Since starting this blog eleven months ago, nearly all of my friends who aren’t lactose intolerant have told me great tales of the ice cream place that they always went to growing up. Quite often those memories are a bit blurred, or else history hasn’t been kind and all that remains is a sputtering soft-serve machine. Sometimes the results are far better like with this Bear Claw cone.
Pinecroft was a dairy located in West Boylston. The idyllic nature of this place has been tempered by parking lots and nearby developments that have left just a single restaurant building standing. It’s still difficult to get to, especially without any signage along Route 12 that directs people when and where to turn to find a cone. I opted for both a map and a cell phone to find my way to this ice cream.
Established back in 1952, Pinecroft is similar to a place like Cabot’s in Newtonville – a single store that divides its attentions between family dining and ice cream. Think Friendly’s without the excess of franchising and a greater focus on ice cream. Apparently this used to be atop a hill surrounded by cows and other farm elements (the land was used as a dairy even before they started making ice cream), but all that’s around to see is the store itself and an odd grassy knoll with a porch swing and a picnic bench and a mini waterfall.
Inside there is ample seating for people who want a meal or ice cream (though if you’re just looking for ice cream, I’d bet that dinner customers get priority. Outside is an array of windows offering ice cream to the steady stream of people who pull up on this Sunday evening. The inside closes an hour before the windows, so folks are heading off to their cars to eat since the sun is dancing on the horizon and the wind has been whipping that chill into the air.
I started with a sample of the Ginger ice cream, which was both bold and subtle and would have made a great full cone, but I was tempted by the unknown and went with bear claw ice cream. I’m not quite sure how the name applies as usually a bear claw is the almondy cousin of an apple fritter, but I won’t complain much with what is offered here. Starting with a chocolate ice cream base that is light and smooth and very milky as opposed to creamy, the ice cream also has a thick swirl of caramel and then is peppered with chocolate-covered cashews. The combination is heavenly without being too rich, and the mix of flavors brings something fresh to each bite. It’s a great ice cream that doesn’t leave you weighted down afterwards. I only wonder how nice it would have been after a plate of grilled cheese and french fries.
My issue today is with cone assembly. The picture above was the first attempt, and as I turned the cone to get a better angle, the entire heap of ice cream started to sway and topple. I caught it in time, but since i used my mouth and took a bite in order to save it, a picture was no longer an option. The problem was that none of the ice cream that was scooped was actually inside the cone. With summer work starting their first days there are lots of teens who are just learning to scoop and this is not the first time this spring that I’ve encountered such precariousness.
Cone – regular $3.50 large $3.95 super $4.50
Pinecroft Restaurant and Dairy
Open year round
Sunday-Wednesday 11:30a-9p, Thursday-Saturday 11:30a-10p (inside closes an hour earlier)