Jeni’s Ice Cream, Columbus, OH

Jeni’s Ice Cream is a must for visitors and locals in Columbus. Every time I’m in town visiting my in-laws for a long weekend I go to one of the Jeni’s locations at least twice. My preferred stop is the one in the Short North because it seems to be less hectic than the one inside North Market, plus it’s open late! They now have five locations in the Columbus area and they distribute to a few outside locations. Lucky for me one of the places that stocks pints of their ice cream isn’t too far away at The Produce Station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg here at $10/pint (yes, for a PINT!). It’s much cheaper to get it when you’re in Columbus, or you can order it online, too.

Jeni’s has a signature list of flavors that are available year round along with a rotating choice of seasonal concoctions. They do a great job of selecting local ingredients to make fantastic ice cream flavors for all types of palettes. Most of their selections are a bit more on the unusual side, like Cucumber Sake or Bangkok Peanut, but they have more kid-friendly choice like Honey Vanilla Bean or Belgian Milk Chocolate. They let you sample plenty of flavors before making your final choices and you can mix two or more flavors based on the size you choose.

On one recent visit I tried a scoop of seasonal Ohio Sweet Corn with Black Raspberries on top of my favorite, Gravel Road (a salty caramel flavor with smoked almonds mixed in). Who knew that corn would work so well as an ice cream flavor? I guess Jeni did! The taste of the corn was really pronounced and was great with the natural sweetness of the local black raspberries. The Gravel Road is always rich and smoky sweet with a nice crunchy texture from the almond pieces; I haven’t tired of it yet!

When a friend of mine drove from Akron to meet us this past weekend I told her that she had to be initiated into Jeni’s, she didn’t have a choice. I was proud of her for trying some interesting seasonal flavors like Lemon and Blueberry and Backyard Mint. She wasn’t certain about the combination, but in the end was really happy with how well they complimented each other.

On this visit I tried the Buckeye State seasonal flavor I missed the day before, and on top added the Brown Butter Almond Brittle which I was told went over well with Gravel Road fans. Yum! The Buckeye State was a peanut butter ice cream with chopped dark chocolate pieces throughout. How can you go wrong there? The counter server was absolutely right about the Almond Brittle flavor, definitely a hit with me! It reminded me of a sophisticated version of the Good Humor Toasted Almond ice cream bars from when I was a kid.

I often wish there was an actual Jeni’s Ice Cream store in the Ann Arbor area, but it’s probably safer for my waistline if they keep their locations in the Columbus area. Although, I was happy to hear that they’ll be opening a new location in the Clintonville section of Columbus in the near future which will be just down the street where we visit my in-laws. I’m looking forward to it!