When the beloved Kalona Cheese factory, which closed in 2014, reopened as the Kalona Creamery in 2017, my excitement was focused on the return of cheese curds. The curds are set to be brought back later this year, thank the dairy gods, but the creamery has more to offer.
On April 21, Kalona Creamery — 2206 540th St SW, Kalona — debuted their line of eight hard ice cream flavors. I was greeted that day by their mascot, Lona the Cow, and walked in to find a teenage boy racing the clock to finish 10 scoops of ice cream in under 10 minutes. He finished victorious.
In line for a modest two scoops ($3.69), I was able to sample the creamery’s organic Kalona SuperNatural Whole Chocolate Milk — smooth and tasty — which is also the base of their Udderly Chocolate ice cream. Along with milks, the creamery sells a variety of locally-sourced foods, from meats, cheeses and jarred goods to freshly-made soups and sandwiches.
Their Plain Ol’ Vanilla ice cream is used in most of their flavors, including Kalona Crunch, a butter brickle ice cream with pecan butter crunch from Kalona Chocolates; Cow Pie, a peanut butter and chocolate mix; Chicken Feed, with M&Ms and monster cookies made at the creamery; and Parlor Pie, featuring Miller’s strawberry and rhubarb jam—made by an Amish family in the area — and The Perfect Blend shortbread, crafted in Mt. Vernon (which I sampled on its own in the shop — absolutely delicious).
I ended up sitting down with a scoop of Moo-Mint and Pecan Pasture, complete with a milk chocolate cow on top.
Pecan Pasture is Udderly Chocolate ice cream with additional chocolate, caramel and pecan brownie bites. The caramel and pecan were understated, but it was the promise of brownie that sold me to begin with, and I was not disappointed. Stretchy chocolate ice cream cradled fresh, fudgy brownie bites that put other “brownie batter” ice cream concoctions to shame. Pecan Pasture is undeniably rich, but didn’t leave me with a stomach ache or desperate thirst.
My expectations are always high when I dive into a new mint chip, my favorite flavor of ice cream. I have no complaints for Moo-Mint. The ice cream itself was particularly creamy — necessary to balance an ample mint flavor — and I was delighted by the combination of dark chocolate flakes and chunks.
My mid-morning dessert went great with a cup of Capanna coffee ($1.99), also served at the counter. On a warmer day, I might have ordered a float ($3.99), made with your choice of Millstream soda.
By the time I crunched on the chocolate cow, I was already looking forward to my next visit to try the other ice cream offerings, and those yet to be debuted, some hot summer afternoon. Kalona Creamery is a worthy competitor to Whitey’s and Heyn’s, and makes the lovely town of Kalona even more of a destination.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 242.