When I first started to explore the local goods of the great city of Raleigh, I searched for a great local ice cream shop, one that would compare to my experiences at Sunni Sky's during my undergrad years as a Camel. After feverishly combing the Internet, Google would return only one result: Lumpy's Ice Cream. The site listed the locations where Lumpy's was sold and the future events the Lumpy's ice cream cart would be present but I continued to look for the address and times of their store front.
After going deep within the site, I was finally able to get an address. I drove up US-1 with my gas tank on E trying to find this hidden spot. Zigzagging through residential neighborhoods, I started to fear I'd never find Lumpy's-- until I found myself in front of a little shack next to a house with a Lumpy's logo on top of it. Finally, it dawned on me that Lumpy's didn't have a store front at all.
Now, five years later, my journeys through US-1 actually lead me to a Lumpy's Ice Cream store front. Located in rapidly growing Wake Forest, Lumpy's is another impressive addition to the town that plays host to Southeastern Seminary.
Contrary to popular belief, being a food blogger hasn't granted me keys to some kind of culinary underground of wonders. But thanks to Alison from Cranky Diners, I received an invitation to Lumpy's blogger preview.
After arriving ten minutes late and missing the entire introduction, we stumbled through the door just before everyone was seated. The start of the night began with Harris-Robinette Farms presenting their offerings of 100 percent grass-fed local beef. Harris-Robinette Farms' first item was their hamburger. Unfortunately it was a bit dry but I would contribute that fact more to it being extremely well done.
Along with offering hot dogs and hamburgers, the ice cream shop promised the addition of fresh sweet potato fries to its menu.
Finally, Lumpy's owner Buck Buchanan took the floor. Muscular and imposing, you imagine Buck to be more of a professional wrestler than an ice cream maker, although Buck is a participant in the NC Highland Games, which I suppose is close enough. Buck presented his first ice cream flavor of the night, a special one he made just for us bloggers, Bloggers' Baklava. With fresh NC honey and fresh walnuts, the aroma was that of the delicious Mediterranean dessert. Unfortunately, as Buck explained, the ice cream did not have any phyllo dough because it would turn soggy in the ice cream.
The second ice cream was Lumpy's Mint Chip. Buck's dedication and hard work is on display even with a simple flavor such as Mint Chip. With homemade mint and vanilla extract, you can taste the difference. At the end of each spoonful a delightful refreshment from fresh spearmint.
As the frozen tour continued Buck presented his seasonal pumpkin pie. They had just received a fresh order of pumpkins. For me, there is a distinct difference between fresh pumpkin and canned pumpkin. Among the sweet tones of cinnamon and nutmeg, there is the presence of squash reminding you of its gourd ancestry. It makes Lumpy's a rememberable pumpkin pie ice cream among all its other overly sweet and overly spiced counterparts.
|Sally's Silly Strawberry|
We soldiered onto the next flavor which was Sally's Silly Strawberry. Lumpy's vision of its product is clear: fresh - local - homemade. The strawberries were hand cut. By the end of the night this ended up being Sara's favorite flavor.
|Kenny's Kicking Chocolate|
By this point of the night I felt like I was in a ice cream vision of the French Laundry as course after course of ice cream flavors came out in single serving cups. It was fun waiting in anticipation for the next flavor to arrive at our table. For the fifth flavor we tried Kenny's Kicking Chocolate. In one of my few questions of the night I asked Buck where he gets his chocolate. Surprisingly he responded that he melts his own chocolate from imported nibs with his own blend of sugar. Like I said, the guy is dedicated.
Back in the beginning of this entry I mentioned that Buck is a Highland Games athlete. In honor of the Games he created the Drunkenberry ice cream flavor featuring raspberries that have been soaked in 12-year-old Scotch. The Scotch punches you in the face from the first bite but then the bits of frozen fruit mellow it along with the wonderful creamy and velvety ice cream.
|Bernie's Butter Pecan|
Buck proudly served us his butter pecan ice cream as his next flavor. Made with real butter and real pecans, it was as if the flavor came straight off of Paula Deen's grocery list.
|Chris Has Gone Coconuts|
For me Buck saved the best for last. Tasting the Coffee Cinnamon ice cream was like watching an episode of Law & Order. At first it was the spice and excitement of the law enforcement, then the subtle bitterness of judicial proceedings. Even though Buck said that we'd get the coffee flavor first finished with the cinnamon, I experienced it the opposite way around. Strange I know.
After the ice cream we hung around to talk to Buck, look around the store, and take pictures. They even allowed us to tour the kitchen & freezers.
Buck was extraordinarily generous and kind to us bloggers and everyone else crowding the shop. Whether they were local patrons or kids interrupting him as he tried to present a flavor, he paid attention and was happy to see each person.
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