Hard-scoop or soft serve – which ice cream is best?

  • Jeff Hansen of Greenfield sits with his daughters, Grace Bousquet, 8, and Carlie Kempf, 13, as they eat their soft serve twist and hard ice cream, respectively, at Townline Ice Cream in Bernardston on Sunday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Patrons enjoy hard-scoop and soft serve ice cream at Sugarloaf Frostee in Sunderland. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Elijah Chamberlin, 4, of Turners Falls and his grandmother, Chris Chamberlin, eat their hard ice cream cones at Sugarloaf Frostee in Sunderland on Sunday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Lila Robert, 5, of Milton, takes a spoonful of a soft serve chocolate and vanilla twist at Sugarloaf Frostee in Sunderland, Sunday, July 24. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Elijah Chamberlin, 4, of Turners Falls, and his grandmother Chris Chamberlin, eat their hard ice cream cones at Sugarloaf Frostee in Sunderland on Sunday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

Published: 7/25/2016 7:53:43 PM

The yellow truck printed on 4-year-old Elijah Chamberlin’s small shirt was becoming distorted by ice cream drips.

He pressed his blue tongue again to the hard-scoop, mint chocolate chip-flavored ice cream, attempting to stop the damage. From across the wooden table where they were sitting at Sugarloaf Frostie early Sunday afternoon, his mom, Kayla Chamberlin, coolly licked her vanilla soft serve with clean hands.

“Soft serve, I think, is easier in the heat,” Kayla said.

As temperatures neared 90 degrees, locals went out to enjoy the summery treat. But while some stuck to traditional — and maybe cleaner — soft serve ice cream, others stayed loyal to hard scoop, despite its hazards. All had their reasons for their dessert choice on such a sweltering day.

Sunday was a family ice cream outing for the Turners Falls residents. Elijah’s grandmother, Chris, was also struggling with her almond joy-flavored hard-scoop ice cream, her hand becoming completely masked in sugary goo.

“Are there wet wipes in the truck?” asked Rick, Elijah’s grandfather.

“Now I think you’re going to eat the paper,” Chris said as she took Elijah’s cone from him. She peeled off the soggy remnants of the cone’s paper wrapper.

For Milton resident Andrea Robert and her 5-year-old daughter Lila, soft serve wasn’t just the preferable option, but perhaps also the practical one, for the two with Celiac disease.

“We both have gluten allergies,” Andrea explained to the worker behind the counter, leaning down to meet her eyes.

Above her head, a sign read, “Before ordering, please inform server if anyone in your party has a food allergy. Please order appropriately.”

Hard-scoop ice cream often has other food mixed into it — candy, pretzels — that can contain gluten, Andrea said. Soft serve is just from a machine, so it’s usually safe for her and Lila.

“Ooh, I’m excited for our ice cream,” Andrea said to Lila, pointing into the interior of Sugarloaf Frostie. “You see it coming out?”

Lila peered through small, pink sunglasses over the edge of the counter to watch, her flowery hat flopped over her eyes as she stretched her small body to see.

While the variety of hard-scoop ice cream can pose problems for some, it can be an asset for others, such as 13-year-old Carlie Kempf from Greenfield.

Kempf was enjoying chocolate lover’s chocolate ice cream at Townline Ice Cream on Sunday afternoon.

“There’s more flavors,” Kempf said. “It’s got more things in it.”

Townline Ice Cream has 24 different soft serve flavors. There’s everything from Banana to Coconut, Pistachio Nut to Tutti Frutti, and the traditional flavors as well.

“What’s your flavor of the day?” asked Monique Bennett from Greenfield, leaning toward the ordering window.

“We don’t have a favorite of the day, so it’s whatever you’re in the mood for,” the worker said.

Bennett ended up settling for a small chocolate and vanilla twist — simple and traditional, but a favorite.

Soft serve is usually her go-to, she said. If it’s hard ice cream, it has to be chocolate peanut butter.

Like most people seem to, she has specific ice cream preferences. But everyone had one thing in common — no matter how messy, the cool treat was a good match for the stifling July sun.


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