By Theresa Russell
We All Scream for Velvet Ice Cream
There is something to be said for exploring your local area, very pertinent for me as a newcomer to the Columbus, OH region. When I heard that Velvet Ice Cream was relatively close and celebrating its 100th anniversary, I mapped out my route to Utica, Ohio, the home of this 4th generation family company. As a huge ice cream fan, and one who enjoys eating spumoni whenever the urge strikes me, I felt a real connection with Velvet Ice Cream. Honestly, I didn’t realize that they were based so nearby. For me good ice cream is good ice cream no matter where it is produced.
All in the Family
Joseph Dager settled in Ohio as an immigrant from Lebanon. I am always curious as to why immigrants select a certain community for their new lives. Utica is not NYC or Boston. How the heck did somebody from thousands of miles away choose Utica, Ohio as a home base?
Currently the Dager girls are operating the business. Having four sisters myself, I couldn’t imagine collaborating in any business. Of course, as a fourth generation business, it’s likely in the blood and their philosophy of family first obviously contributes to their success, especially considering that all associates are considered part of the family. The young 5th generation is waiting in the wings until they reach majority age.
The All-American Treat
Who doesn’t love a dish of ice cream for dessert? Velvet makes five million gallons per year, distributing them in 26 states. This production makes Utica the Ice Cream Capital of Ohio. While vanilla accounts for a majority of its sales due to its versatility, the Buckeye Classic flavor, which combines fudge, vanilla and mini-buckeyes is a popular choice. With 60 flavors to choose from, there is something for everyone. Every year, Velvet makes a special flavor for the Ohio State Fair.
It’s All in the Details
Take a tour of the facility to see how ice cream is made and learn about its history in Ye Olde Mill, which houses a restaurant and the only ice cream museum in Ohio, where I learned some interesting facts about ice cream:
- Both the vanilla and cacao used to make ice cream are native to Mexico.
- The first cone supposedly appeared at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
- Hokey Pokey got its name from Italian vendors who shouted ” Ecco un poco!) (Here’s a little.)
- It takes 1.4 gallons of milk to make a gallon of ice cream
- Air is an essential ingredient, without it, ice cream would be chewy.
- Chocolate is the favorite topping.
- Local pigs get the leftover effluent. Butter Pecan bacon, anyone?
- Pigs don’t tend to like Mint Oreo flavor.
At the end of the tour, be sure to try one of the many ice cream treats offered at the counter. You will be glad that you did.
Velvet Ice Cream is open to guests seasonally. Visit their website to plan your visit.
About Theresa Russell
Claiming her lust for travel began on her first journey through the birth canal, Theresa is genetically programmed to travel and to have fun doing it. She especially enjoys adventure and experiential travel and always finds something at a destination to write home about.