Anytime we travel out of town, one of the first things I search for is a good local ice cream place. I happened to already know about Jeni’s located in Nashville from it’s cult following among fellow food bloggers and was hoping a trip over would be in the works soon just so we could try it. And sure enough over the summer we made it to Nashville to visit my sister at Vanderbilt. While we were in town, we managed to make not one but two trips to Jeni’s!! You guys, it is SO GOOD! We were both saying how we think it’s the best ice cream we’ve ever had and we are some serious ice cream eaters. 😉“Jeni Britton Bauer opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002 with the singular goal to make better ice cream.” Jeni, my dear, I dare say you have succeeded. A love of art and blending perfumes at a time when she was working at a bakery drew her to the idea of artisan ice cream. She then opened her first ice cream shop, Scream Ice Cream, in Ohio in 1996 and hasn’t looked back since. I, for one, am super glad that she decided to get into this whole ice cream gig. Check out the About section of their website to read up on all the awesome things they are doing as a company, the wonderful ingredients they use, and the local growers / suppliers they partner with to bring together their delicious ice cream. They have the cutest little shops decorated just like you’d dream up an old fashioned soda shop – white subway tiles line the walls, the menu is written out on a giant chalkboard, there are little marble tables speckled throughout with French cane chairs and a church pew for seating. Little milk glass vases filled with fresh flowers sat on each table! Such perfect details. Totally adorbs! I was loving it!!Let’s talk about the menu though. Jeni’s doesn’t have a HUGE menu of flavors because she has crafted and perfected the ones she offers…but they still had a wide array to please everyone from something a little different like Wildberry Lavender or Mango Lassi to the classics done up a notch of course like Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean or Darkest Chocolate. They also have specialty Sundaes and Floats using their handmade original recipe sauces, which contain only a few simple, easy to read ingredients – read it’s not chock full of processed crap just like their ice cream. Their sauces include an Extra-bitter Hot Fudge, Honey Butterscotch (this was to.die.for), and Salty Caramel. Once you get up to the counter to order, a super friendly staff member will help you pick out your flavors and serve it up. They will also allow you to sample any of the flavors you’d like to and they do it all with a generous smile! Seriously, the staff were all so happy and friendly!Our first trip was later afternoon on a Friday and there was no line, so we zipped right through. I had to try the Wildberry Lavender (above) and underneath it what you can’t see was also a scoop of the Brown Butter Almond Brittle, which was outstanding. Well, both were outstanding. The Wildberry Lavender tastes like Fruity Pebbles, but BETTER. This is the Gooey Butter Sundae that the hubs ordered. It was Salty Caramel Sauce and Honey Butterscotch Sauce atop Brown Butter Almond Brittle ice cream with freshly whipped cream, an Amarena cherry, and a Convo Cookie. SERIOUS YUM!!! The flavors were SO DELICIOUS! Still dreaming about those sauces. That Honey Butterscotch was divine! And how cute is that waffle cone shaped like a fortune cookie??Staying in Nashville for two nights meant there was time and room in our bellies for a second trip to Jeni’s on Saturday!! We went late Saturday evening and there was a line out the door, but it moved quickly and we only waited about 20 minutes or so. This time around the hubs got a small cup with a scoop of Bourbon Salted Pecan and a scoop of Sweet Cream. I love how even when you order it in a cup, you still get a little waffle cookie to go with it!I had to try the Mango Lassi frozen yogurt and the Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean in a sugar cone!! The Mango Lassi was amazing, so creamy like ice cream even though it was technically a frozen yogurt and the flavor sent me straight back to our Thailand days of enjoying mango with sticky rice. But that Vanilla Bean was out of sight. So much yummy vanilla flavor and SO incredibly CREAMY!! My favorite things about their ice creams? They are not overly rich or cloyingly sweet, they scoop regular size servings (not gargantuan size scoops) so you leave feeling totally satisfied, but not gross. I was also shocked to learn that there are no eggs in their base! It’s all just the best quality grass fed milk that churns out those lovely, creamy ice creams! That’s some serious science. 🙂
Gah, how do I get Jeni’s to open a shop in Knoxville? I think I need some right now.
If you are in Nashville area, the 12 South location we visited is here: 2312 12th Avenue South and they are open daily from noon to 11pm. Parking is free for the first 2.5 hours at the 12 South Flats lot. (Enter on the north side of the building, between Emerson Grace and Savant.)