilla base with caramel and brown sugar flavors. Little bits of crunchy treats were tucked in throughout. It was sweet (not the Cold Stone Creamery punch you in the teeth kind of way) and perfectly well-balanced. This ice cream was delicious. The runner up had a good vanilla base but it seemed to be missing all of the Brickle goodness. (I learned while writing this post that Butter Brickle is a toffee ice cream usually with toffee-centered chocolate-covered pieces which are similar to a Heath bar.)
So, as I know you are all salivating… (drum roll)… THE WINNER IS… (more drum roll)… TJ’S ICE CREAM for the win and ultimate Grid Walking blogging bragging rights for their BUTTER BRICKLE ICE CREAM!!!
AHHHHHH!!! WHAT AN UPSET!!! (The crowd goes wild!)
If you have a favorite flavor or spot in Ocean City, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to pass along to Amy and her family!