For the past several years, I have spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family in Tucson, Arizona. While it is a big departure from the Thanksgivings of my past (freezing cold weather, sometimes snow, homemade apple pie), I have been enjoying new traditions with the Guzmans (warm weather, family game night, food with serious kick!). And this year, I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and start a new tradition: Thanksgiving week ice cream tasting.
Honoring this tradition takes a bit of strategy. The trick is to build a couple of extra days into the trip and do this in advance of Turkey Day, before the post-dinner guilt sets in.
Downtown Tucson is usually bustling with University of Arizona students, but the neighborhood is eerily quiet the week before Thanksgiving, since all the students have all gone home for the holiday. We have The Screamery on Congress all to ourselves.
This place is one of three ice cream purveyors on the same block, so deciding which one to visit was a challenge. In addition to their good reviews online, The Screamery had me at the big cow sign outside and their delightfully quirky decor inside.
They did not disappoint. Their menu is a long assortment of options, ranging from the traditional to the downright quirky.
After sampling several, my husband and I actually picked exactly the same two flavors to get full scoops of, which is really saying something about these two:
- Sweet Cream Honeycomb – apparently their customer favorite, and it’s easy to see why. A creamy smooth sweet cream vanilla-y base is punctuated with big ribbons of gooey honey. You wouldn’t want too much of this sugary goodness, but it is a really unique sweet treat that shouldn’t be missed.
- Ooey Gooey Buttercake – this is the kind of flavor you could probably find yourself “accidentally” eating a whole pintful of. A super-smooth vanilla ice cream gets the birthday treatment with big soft and chewy bites of buttercream cake.
In the name of research, I convinced my husband to go with two other scoops to give us some more variety for the scoop score exercise. Here’s what he sampled:
- Triple Play – this chocolate base flavor with chocolate chips and chocolate brownies is as chocolatey as it sounds, but is surprisingly not overly rich. Great balance of flavor without the sugar-bomb effect.
- Cowboy Cookie – their yummy sweet cream base gets dressed up with salted caramel and homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I don’t normally love caramel, but in this flavor it serves as just a little extra exclamation point of sweetness.
Altogether, all the flavors we sampled were well balanced and well presented. A lower butterfat content made it less creamy than what you may find elsewhere. But on the plus side, despite how decadent of the flavors are, their lightness helps you feel a bit less guilty. That’s a major plus if you’re going to do this ahead of a big turkey dinner!
Total score: 4.8 scoops