Careful, They May Have a Grass and Root Vegetable Flavor
Grass Roots Creamery, Granby
September 2, 2014
As of today, in September 2014, Grass Roots’ website is the most basic of websites. It is merely one page, noting the address and hours of the fairly new shop, as well as its simple philosophy.
That philosophy is “Lovely ice cream made from real food (like strawberries, peaches, berries, nuts, chocolate, and coconut. No artificial dyes or colorings. Natural and organic toppings.”
And that’s it. And that’s great. After all, why bother with wasting time with a fancy website when Grass Roots has ice cream to make? And not just any ol’ ice cream, mind you, but some of the most fanciful, creative, and delicious ice cream in the state. This place has only been open for a year or so, but it has vaulted into the upper echelon of Connecticut homemade ice cream joints already. Easily.
I first heard about Grass Roots via an article my friend Leeanne Griffin wrote about them for the Hartford Courant. “Hm,” I thought, “that’s not too far from my office, it’s super close to Cambridge House Brewpub, and most importantly, when I take the boys hiking up in Simsbury or Granby, it makes for a perfect post-hike treat!”
Just one thing – Grass Roots isn’t open on Sundays. And I pretty much only take the boys hiking on Sundays. I can only surmise the wonderful owners of the shop are religious, whereas my boys and I are decidedly not. Oh well, there’s still Tulmeadow and J. Foster’s in Simsbury for us I guess.
[A few things on this – while we were there and talking to the owner, I said, “I wish you were open on Sundays!” to which she replied, “Well, we’re not,” and that was that. Just yesterday, a Sunday, I hiked in North Granby with my sons and drove right past Grass Roots at 1 PM. It would have been perfect. Instead, we ended up at J. Fosters in Simsbury. On their facebook page someone just wrote today, “I wish you were open on Sundays” and their response was the same. I imagine they’d get far more customers on Sundays than they do Monday-Wednesday, but whatever. That’s their prerogative. They aren’t alone in this, by the way. Wentworth’s Homemade Ice Cream in Hamden does the same thing – and that place literally abuts Sleeping Giant State Park! Imagine the lines they’d have on Sundays there!]
So instead of a post-hike treat with the boys, my wife Hoang and I took our younger son Calvin here as a post-summer, pre-school treat. Although at three, he’s too young to appreciate the import of our Grass Roots visit, he enjoyed it all the same – much more than he enjoyed starting school the next day, that’s for sure. (I mean, think about it… if he goes to a 4-year college, the poor dear has 18 years of schooling ahead of him.)
Upon entering, we were greeted by one-half of the husband and wife ownership/ice-cream geniuses team: Eliza Florian. She was as sweet as her concoctions and very welcoming. You’d sort of expect that from a small independently owned shop of any stripe, but I can tell you that’s not always the case.
We were initially overwhelmed with all the ice cream choices. The array of new-to-us flavors and combos was incredible. But how do these “wacky” flavors taste?
In a word – delicious. If you are curious about the Grass Roots menu, you can always check their facebook page. Just be sure to do it Monday through Saturday so you can rush over there to satisfy your newfound cravings.
Apparently this whole “let’s just come up with our own new flavors” thing started with a little boredom and a lot of creativity and experimentation. An early experiment, a lavender-honey ice cream, went through a few iterations before it was nailed – and it sure was nailed. That first batch sold out in a day and is now usually available.
You can expect around 20 flavors that are unique and of them, you’ve most likely never heard of, let alone tasted, about 10 of them. And of those 20, I’m willing to bet 20 of them are perfectly made. Of course, your personal preference may not like all 20, but that’s not the point.
For his part, Calvin demanded the deepest, darkest, chocolatiest chocolate flavor. I don’t recall what it was called exactly, but it contained some serious cacao and bitter chocolate. He loved it – and Eliza noted that he “must be a true connoisseur.” Why yes, yes he is. Just disregard the (“all natural”) gummies he demanded on top.
Hoang had the salted caramel with another scoop of Mexican hot chocolate. The latter is “dark chocolate, cinnamon, clove, and a touch of heat.” I too had the Mexican hot chocolate and it was divine.
For my second scoop, I had Cardamom Cashew. Just because it was “cardamom cashew.” I know, right? It was also delicious. What I found was that with all the inventiveness, there is much care taken not to overwhelm each flavor with wackiness. The flavors are all there, yes, but they don’t dominate you at all.
I love this place. Eliza watched us enjoy our first Grass Roots experience like a mother duck watching her ducklings swim for the first time. At first I found it a little annoying, but I immediately realized she simply cares about her baby. And she wants people to give her honest feedback about it. (And, frankly, she was probably leery about Calvin eating an “adult” flavor.)
You can tell how much I love this place by the word count on this page. There usually isn’t all the much to write about an ice cream shop. In the case of Grass Roots, there is simply too much.
And I haven’t even (yet) had the Blood Orange Chocolate Chip, the Chai Tea, the Lemon Ginger, the Butter Rum Brownie, the Honey Butter Sunflower Seed (?!), the Lime Chocolate Chip, the Molasses Oatmeal Cookie, the Pumking Oreo (no), the… you get the point.
Go. Get to Granby’s town green and Grass Roots Creamery ASAP. It’s much more rewarding than reading this page, I promise.