Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Samples – Orange Blossom Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt, Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, Whole Lemon Sorbet, Queen City Cayenne, Salty Caramel
Trio on a Waffle Cone – Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Roxbury Road
Double on a Waffle Cone – Supermoon, Ultramarine Blue Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt
Although the population of Columbus is much larger than a look at Ohio’s Capital might suggest, a foundation built on The Ohio State University and companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Abercrombie & Fitch as well as Victoria’s Secret seeing the city grow ever since the early 2000s, when it comes to culinary concerns there is really only one name to know when discussing the local dining scene in a global context, the name Jeni Britton Bauer – founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Originally operating out of the North Market as early as 2002, word of her artisan Ice Creams featuring locally sourced high-fat Milk plus a collection of aromatic Oils and Spices slowly seeing the brand grow across the city before taking on markets such as Nashville, Chicago, Charleston and LA, it was just recently that the Beard Award Winning cookbook writer decided to take on trendy Venice where Portland’s Salt & Straw as well as others already have a foothold, the location on Rose Avenue brightly lit with high ceilings plus flavors both new and old that are every bit as good as those from fond memories.
Known as one of the first to focus on all-natural flavorings and old-world technique to create a cadre of flavors embracing ingredients such as Mint from her own Garden or Cayenne infused Chocolate to re-imagine what Ice Cream could be, those familiar with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream will be happy to see that the many of her classics such as Darkest Chocolate, Roxbury Road and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries are still present and accounted for while flavors such as her Black Coffee have seen an upgrade by way of Coffee from Intelligentsia along the way to National acclaim.
No doubt now seeing an unprecedented degree of competition from all sides, the creativity of places like Oddfellows New York, San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe or the aforementioned Salt & Straw all putting out truly excellent product of their own, those looking for truly outlandish ideas will instead find Mrs. Britton Bauer and her team still rooted in ideas that focus on nature and balance, the Orange Blossom Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt a good example that tastes tangy up front with a smooth finish while both the Ultramarine Blue Buttermilk Frozen Yogurt and the Lavender-Vanilla ‘Supermoon’ scoop were equally well conceived, the former a tart blend of Wild Blueberries on an intense Buttermilk background while the later was only lightly floral with the sort of lingering creaminess that speaks of a truly superior quality of Milk.
Freshly baking each Waffle Cone on-site, the high volume on a Saturday around noon seeing the team struggle to keep up with both cones served still warm-to-touch, those looking for something a little less fresh but far more indulgent are encouraged to try Jeni’s Salty Caramel that still ranks as one of the best in its genre while the trio of Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, Brown Butter Almond Brittle and Roxbury Road were all outstanding riffs on classic ideas, the first two particularly noteworthy as both used finely ground ingredients to dial up the texture while still maintaining overall homogeneity while the later makes good use of the smoked Almonds to turn Dark Chocolate, Marshmallows and Caramel into something complex and sometimes savory as opposed to the typical sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet Rocky Road.