By John Stoehr
10:36 AM EST, February 16, 2012
So I got the news that Stop & Shop is going to be offering Graeter’s Ice Cream.
What’s that, you say? Well, my friend, let me count the artery-hardening ways in which you’ll soon be worshiping Graeter’s.
Basically, this is ice cream that’s all cream. Like no air in it. Like a pint of this stuff weighs a pound. Like it’s giving your tongue a tongue bath. Like it’s manna from heaven.
Graeter’s comes from Cincinnati, that city on the frontier, where North meets South, where the Midwest meets Appalachia.
Cincinnati used to be called the Queen of the West, but really, given the fat-content of Graeter’s, or given that it feels like it has a lot of fat in it, it might be more appropriate to note Cincinnati’s other nickname: Porkopolis. But I digress.
Graeter’s is made only two gallons at a time in these things called French pots, and, as you know, things that come from France are sexy even if they’re really from a place named in honor of being a historic hub of hog-dom.
The other thing to know is that it’s not just cream but egg custard, and the mixture is folded ever-so slowly, with layers overlapping layers so there’s no change for pockets of air to get in. And that’s why it’s so creamy and feels fatty even though it’s not really any worse for you than, say, a plate of country ribs. Or lard.
When a press release came announcing that Stop & Shop plans to start carrying Graeter’s in its stores in New England, New York and New Jersey, I heard a sound kind of like angels singing. That was before I read about Oprah.
I think Oprah Winfrey is a nice lady, but she’s out of her element on this one. The press release noted that Oprah’s magazine, O, said Graeter’s was her favorite ice cream. I don’t doubt that’s true, but truly understanding the glory that is Graeter’s one mustn’t treat it as one among many options that one decides is superlative. There are no other options, especially if, like me, you once lived in Cincinnati.
I don’t mean that Cincinnati was devoid of other ice cream. I mean if you had access to Graeter’s, you didn’t think about the others. You were faithful. Tried and true. Like Romeo.
And if, like me, you spent the day filling your head with heady things in graduate school, you later on promptly purged said heady things from your head by knocking back pints at Arlin’s Bar. Later, you wobbled over to Skyline Chili (another Queen City delicacy for another time) to consume cheese coneys and five-ways over beds of spaghetti in great quantity. If you did this, you know the next day demands not the hair of the dog but Graeter’s.
Like I said, Oprah’s a nice lady and all, but I really doubt she can truly, deeply, existentially, metabolically understand Graeter’s.
So! I urge you run – run! – to Stop & Shop. And soon. Graeter’s arrived last week.
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