When you think of summertime in Boston, a few things come to mind: lobster rolls, day games at Fenway, and the Scooper Bowl. Founded in 1983, the Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl is entering its 33rd year of scooping up some of the summer’s finest ice cream to thousands of hungry guests at City Hall Plaza from June 2–4. All of the proceeds go directly toward cancer research and patient care at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, so feel free to throw your inhibitions to the wind and try as many flavors as you can. If you’re too intimidated by all the options or are in a bit of a time crunch, here are the must-try flavors for each vendor that you’d be cheating yourself not to eat.
Baskin Robbins: Red Velvet Ice Cream
The cream cheese swirl running through this bad boy is the definition of decadent. Everyone who sees you eating this ice cream will say, “Oh my god, is that the Queen of England? Oh no, she’s just eating Baskin Robbins Red Velvet Ice Cream, I always get the two confused.”
Ben and Jerry’s: The Tonight Dough
The founding fathers of ice cream really hit it out of the park with this one. Named in honor of Jimmy Fallon’s completion of his first year as host of The Tonight Show, this ice cream is packed with cookie goodness: chocolate and caramel bases are combined with chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough, and a crunchy chocolate cookie swirl.
So maybe Breyers isn’t known for their creative flavor combinations, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a strong contender in the ice cream arena. To me, there is nothing that screams summer more than a big cone of Strawberry ice cream, and Breyers has some of the best in the game.
Delish by Walgreens: Cookies & Cream
Here’s the thing; having spent three summers scooping at Boston-area titan J.P. Licks, I know how much time and attention goes into making good ice cream. And I’m guessing the head honchos at Walgreens don’t have weekly ice cream tastings to make sure all the flavors are correct and balanced. So for this one I’d say be safe and go with the old standby Cookies & Cream.
Coming home to a carton of Edy’s Coffee ice cream in your freezer is about as good as it gets. Not too sweet and not too strong, this ice cream is what real coffee ice cream should be.
Friendly’s: Celebration Ice Cream Cake
If there’s a company that is going to do a cake batter ice cream well, it’s going to be Friendly’s. Plus with a name like “Celebration”, this flavor is basically forcing you to have a nice day.
Hood: Lactaid Salted Caramel Chip Ice Cream®
This one was a real toss-up. Part of me really wanted to go with their Jelly Donut flavor (I mean come on, it’s DONUT FLAVORED), but dairy-free people need some love too and this flavor is by far the most creative one being offered at the festival. Although to be honest, I’d pick a Hoodsie Cup over these two in a heartbeat.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: Brownie Batter
Representing Team Fro-Yo, Orange Leaf is a DIY Frozen Yogurt chain with multiple locations in Massachusetts. Although there was some strong competition, I can’t pass by any flavor that has brownie bits in it, and neither should you.
Yuengling’s Ice Cream: Caramel Popcorn
Don’t go to this stand expecting a nice cold brew. Marketed as “Pennsylvania’s Finest,” this mom-and-pop company has been making ice cream since 1920, with creative flavors like Root Beer Float and Spiced Pumpkin Roll. In my opinion smaller companies tend to be better at strange flavors, so head straight for the Caramel Popcorn.