I recently wrote about how much I like ice cream. It should come as no surprise, then, that I went to the NJ State Ice Cream Festival in Toms River, NJ. It has been on Don's wish list for awhile now. We had a funeral to go to in the morning, but the rest of our day was clear. Sometimes that is what qualifies as a quiet day.
The festival ran from 3-8:30. The weather was nice -- not too hot, not rainy. The crowds were moderate.
The deal was, you pay $7 and get coupons for free ice cream from six stands. The lines at each of these stands was long. Some, such as the Yeungling stand, easily handled the crowds. The line at Giffords was the worst, and the kicker was they changed their flavor from the announced salty pretzel to toasted coconut. Toasted coconut is not a bad flavor, but it does not taste like salty pretzel.
Each sample was quite tiny. The Neapolitan was the smallest scoop, but each used the same size cup. Our favorite was the Yeungling Black and Tan -- instead of beer it was rich dark Belgian chocolate and salty caramel ice cream. Fortunately they sell it in pints in Wegmans. Unfortunately, it is not cheap.
In the end, I left feeling as if I missed something. We walked up and down a street sampling ice cream and trying to not get in the way of people trying to shop at the other booths. Eh. The same festival held in Princeton with Thomas Sweet, Halo Pub, and bent spoon all competing against each other would have been a treat. This was just a crowded event.
The saving grace for the day was hanging out with good friends Bill and Dee. They were kind enough to salvage the day by inviting us over to their fire pit for s'mores, because after eating all that ice cream (each sample was quite tiny) s'mores hit the spot.