Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chocoholic on the Road: Frozen Custard in South Jersey

My employer has me working on a really cool project this summer and fall, and this regularly takes me to southern New Jersey, just across the river from Wilmington, DE. When traveling there, I stay in Pennsville, NJ to avoid crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge more often than necessary. It’s a pretty small town, and I wasn’t too optimistic about options for delicious chocolate, but the project is quite awesome, so the sacrifice was worth it.

And then I spotted the Pennsville Custard Stand not more than a mile from my hotel. I know I just wrote about frozen custard during my trip to Milwaukee, but this may be my best shot for getting a good chocolate treat while traveling for this project. Off to the Pennsville Custard Stand following a long, but excellent, day of work.

It’s definitely a stand, with no indoor seating. I’m not one to be picky about ambiance if the food is good, so I crossed my fingers that chocolate frozen custard would be on hand (it was) and ordered a small dish of chocolate frozen custard. I saw the cashier go back to a soft-serve machine to get my order and started to wonder what, exactly, I was going to get, but tried to keep an open mind. If nothing else, the “small” had to be at least 8 ounces, so for $2.14, I was getting a pretty good deal.

I started with the melted bits along the edges, and was immediately aware that this was not the 13-14% butterfat frozen custard I grew up with in Milwaukee. The texture was a little grainy, and even a bit icy in spots, though part of the graininess might have been due to what seemed to be tiny flecks of dark chocolate. While this did a bit to increase the intensity of the chocolate, I would have much preferred a silky-fatty-smooth creation like you get from Kopp’s frozen custard, since these flecks left a waxy feeling in my mouth. That being said, the chocolate flavor itself was pretty good. The Pennsville Custard Stand clearly uses some pretty high-quality dark chocolate, and it’s well balanced against just the right amount of sugar. Overall, I was disappointed that it wasn’t more like the frozen custard that I know and love from childhood, but it was a decent treat at the end of a long workday.


Pennsville Custard Stand: Cute little seasonal shop, reasonable prices and generous portions.

Pros: Good balance of chocolate and sweetness, less than a mile from my hotel.

Cons: Texture doesn’t measure up to Wisconsin-style frozen custard, some waxy and grainy qualities.

Price: $2.14 for a “small” frozen custard, which must have been at least 8 ounces.


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