One of the best ways to creatively showcase local ingredients is to incorporate them into a food item that’s already familiar, comfortable and well loved. Alaskans love their ice cream, and in recent years the dessert has become the perfect vessel to show off locally roasted coffee, locally brewed cider and locally grown products of all kinds. If you’re visiting Alaska and want to sample some of the region’s favorite flavors, look no further than this classic frozen treat.
At Wild Scoops in Anchorage, every flavor has a story. This ice cream operation does a fantastic job at featuring locally made ingredients in innovative and delicious ways. Some of our favorite hits here are the Tundra Queen, made with Alaska cranberries and white chocolate; the Yukon Gold created with Alaska Chip Company potato chips, homemade toffee and a fudge swirl; and Malted Milk and Cookies with the incredible chocolate chip cookies baked fresh daily at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop.
Coppa dominates the ice cream scene in the state capital of Juneau. The company recently created a candied salmon ice cream for the Symphony of Seafood product competition, made with house-cured Alaska sockeye salmon. Sound weird? They ended up taking home the grand prize for this flavor! You can even submit your own creative ice cream flavor if you have a million-dollar idea of your own.
Hot Licks is the original player when it comes to artisan, small-batch ice cream in Alaska. Operating in Fairbanks since 1986, it’s now only open May through August. The shop uses North Pole Coffee’s Black Gold Coffee for its coffee ice cream, Silver Gulch Brewing’s Forty Below Stout for its rich stout ice cream and handpicked Alaska blueberries and cranberries for all of its berry flavors. You can enjoy the ice cream, sorbets and sherbets in a cone or cup, in the form of a sundae and even in a milkshake or an ice cream sandwich.
Marco T’s is an Italian pizzeria in Anchorage that churns out homemade desserts that are delicious enough to warrant an entirely separate outing to the restaurant. Their gelato flavors are always rotating, and one of our favorites is a creamy showcase of local micro-cidery Double Shovel Cider’s semi-dry forget-me-hopped cider.
The Mint Chip, is a dreamy mint-colored ice cream truck that drives around Alaska selling homemade ice cream and popsicles (they call them ice lollies) all summer long. New and inventive flavors are commonplace here, and the truck has experimented with locally grown chamomile flowers, fresh mint leaves, lavender and rose. The verdict? It’s all delicious, and the fresh ingredients almost make it feel like a guilt-free indulgence.
Photo: Wild Scoops – Malted Milk and Cookies