Kona Ice co-owner Steve Young offers up old-school treats.
Blue ribbon cones
Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack: This chain champions sweet and salty in this addictive combo of vanilla bean ice cream, salty caramel, and fudge-covered potato chips.
Chaps Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream’s Chocolate Fudge Walnut: The slightly bitter walnuts play off of the rich dark chocolate in this indulgent favorite of owner Tony LaBua.
Dips and Sips’ Cherry Oblivion: Magic happens when cherry ice cream meets flakes of chocolate and chunks of cherries.
Arch’s Tree Hugger: When you want your ice cream to qualify as a meal, get this soft-serve low-cal frozen yogurt blended with bananas and granola in a waffle cone and call it breakfast.
Splendora’s Pistachio: Gelato is Italian and there’s no better way to taste la dolce vita than with this classic flavor that all others are measured against.
The sound of summer
The melody of an ice cream truck can whisk you down memory lane as fast as a lick of a Bomb Pop, but this vestige of nostalgia seems to have gone the way of the paperboy and the milkman. Thankfully, there’s still one truck jingling its way around town. Kona Ice dishes up cupfuls of fluffy shaved ice sweetened with your choice of 30 syrups, from pink lemonade to root beer. Check kona-ice.com for routes and a schedule. Downtown-ers looking for an afternoon refresher can find Kona outside the SNL building from 2:30-3:30pm on Wednesdays. You’ll need more than coins to buy one these days, but hey, change happens.
Secrets of an ice cream maker
You’d imagine that with 80 years of family recipes, there’d be a lot of secrets in the Chaps Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream vault. But when we asked owner Tony LaBua what makes his ice cream so darn good, he was more than willing to divulge.
“The only way we know how to make ice cream is with real cream,” says LaBua. “Our stabilizers are all-natural (like carrageenan, which comes from seaweed) and all of our fruit flavors come from 100 percent fruit and fruit purées.” Chaps’ cherries for their Cherry Vanilla come from Bordeaux and are marinated in, you guessed it, wine. And the raisins in holiday favorite Rum Raisin take a boozy bath for 10 days before being added. Knowing that vanilla and chocolate represent 80 percent of our country’s ice cream sales, LaBua uses pure vanilla from Louisiana and a triple Grade A Dutch-processed chocolate imported from Holland.
An undeniable part of Chaps’ charm is its location on the Downtown Mall, which allows for that most wholesome and tasty activity of strolling around with a post-dinner ice cream cone. And, of course, Chaps makes those themselves too, with a touch of almond extract to add another dimension of flavor.
But LaBua feels it’s Chaps’ commitment to its customers that really sets it apart from the competition. “Even after 53 years in Charlottesville, we make no assumptions and take nothing for granted,” says LaBua. “We give good value at a fair price.” That has to be the cherry on top.
Speaking of ice…
Father-daughter team James and Hannah Rucker have opened a Pantheon Popsicle storefront at 1022 Carlton Ave. in Belmont. A City Market staple, Pantheon’s freezer’s stocked with seasonal favorites like lemon molasses, Nelson County Galea melon, Henley’s Orchard nectarine with coconut and chocolate, and the Sonoran Sunset—mint tea, peaches, lemon and lime.