There’s nothing like a cold creamy treat on a warm day, and one ice cream shop in the cozy California beach town of Santa Cruz is doing it so, so right.
Penny Ice Creamery isn’t your average ice cream joint; you won’t find Ben & Jerry’s-style over-indulgence, nor will you taste artificial flavors and colors (think: green mint chip).
Gathering all of their ingredients from local organic farms, owners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis are committed to bringing small-business practices back to basics. Their passion for local, organic food and sustainability is palpable.
Pop in to this downtown gem after a day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You’re greeted by the of smell freshly made waffles cones and smiling employees working busily in the open kitchen and showcased production room cracking eggs, sifting sugar, cutting fresh fruit, even churning milk and cream (they’re licensed pasteurizers!). Every lick of this dangerously delicious stuff is made from scratch, and at one glance, you can appreciate the skill and care that goes into every batch.
Take your pick from the handwritten menu, whose flavors change daily. Try a holiday favorite such as mascarpone hazelnut, black pepper quince, sour cream gingersnap or parsnip nutmeg.
On this day, I opted for dark chocolate, and my boyfriend went with his favorite: vanilla (or more accurately, Tahitian Vanilla Bean). It was the perfect compliment to our lazy afternoon stroll, reminding us of life’s simple (and sweet) pleasures.
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The tastiest 'happy hour'
The locally-owned Penny Ice Creamery in my hometown serves up delicious ice cream and sorbet in small batches. They use ingredients from local farmers and proprietors to make flavors like bitter caramel, apricot and cayenne pepper, pomegranate and lime, earl grey, stout, Verve coffee with chocolate bits, lemon and basil, and bacon and bourbon. The menu changes daily - they list it on a chalk board outside or on their Facebook page - and they also offer twice weekly Happy Hour from 4-6pm. Come hungry and ready to try flavors that will awaken your taste-buds. And if you are really hungry, ask for homemade marshmallow fluff on top of your ice cream scoop. They stay open late on weekends, and also have a location near the Santa Cruz boardwalk, called the Picnic Basket.