Friday, March 19, 2010

Handel's Ice Cream, An Ohio Tradition and My Personal Favorite

My mom ordering her two scoops at the window

Handel's Ice Cream is some of the best food you'll ever eat in your life. It's mostly found in Youngstown, Ohio, and surrounding areas, but there is one West Coast location in Southern California. On a recent trip to Palm Desert, my mom and I stopped at that one California location, in Upland, about 45 minutes from Los Angeles. We couldn't miss the chance to eat here! My mom is from Youngstown and grew up eating this stuff. There's something about the creamy, soft texture of Handel's that can't be beat, and it's made on the premises. I've visited Youngstown for family reunions and we've been known to stop at Handel's 5 times in 2 days, and other crazy ratios like that. Do the math; that's a LOT of ice cream. Plus we'll get two or three scoops at a time.

My Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk and Mocha Almond Fudge Ripple

My mom's Praline Pecan and Chocolate Malt with Caramel

We are so grateful for this one California location, even if it is not just up the road. In fact, my parents once drove down to LA from the Bay Area to visit and made a trip to Upland to get ice cream. But they didn't just eat there; they went to Albertson's across the street, bought an ice chest and dry ice, then purchased several pints of Handel's to drive all the way back up the state. Now that's true love.

The Upland, CA, location

Handel's ice cream shops always have a window where you order from the street, and then the server gets your scoop from one of the many freezer bins inside the shop. All seating is outside. The servers let you taste samples galore and they don't skimp on scoop sizes. Plus, they're just really friendly people.

At the outdoor ordering window

Handel's was invented in 1945 by Alice Handel in Youngstown, Ohio, and today is headquartered in Canfield, Ohio. USA Today, Chocolatier Magazine, and all named Handel's one of the best ice creams in America, and National Geographic named it #1! I feel like a proud mother.

Inside the shop, where only employees go,
the ice cream girl scoops our ice cream from freezer bins

If you don't live near one of the Handel's locations, you can have it shipped, though there's a hefty price tag for the care required to mail ice cream. I think I heard somewhere that Bill Cosby gets it shipped. If I had the budget for $90 pints of ice cream, I'd do it, too.

The classic Handel's blue bench!

Handel's offers dozens of flavors and they are often flavors you've never seen anywhere else. Some of my absolute favorites are Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Malt with Caramel, Buckeye, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk, Graham Central Station, Coconut Creme Pie, Spouse Like a House, and Heavenly Hash.

The flavor menu

When my mom and I were at the Upland location for this most recent Handel's experience, we tried to stuff our faces full of scoops. We each ordered two scoops to start. My mom got Chocolate Malt with Caramel and Praline Pecan. I got Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk and Mocha Almond Fudge Ripple. We sat in our car to eat since there is no indoor seating and it was cold and rainy outside. When we had both licked our bowls clean, there was this funny moment of silence and then we turned to each other, lifted an eyebrow, and non-verbally communicated to each other, "Well, can you fit another scoop or two into your tummy?" We both were so stuffed we didn't end up going back for more, and we were pretty disappointed in our low threshold.

But there's another family reunion in Youngstown, Ohio, coming up in May. So I'm going to need to organize another trip to the Upland location to work on increasing my tolerance level for several scoops in a short period of time to be ready for Youngstown! There's no such thing as moderation in this plan! Ice cream overload or bust! Come to think of it, both!

The Details
Upland, CA location
373 South Mountain Ave.
Upland, CA 91786
(909) 946-9077

To find a Midwest location, check the Handel's website.


Mom said...

I love your post! I am ready to go back right this minute. Your close-ups of our ice cream are irresistible. Can't wait for the trip to Youngstown to try all of the other flavors on the menu!!!But if we can't try all of them, maybe we'll need some recommendations on how to prioritize our taste experience... :-)

SinoSoul said...

I've actually drove muh butt out there, looked at the ice cream, and went next door to the pizza parlour instead. Wasn't sure this Handel's was producing the ice cream on premise and thought: man, OH to Upland is a LONG way to ship ice cream. Insights?

Marni said...

Mom - I can't wait to "practice" more Handel's-gourging with you!

SinoSoul - NO way! Say it ain't so! You did not get pizza instead of Handel's!! Yes, it is made on the premises. The ice cream is extremely fresh and amazing. You will LOVE it.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I've shopped at the Albertson's right there and had no idea Handel's was so special. Those flavors sound awesome. Too bad I'm never in the area anymore.

Anonymous said...

You HAVE to be a great person - photos of your cute mom with delicious ice cream! A++

it was great meeting you at TECHMunch.

Unknown said...

looks delicious! now, does a $20 bill come with the ice cream purchase as it appears to have in the photo of your mom's ice cream?? :)

shopeatsleep said...

Chocolate malt with caramel?? Yes, please!

Carolyn Jung said...

There's a flavor called "Spouse Like A House''???? I LOVE it! OK, I must ask the obvious question: What the heck is in that one? Or is the answer: "Everything you can think of!'' ;)

Anonymous said...

Marni, I'm an occasional reader of your wonderful blog and I thought of you when I saw the follwing blog posting from another food writer. Keep up the great work!

"So the recipe for no-knead bread in last week's Tribune doesn't actually say 'remove dough from towel before cooking,' so it appears I may be responsible for a few dozen incinerated tea towels around town. Seriously, three people have emailed questions along those lines. So yes, remove the towel from the bread before BAKING IT FOR 45 MINUTES. Failure to do this will cause a fire. Also, shut the oven door after placing the pot inside – I left that out too."
<a href=">People freaing kill me!</a>

Anonymous said...

The HTML link didn't work, so just paste this into your browser:

Diane San Marco said...

Hi, I am a friend of the owners of the Handel's ice cream in Upland and they take great pride in the ice cream they serve , which they do make on site and i've seen them make it first hand :) whoever has not tried this ice cream is for sure missing out ... the creamy texture just melts in your mouth , just like the picture of Marni's cup shows .. so if you have not tried this ,, your need to run down there and get some it's mouth watering really is that amazing ... enjoy :)Diane San Marco

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