two spoons - ultimate no more (Asheville)
just a bit of info for ultimate ice cream fans in asheville. two spoons has switched vendors and is now using greenwood ice cream out of georgia. unfortunately, i can't say it's as good as ultimate.
my wife and i tried 6 flavors (vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, cherry, espresso chip and tart lemon sorbet) over the past week, and we just weren't wowed. the espresso one was the best, the sorbet was overly sweet and downright boring, and none seem as creamy or flavorful as ultimate. also, serving size has been skimpier, while prices remain the same.
bit of a disappointment as we were looking forward to their reopening and our neighborhood ultimate fix. while i wish two spoons well, i guess i'll revert to haagen-dazs from the grocery for the quick (cheaper) fix and resume cross-town treks for the good stuff. at nearly $10 a pop for our normal order (2 split singles in waffle cones), the new stuff just doesn't cut it.
Two Spoons Ice Creams
721 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
I'm sure they did this to get a bigger margin on their ice cream as I'm guessing it would be harder to mark up the Ultimate and make enough profit to run a seasonal business, and that I understand.
What bugs me is that they had the contract producers in Georgia imitate some of the specific flavors made by Ultimate, which seems wrong. Who knows, maybe they asked permission.
Anyway, none of that matters if the new ice cream doesn't taste good - and to me that is the case.
I read in some news article somewhere (ice cream preview in Citizen Times or Mountain X?) that Two Spoons had a new machine, maybe this is a transitional step on the way to making their own.
my social circle (mainly westsiders, therefore once regular customers) is pretty disappointed as well, so i know it's not just me & my wife. even some of the kids (not usually the pickiest eaters) have noticed the difference & said something about it - one was sorely disappointed in the cherry-vanilla, which used to have dried cherries but now features maraschinos.
the other thing that really irks is the blatent attempt in their literature to continue to cash in on the "local" trend. the pamphlet we picked up says something about being produced "right down the road in sunny georgia". obviously, they knew they'd get flack for dropping the superior local producer for a trucked in variety, and attempted to spin it. unfortunately for them, i, and most of the people i know, are pretty good at geography. even if it's made in clayton, ga (about the closest ga town to asheville) it barely falls within the 100-mile local rubric. and since they don't specify where it's made other than ga, i'm guessing it's not in clayton. (edit: i just looked up greenwood creamery. it's in atlanta. outside of any of my defintions of "local".)
hope you're correct about two-spoons getting into the production end of it, but they've hurt their business in the meanwhile with this decision. most of the people i know have said they won't go back unless the price-point comes way down since it's not special anymore. right now, it's about $10 for 2 split singles in waffle cones; their current product is more in the $5-6 range. i don't see how it improves profit to have a higher margin if you have to reduce price to retain clientele.
i hope ultimate has the weekend staff to accomodate us cross-town trekkers.
good news for west side ultimate fans. the west village market carries up to a dozen flavors of ultimate in pints. not as much fun as going to the local parlor for a cone & walking around the neighborhood, but we took a couple of spoons with us & did a variation on that theme. how do you know you're a chowhound? you take your own spoon to the ice cream instead of waiting to get it home :)
As the owner and operator of Two Spoons Ice Cream in West Asheville, I wanted to add my information to this conversation.
At the end of 2009, Two Spoons took a hard look at its previous two years of business and made a very difficult decision. We love Ultimate and Kevin and Lucia, the current operators. But the prices that they were able to offer us on wholesale ice cream made it literally impossible to continue to use their product. We were operating at loss every single year. Our options were to either close Two Spoons permanently and lose our entire investment and have the community lose a fun, kid-friendly environment, or to find a different provider for our ice cream. After much searching, we found Greenwood Ice Cream. They currently sell Ultimate Ice Cream the ice cream mix that Kevin turns into flavors at his shop. So we were able to carry high grade 18% butterfat ice cream from the same original source as our starting vendor.
Since the costs for Greenwood are less, we lowered our prices at the beginning of this year. Sizes have not changed at all. We still weigh our scoops to the exact same amount as before, but we have passed some of our saving on to our customers.
We tried to keep flavors as close to our original list as possible as to not disturb our customer base. Maple Bacon was created specifically for Two Spoons, so it made sense to continue to have it made by Greenwood. We no longer carry Mystic Chai since that was an Ultimate Ice Cream flavor to start and it seemed inappropriate to copy that from our friends on the east side. Most of our other flavors were already being made by Greenwood and we were happy to see that we could continue to provide many people's favorites.
Local is such a hot topic right now that yes, we are trying to let everyone know that it isn't a very long trip to get our ice cream to the shop from the original maker. But to be honest, the cream for all the ice cream in Asheville comes from all over the mid-west and southeast, and whether it is frozen here or frozen in Georgia makes it only slightly more local in my humble opinion.
We are working out the kinks of our new ice cream provider. To the families that were bothered by the maraschino cherries, please rest assured that it was only ordered once and will never cross our threshold again. All our ice cream is made with high butterfat cream, real sugar, real flavors and served with real love.
It will always be cheaper to go to Ingles, or where ever and buy a pint of ice cream and eat it on the street. What Two Spoons has tried to provide, and strives to continue to provide is a great meeting place for family and friends where your kids get to have some fun, you can relax on the back patio and you feel the community vibe that we love. That, in our minds, makes it still very special.
Marissa & Chad Brooks
Two Spoons Ice Creams
721 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
re: momma m
I'm not a citizen of Asheville but I wanted to chime in and commend the owners of Two Spoons for their contribution to this discussion. Their post is informative and very reasonable. It is also a helpful reminder to us customers about the kinds of decisions business owners face, and to guard against jumping to conclusions. I especially appreciated the point about the sourcing of the cream.