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Ample HIlls Creamery Hype overwhelms reality

One of my neighbors had been marvelling bout how the prosperous local stroller set was clusttered around this new store eating candy and cookie flavored expensive ice cream. Massive media campaign surrounded its opening and then closing. Well I gave it a couple of months, and then my son came to town and we decided to try it. We had originally decided to try basic flavors - vanilla, say,(me) and chocolate (him). Instead we wound up with the enthusiastic recommendations of the seller, for me a cup of icecream that supposedly tasted like bananacream pudding with cinnamon (bananamon, I think) and a triple chocolate concoction for son.

My banana ice cream did not even read like ice cream or banana cream pie or pudding as described - it was heavy, sludgy and and doughy - like somehone had compressed wetted vanilla wafers with sweetened milk, banana and tons of cinnamon . this texture was throughout the scoop, not merely in lumps interspersed in the cream No creaminess at all, or egginess, for that matter.and only a mild banana flavor.

Son wanted chocolate - and didnt get it. The icecream featured a white chocolate base with brownie dough lumps and small pieces of dark chocolate - he said it didnt even read as chocolate(

Price was high - 1 scoop in a cup - 1 scoop was more than either of us wanted however.

Maybe I will go back and try the simple ice cream (how can they mess that up?) , but I think there is a serious lack of culinary judgement here - an adult should be called in!.

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Ample Hills Creamery
623 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

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  1. Sad to hear that. I have been meaning to try this place, but was going to give it some more time (to avoid ridiculous waits). We are big fans of Blue Marble and I thought this might be of similar quality. Maybe someone can weigh in on more successful flavors?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Olive123

      Ample Hills has more "creative" flavors than Blue Marble, and has a few flavors I really like, but is not remotely close to them in the sophistication of flavor.

      Personally, I think Blue Marble's strawberry ice cream might be the best ice cream ever made. By anyone. Anywhere. Ever.

      (Except maybe not the strawberry they sell in pints -- it seems to have a different, fluffier mouthfeel. I think they pump air into it to save money.)

    2. I went here and had the salted caramel ice cream and it was good--slightly too sweet, but with a decent bitter edge and great texture. Someone I know also raved about cinnamon.

      However, both these flavors are smooth and not what I think of as "ben & jerry's style chunky with everything thrown in" flavors. So maybe they fall down on those.

      Did I think it was better than blue marble? No. But I would go back.
      Have yet to try Van Leeuwen, so can't compare those.

      1. I've enjoyed all the flavors I've tried, with the favorites being the malted milk ball and the peppermint pattie, which I think is the best. I think consistency is excellent, but I do find all the ice creams to be a little excessively sweet.

        As for Van Leeuwen, Miss Masala, I've had it a number of times from the truck. Mostly, I give it high marks, but even though I like the smooth style and am not usually looking for ice cream crammed with stuff, I don't understand why a strawberry ice cream, for instance, wouldn't have any strawberries in it. Fine strawberry flavor, mind you, but I miss the actual fruit.

        1. Except for the cracked caramel, the ice cream at Ample Hills has more of a well made low-fat yogurt taste than a rich ice cream base. Even the added flavors seem to be muted somewhat. Blue Marble seems to get it more right in terms of base & flavor, IMO.

          1. "Ample Hills Creamery"?!? Is the name some sort of reference to breast milk? Maybe that explains the issues with mouthfeel.

            2 Replies
            1. re: guide boy

              cute but I believe its a reference to the "ample hills" of Brooklyn from a poemby Walt whitman.

              1. re: guide boy

                It wouldn't be the first time the "secrete" ingredient was used for general consumption...a place on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea served home-made cheese with mother's milk - took a lot of flack.

                That said, could easily have sugar-free scoops.

              2. Reminds me a lot of Humphrey-Slocombe in SF. Plenty of sass and hype, not a whole lot of quality (H-S is decent, AH not even). Definitely no creaminess at all.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Luther

                  Yeh, Van Lewan and Ample Hills are not really high on my list.. I purchased a bunch of different flavors from the truck to bring to a dinner party.. No one in the room was impressed.. Ample Hills, I tried a couple of times after jogging in Prospect Park.. If you don't like an ice cream after running 5 miles in the park, when the hell are you going to like it.

                2. Based on all the raves, I went to their outpost at Brooklyn Bridge Park at lunch today to see what all the fuss was about, and ordered a cup of the butterscotch pudding ice cream. It was OK, no real butterscotch character, flavor seemed to lack a finish. Using Bassett's or Graeter's as a standard, Ample Hills underwhelmed.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: albinoni

                    have had their salted crack caramel ice cream a couple times since my initial pan of the place. Unlike the first items sampled it was wonderful...I particularly appreciated their selling me a child sized portion (a true single scoop)

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Is this the same Jen Kalb that we (Charlie and Helen) knew back in the '90s from the St. Marks Block Assn. Garden? We lived on Plaza St and had a plot there!

                      1. re: albinoni

                        hi yes, still in the orchid business? check out the garden if you get back to the old nabe - Im not involvedbut its totally thriving,, ..even has bee hives these days.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          Yes, orchid biz is doing well. I bike in Prospect Park during lunch hour, one day I'll ride by and poke my head in. We have gardens in the backyard, unfortunately we are plagued with deer, it's a struggle to keep them from eating everything. That's great about the bees--I have two hives of my own!

                          1. re: albinoni

                            deer are a great reason not to move to the burbs to garden. horrific pests. good to hear from you!

                  2. I agree entirely, although they win geographically due to their proximity to the playgrounds in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Boring, but fine.

                    Has anyone tried Hay Rosie yet? I found the consistency to be great -- super creamy, perfect temperature -- but the flavors frankly underwhelmed (lemon bar was good, but not strong enough, and I can't even remember what the other one we got was since the jimmies on top masked any flavor the ice cream may have had). That said, I was impressed enough by technique to give another shot and I've heard raves about the sage chocolate chip.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lambretta76

                      Unlike you I found the lemon bar to be lemony enough although perhaps a bit on the sweet side. The tomato feta swirl with a hint of basil was wonderful. Based on one visit, a zillion times better than Ample Hills.