Wise Acre Eatery
For a frozen indulgence of the highest order, consider the frozen custard sampler at Wise Acre Eatery. Chef Beth Fisher packs one custard with tons of vanilla bean, another has a mild cocoa vibe and a third is a changes-weekly flavor. Right now it’s blueberries blended with honey harvested from the restaurant’s McLeod County farm. A meant-to-share warm-weather dessert, priced at $12 for two and $17 for four. (5401 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-2577, www.wiseacreeatery.com).
Green + the Grain
Fro-yo: Been-there, done-that, right? Not at this new food truck, which is serving a light, creamy, snowy-white and unapologetically tangy soft-serve frozen yogurt. It’s a new-to-Minnesota product, Cloud Top, and its tart, clean bite is a welcome change from insipidly sweet fro-yos. They sell the organic product in $4 and $6 cups, topping it with fresh berries and toasted coconut. (www.greenandthegrain.com. @GreenNtheGrain on Twitter).
Nelson’s Ice Cream
The Stillwater landmark has launched a scoop shop at Snelling and Randolph in St. Paul, and the takeaway for the uninitiated is the counter’s bigger-is-definitely-better credo. The child’s portion ($3.50) could probably feed a family of four, and the “triple” ($5.50) very nearly approaches half-gallon status. Seriously. The ice cream? Minnesota-made Kemps. (920 W. Olive St., Stillwater, 651-430-1103 and 454 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-348-8890., www.nelsonsicecream.biz).
The Lake Nokomis destination offers vanilla, chocolate and a twist of the two, and they’re all first-rate. Toppings range from an olive oil-sea salt combo to Cap’n Crunch. While the year-old beachside spot prepares to cut the ribbon on its patio, chef/co-owner Doug Flicker is getting the hang of his latest toy. “I’ve gone to Dairy Queen all my life and it looks so easy, but making a good cone is difficult,” he said. “There’s a certain motion, a certain speed. We have a few savants that nailed it right away. I’m still trying to get it right.” (4955 W. Nokomis Pkwy., Mpls., www.sandcastlempls.com).
Baker/owner John Kraus is living proof that pastry chefs frequently produce spectacular ice creams. Kraus devotes a modest segment of his constantly mobbed bakery to a half-dozen full-bodied ice creams and sorbets ($3.25 per serving), and each is more luscious than the last. The coffee-bourbon sings with a baritone dark-roast throttle, the salted caramel sports the nuance that others in its class rarely approach and the lemon-basil sorbet boasts a concentrated citrus wallop. (4552 Grand Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-3257, www.patisserie46.com).
When buddies Ben Solberg and Erik Powers both received ice cream makers as gifts within weeks of each other, their hobby evolved into a part-time vocation. Their product follows a hyper-rich formula crossed with left-field ingredients: bone marrow, bee pollen, watercress. A recent favorite skillfully pairs tangy buttermilk with ground cherries. Sales are in pints only ($10), with very limited availability: Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. — and the last Saturday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. — at their commissary kitchen. (CityFoodStudio, 3722 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., www.frozbroz.com).
Ashlee Olds is reminding the Twin Cities what ice cream used to taste like before stabilizers, artificial flavors and other “improvements.” A commitment to locally sourced, organically raised ingredients means that handmade Sweet Science ice creams radiate a beguiling simplicity and purity. While well-versed in vanilla, chocolate and other tried-and-true flavors, Olds obviously revels in unorthodox seasonal choices: white chocolate-Earl Grey tea, eggnog, blueberry-sweet corn. Find it in pints ($9) and handy 4-ounce cups ($3) at Verdant Tea. (2111 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., www.sweetscienceicecream.com).