Monday, January 11, 2010

Staycation Stop #2: Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream

The second place on my list of places to visit during our staycation was the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream headquarters in Maltby, WA. Emi and I have probably been their best customers over the past two years. We always enjoy a scoop or two of their coconut or lemon custard ice cream after dinner at Emi's parent's house. After our wedding last year we had 50 or so relatives over for a BBQ and served basically every flavor they have to all of our guests.

Even if you've never heard of Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream you may have already tried it without even knowing. They serve Snoqualmie Gourmet at fancy restaurants across Seattle from The Waterfront Grill to Ponti. Also they make ice cream for multiple brands like Three Greek Gods and the ice cream mix for Mollie Moon's. They sell Snoqualmie ice cream at Metropolitan Market, Central Market, and along with some QFC's and Safeway's. Learn more about Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream by visiting their website.

Now back to the tour. I emailed Snoqualmie to see if they gave tours and found out they did, but I had to have a minimum of ten people to go with me. Luckily I was able to get enough people together last minute for all of us to get a tour of the place. They are located about 5 minutes outside of Woodinville in Maltby. The tour is only $6 a person and includes a 30 min tour of the factory where you learn all about their sustainable business that focuses on community, environment, and their consumers. Even better, at the end of the tour you get a scoop of ice cream.

They sell 13 different flavors of ice cream, but have the capabilities to make over 600 different flavors. We highly recommend the tour for anyone with family or friends from out of town who want to have a fun truly local experience.

The Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream storefront. Even if you don't go on the tour, make a trip out to Maltby to try some of their fun flavors that you can't find in the grocery store. I saw a black licorice (yuck), lime mojito, and toasted coconut among the flavors onsite that I've never seen in grocery stores.

The owner of Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream. He said they grew from 10,000 pints to over 500,000 pints of ice cream sold a year. He gave us the tour of the factory and taught our group a lot about how ice cream is made along with some fun stories behind some of their flavor creations. Fun fact: coconut is their best selling ice cream and also my favorite.

Becca, Emi, and Ali before the tour inside of the deli where you can buy homemade soups and sandwiches with of course a scoop of ice cream.

Pert with his Neopolitan ice cream in a waffle cone.

Greyson picking at his butt and I'm not sure what flavor he chose, but I'm sure it was good.

Becca and Emi got the caramel gingersnap ice cream. The story is that a general manager in Safeway from Bellingham called in a favor to the owner of Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream because his wife had a craving for gingersnaps and caramel. So they whipped up the new flavor of ice cream and loved it so much they mass produced it and turned it into their 13th flavor to be sold in stores. It was honestly amazing, so creamy and sweet. We should have bought a pint to take home!

The company's focus is on having the best and highest quality ingredients and they really do come out in the final product.

Besides family and friends my favorite part of the holidays is the fact that eggnog is back for a few months. I consume everything eggnog from eggnog with Sprite and rum to eggnog cupcakes at Cupcake Royale to my new favorite eggnog ice cream. It was freaking amazing. The owner said they added Makers Mark, Captain Morgan's, and cognac among other things to the eggnog ice cream. Later that day after closing he was going to go to the liquor store to buy $1,000 worth of alcohol so that everyone in the store could taste test and come up with new ideas for future ice cream flavors. I wish we could have stayed for that!

We had a great time on the tour and I wanted to thank everyone who was able to come out for the last minute trip making it all possible for Emi and I. Hopefully everyone had as great of a time as we did and we'll have to do it again.

- Kyle