Growing up in Massachusetts, there were a few simple pleasures each summer. Lots of backyard wiffle ball, above ground pools, and books in hammocks. And then there were the special treats, usually they were rewards for something done exceptionally, other times a way to get us into the car air conditioning and cooled off with ice cream. A trip to Kimball’s was something special. This Sunday afternoon I opted for a Raspberry Chocolate Chip cone.
If it hadn’t been for some huckster passing through town, Kimball’s might long ago been absorbed into a dairy megalith. But in 1939, one convinced John Allen Kimball to buy his ice cream mix from him and start an ice cream stand. When they began cones were a nickel or dime, and a banana split was a quarter. From the beginning they were a magnet for ice cream fans all around.
These days the place has expanded in proportions that no one would have ever imagined. While the ice cream barn still has lines that take ten minutes to get to the window, it is but a fraction of the Kimball’s experience. They have old car shows and live bands on Thursday nights through the summer. There’s a driving range, two mini golf courses, a nine hole par 3, bumper boats, an outdoor grille, and a general store. Yet somehow the ice cream doesn’t get lost in all of this.
It was a madhouse both inside and out. The parking lot is now ten times the size it was when my baseball team went there. My first order was nixed when my server discovered that the special – German fudge chocolate was out. Instead, I opted for raspberry chocolate chip. She asked in advance if I wanted a cup since this was a bit soft, but I braved it and went for a sugar cone and a few napkins. I forget just how big these cones are, the small has two massive stacked scoops (look at the picture below and see how small my hand is in proportion to the scoop) that were ready to start crying down my hand. The napkins were used both before and after a trip to the water fountain to clean my face and hands and arms and shirt.
The mess is wholly forgivable, when the ice cream is this good. They go through such volume here that it is always fresh and the raspberry is creamy in a beautiful suspension. And the thin rectangular chocolate chips remain in every bite. They are a perfect contrast to the rich cream. Next time I need to see if I can make it through a Doubledae. It didn’t look like it would have fit in a half gallon box, but it was a grail (2 flavors of ice cream, 2 toppings, marshmallow and whipped cream).
I know it seems sacrilegious, but it is possible that the small cone has too much ice cream. With the heat battling the already soft ice cream, I needed to set a proper plan of attack which involved the proper combination of bites and licks. And yet for all the volume, the cone was just stabbed into the scoops and there was nearly nothing left after the first taste of cookie. While I fared decently when it came to mess, it beat me in the long run. My tongue felt as though it had been anesthetized after such exposure to the cold. I need some hair of the dog before I head to bed, I’ll go see what’s in the freezer.
Cone – small $3.60 large $3.95
Sundae – regular $4.95 doubledae $4.95
Frappes – $4.65