Reasons to be Cheerful – West Concord MA

21 03 2014

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Larry’s – Dupont Circle, Washington DC

14 03 2014

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Gary’s – Chelmsford MA

12 03 2014

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Sprung: Rota Spring Farm – Sterling MA

3 03 2014

A winter in the vortex doesn’t make most people yearn for ice cream, or if they do it’s snuggled next to the fireplace with a warm cup of cocoa nearby to balance out your body temperature. Thankfully for those of us who enjoy standing in outdoor lines and seeing the livestock that were the genesis for a scoop, there are places like Rota Spring that opened for business the first weekend of March.

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I was down in Providence on the day that the windows in Sterling opened for the season, but sent my folks there for that first day and was promptly regaled with tales of long lines and people stocking up with quarts to go with their cones. Two days later I drove and picked up my niece and nephews once school was out for the day and we set out to Sterling.

When even a three-year-old doesn’t mind standing around in 20 degree temperatures for ice cream, you know there is something special at play. For me this is the standard-bearer of local ice cream, the reason we started this blog in the first place to try to find local ice cream that competes. While there have been some quality contenders, Rota Spring is still king of the hill, no matter how remote that hill may seem to some people. It’s a destination that is worth the trip.

Last fall, there was turmoil when word spread that their famed Indian Pudding ice cream was going to be falling off the menu due to ingredients no longer being available. For many people, this flavor alone was reason enough to make this a regular destination. When it popped up on my twitter feed that Rota had brought the flavor back in a revamped form, it was imperative to give it a go. Of course with two scoops, to pick I also threw a scoop of Cowabunga Crunch on top.

The top scoop was a caramel-swirled vanilla with chips, praline pecans, and sugar cookies, and was a perfect preamble to the ice cream season. When I got below that to the Indian Pudding, that’s when it was shown that the game was certainly on. With a lighter mouthfeel than the original recipe, this didn’t lean so heavily on the cornmeal to give it a distinctive texture, but the powerful flavor punch that the molasses brings is a peaked joy to anyone who enjoys great flavor. The smoother consistency might actually help make this appeal to an even wider audience who had been taken aback by the grittiness that the meal had traditionally supplied.

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I know, it’s weird to see me eating a bowl rather than a cone, but while trying to wrangle three kids on my own as well, the ability to put this down at times was essential. The cold chased us back to the car to do the eating anyway, though we did it while peering over the snowbanks and watching those cows graze from feeding troughs and the random shoots cracking through the mud. Spring is here, even if there’s still going to be permafrost for another month.

Cone – kiddie $3.15 small $3.95 large $4.95

Sundae – kiddie $4.40 small $5.40 large $6.40

Milkshake Frappe – $4.95  extra thick $5.50

Rota Spring Farm

117 Chace Hill Rd, Sterling MA 01564

978 365-9710

Open early March-Thanksgiving

March & September: 11:30a-9p; April-August: 11:30a-9:30p; October:11:30a-8p; November: 11:30am-6p

rotaspringfarm.com