Monday, March 17, 2014

Texas Bucket List: Blue Bell Creamery

As I began to compile my Texas Bucket List three years ago, I asked friends to share with me their favorite activities, events, landmarks, and destinations throughout the state. The recommendations came rolling in, and my list grew and grew…until it became so long that I couldn't look at it without feeling overwhelmed. I decided to prioritize my list based on the number of "don't miss ____" emails, texts, and comments each adventure received, and as a result of this system, visiting the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham quickly skyrocketed to the top of the list.

I must confess that I had little interest in visiting Blue Bell. I'm from Wisconsin - the Dairy State - so 1) I've toured a creamery or two in my day, and 2) Blue Bell ice cream isn't the best I've ever tasted. Yes, Blue Bell ice cream goes down smoothly, but my personal favorite ice cream comes from the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant and Store in Madison, Wisconsin.

I assume that very few people have tasted both brands of ice cream, as Blue Bell ice cream isn't available in the Midwest and Babcock ice cream isn't available in the south, but if you happen to be one of those people, I'd love it if you weighed in on your favorite. Katie, I'm talking to you here.

Will couldn't jump on board the Blue Bell bandwagon either, primarily because of his proclaimed hatred toward all things dairy-based (a mental block left behind by the dairy allergy from which he once suffered), ice cream in particular. Poor boy lives a sad, sad life.

Hallie, on the other hand, loves ice cream of all kinds and begged me to let her "see cows and milk and ice cream and eat so much cookies and cream ice cream because I LOVE cookies and cream ice cream!" Monday morning revolved around a "super fun" speed and agility camp for Will, so I decided that Monday afternoon should include an ice cream adventure for Hallie.

We purchased tickets for the tour, but because Blue Bell was CRAZY busy that day, we found ourselves with more than hour to kill before our tour start time. We browsed the memorabilia, shopped in the gift shop, took pictures with the outdoor decor, and finally enjoyed a dish of ice cream. Hallie devoured Cookies and Cream, I indulged in Mocha Almond Fudge, and Will - in a strange and exciting twist - thoroughly enjoyed Rainbow Sherbert. I'll to teach that kid to love dairy if it's the last thing I do.

After all that, we took the tour. Will found it fascinating. Hallie cried - literally cried - out of boredom. I wanted more ice cream, and to not have to carry Hallie anymore.

All in all, I'm glad we visited this historic Texas destination. I enjoyed learning the history behind the company, watching the ice cream-making process, and of course, my scoop of Mocha Almond Fudge. Oh, it was good. So good. Maybe as good as Babcock's Mocha Macchiato or Berry Alvarez... 

I'm thinking seriously about organizing an ice cream social that would include a blind taste test of Blue Bell and Babcock ice cream. They can ship ice cream, right? Let me know if you want to attend!

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