Enter Ashlee Olds with her Sweet Science Ice Cream, and I think I have just found the ice cream of my dreams.
The first time I learned of Ashlee Olds and Sweet Science Ice Cream was through the Pioneer Press. They did a feature about her, and I was hooked. I hadn't even tried her ice cream yet. I contacted Ashlee, and she invited me to try a tasting. One Saturday each month, Sweet Science hosts a tasting to try all the flavors available. You can purchase and leave with your favorite flavors.
As we stood in line at the tasting waiting for our samples, I thought this can't be that different from anything I ate this past summer. I tried a lot of different ice cream, people, so I know ice cream. Soon it was our turn, and our first sample was Olive Oil.
Yes, you heard that right....Olive Oil. Even though I am still unable to wrap my head around the flavor, I was blown away by the texture. I have never had ice cream as creamy and smooth as this bite. I was eager to continue. The next flavor was Pear Reisling Sorbet. With one bite you are tasting summer in your mouth. Being that it was a cold January day in Minnesota, summer was more than welcome. She had 16 different flavors including chocolate (dark smooth chocolate), peanut butter chocolate (enough peanut butter that it wasn't vanilla ice cream but smooth and light enough that you didn't feel like you slogging your way through a spoonful of pure peanut butter), root beer float (refreshing and even a bit sparkly in your nose), and salted caramel (eating a caramel out of the wrapper). She was featuring vanilla mint square and eggnog.
The flavor that surprised me the most was the vanilla. It was incredible with a rich flavor that didn't require a topping. I could have eaten the entire container of vanilla--and I'm a chocolate girl.
What makes Sweet Science so special (ahhh, alliteration) is the effort Ashlee puts into the product. Everything is organic. Nothing is added that cannot be pronounced. As often as she can, she buys local or at the very least in the USA. She starts with cow's milk. Anything she adds into her flavors is handmade: the streusel in Berry Crumble, the caramel in the salted caramel, the mint squares in vanilla mint square.
Then, the ice cream is churned and churned. It seriously is the smoothest, creamiest ice cream I have ever had. (Have I convinced you of this yet?)
Each pint you buy has been personally created by Ashlee. From shopping for ingredients, to making the sauces and cooking the recipes, from churning the ice cream to filling the pints. Right down to putting the labels on the containers. Each container takes 3 labels. Ashlee does it all on her own.
Now, let me introduce you to this amazing food scientist--Ashlee Olds. Here are some fun facts.
- She was born in Long Island, NY. Her dad played professional hockey and met her mom at a game. How romantic-comedy is that?
- Then, she and her family moved to Europe for a few years. She, however, remembers nothing of that time except a cookie called a toffee waffle.
- They eventually settled in St. Paul, and she has been here ever since. She is proud to call St. Paul home.
- During her time as a Home Organizing Coach, she started creating ice cream, realized her passion for making it, and with the encouragement and support of friends, took the leap in 2010. (she did have some schooling for food science and some experience in the industry, so it wasn't a completely blind leap--but sometimes the leaps where you can see the bottom are the scariest!)
Even in business, she is thoughtful. Included with her different flavors are sorbets for vegans and those with a lactose intolerance. She purposefully created a chocolate for them so they had another choice option besides just the light, fruity flavors usually associated with sorbets.
She also makes everything gluten-free. She handcrafts Sweet Science Ice Cream in a certifiable gluten free kitchen. She figures (and I quote), "Why not? That way it is available for more people to enjoy!"
I am impressed by her confidence and her ability to roll with the punches. She has been able to take most every opportunity and make it work for her business. She not only makes the most incredible ice cream I have had, she is also an inspiration. (I literally listened to her with an open mouth--albeit, it wasn't very attractive).
So now here's the part where I tell you how you can get your hands on Sweet Science.
First of all, the cost. A pint costs $9. I know it seems steep, but you will not need more than one scoop. There is so much flavor, you will be able to stop at just a little bit.
Every Thursday from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm, Ashlee provides an opportunity to purchase directly from her.
The Food Collective Building 865 Pierce Buttler Route Saint Paul, MN 55104
Do not be confused by the Oriental Food and Produce Wholesale sign. Go into that building. Ashlee will be there. I promise. She will be there on Valentine's Day, so this could be the perfect surprise gift for your date. Especially for going into a non-descript building, you will be coming out with the treat of a lifetime!
Also, like I already mentioned, Sweet Science has monthly tastings. The next one is on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in the same location from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm. Bring your kids. They will LOVE it! Mine sure did!
Go out and try some for yourself. You don't have to take my word for it.
"This is definitely the smoothest ice cream I have ever tasted."
"The flavor is so intense."
"Wow! That was so creamy."
Ashlee Olds, creator, founder, chef