My family did something so cool I almost don’t want to tell you about it.
Alright, I’ll let you in on the secret if you promise you won’t eat all the ice cream.
Every Saturday the High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet factory is open for free tastings and tours. High Road was founded in 2010 by local chef Keith Schroeder, who wanted to create specialty ice creams and sorbets for restaurants. Word soon got out about the unusual flavors and high-quality ingredients. These incredible pints of goodness are now available at Whole Foods and in freezer cases of retailers across the country.
Intrigued to get the “inside scoop,” my family showed up one Saturday. Nicki Schroeder, chef Keith’s wife and High Road’s marketing officer (and mom of two), shepherded us and a few other folks behind the scenes to learn where the creamy, dreamy magic happens.
We stood around tanks where milk and cream is pasteurized while Nicki educated us on the art of making ice cream. She showed us the aging tanks where the cream bases become thick and lush. We watched trays of ice cream being chilled rapidly to prevent ice crystals from forming – a step that helps ensure a smooth texture. My son laughed when the cold air hit his face and licked his lips as caramel was swirled into ice cream being squirted into pint cartons.
After the tour we all rushed the counter where half a dozen flavors were available for us to try. Nicki scooped generous samples while we compared favorites and debated which flavors to try next. Standards include Limoncello and Bourbon Burnt Sugar. High Road specializes in unique, seasonal creations and works with chefs to create custom flavors that will complement their menus. According to Nicki, some of the more far-out flavors have involved salami, truffles (as in fungi, not chocolates) and beets. Just a few other High Road flavors: French Toast; Peanut Butter Brittle; Mango Chile Lime; and Strawberry Shortbread.
If you take a tour or just visit on Saturday, you can buy eight pints for $40, and I dare you to walk out of there without a box full of ice cream. We took home flavors such as Fig Balsamic (mellow and earthy), Red Berries and Prosecco (bright and refreshing) and Espresso (that really tasted like coffee). There was a moan of dismay in the room when a staffer struck Bourbon Chocolate Bread Pudding off the list on the white board because it was sold out. I still want to try Happy Goat (I have no idea what that entails but I’m willing to give it a whirl).
The High Road factory is hard to find; it’s in a low building in a non-descript office park, and there’s no big sign to let you know you have arrived. But don’t give up – I promise it’s there. Bring a sweater, as it can be chilly inside, and let your kids know it will be a little loud. All the better to cover your exclaims of joy as you dig in.
– Sherry V. Crawley
High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet
2241 Perimeter Park Drive, Ste. 7, Atlanta.
Tours are free and offered throughout the day on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations not required. Follow High Road on Facebook to keep up with the ever-changing list of flavors.
If you can’t make it to the factory, visit the first High Road scoop shop at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market; sweetauburncurbmarket.com.