If there was one food that I could eat every day for the rest of my life it would probably be ice cream. Ice cream is happiness, it makes the world go round and in the sunny land of California it is a necessity for the hot summer days when you are window shopping. Last summer I was taken to ice cream nirvana that is known to the world as The Penny Ice Creamery, lovingly referred to as Penny’s. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that this was not home to traditional flavors such as boring old vanilla (my apologies to those who enjoy vanilla), but instead the staff works to present interesting flavor that change every day. Today the menu includes gems such Brown Sugar Oat Walnut and Whiskey Coffee but tomorrow could bring something like Ricota Apricot, or Lemon Blossom. Any crazy ice cream concoction is possible at Penny’s!
Located on Cedar Street in downtown Santa Cruz, the wizards of Penny’s create the ice cream from scratch. FROM SCRATCH. When was the last time you had ice cream made from scratch in a charming little ice cream parlor? If your answer was yesterday then I am insanely jealous of you. In case there was any doubt held about the magic of their creative process then your mind could be set at ease by taking a peak into their open kitchen. The open kitchen and production room can be seen as you stand in line for delicious treats. On trips to the ice creamery I would stare into the big window of the kitchen mesmerized by the work that is put into making the unique ice cream flavors.
The flavors change throughout the season and they make use of organic ingredients from local farms. As licensed pasteurizers with a facility that has been given the seal of approval from the California Department of Food and Agriculture they are not forced to purchase pre-mixed cream base. Instead, they have the freedom to pick and choose what goes into your ice cream which gives them the ability to avoid artificial flavors. The Penny’s Ice Creamery is the only ice cream parlor in Northern California that does this and this could be why they are widely popular with locals as well as tourists. On any given night you can expect a line that comes out of the front door and down the street. Like I said, they are the wizards of ice cream.
The daily flavors are posted on their website as well as their Facebook page and there was rarely a flavor that I tried that I didn’t like. Even though flavors change from day to day popular ones that you can expect if you make a visit are: Tahitian Vanilla Bean (YUM) and Dark Chocolate Sorbet (INCREDIBLE). My personal favorite, as of right now, is Verve Coffee with Chocolate Almond Praline. The ice cream is so incredible that I actually began to crave it during the long winter after I left California so I guess the lesson is to be careful when you are given a precious gift such as ice cream.