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Ice Cream Chronicles (Pt. 7): Love Handel's

The store front in Toledo, Ohio
Mrs. 614orty-Niner and I happened to be on the road in Northwest Ohio when we found out it was National Ice Cream Day. Obviously, it seemed seemed to be a shame on a warm summer day to miss out on some frozen goodness just because we were traveling, so we looked for a solution that wouldn't take us too far out of our way. Luckily for us, Handel's was around to save the day.

Handel's was originally established in 1945 in Youngstown in the northeast portion of Ohio. Alice Handel would produce her ice cream using old-fashioned recipes and fruit from her backyard and sell it out of her husband's gas station. Since then, Handel's has grown to thirty-plus stores spread out across six states, with two of those locations within the Columbus metro area.

Their ice cream has received "Best Of" commendations nationally, including prominent media outlets like People Magazine and USA Today. According to the company website, all of their ice cream and yogurt is produced fresh daily at their stores. The stores themselves have maintained a very distinctively-designed ice cream stand motif, with occasional exterior variations like their stores in California.

Just some of the many flavors available
If you want anything ice cream related, Handel's pretty much has it. Scoops, cones, sundaes, cakes, pies and pre-packaged pints are available, as well as creations like the Hurricane (very much akin to Dairy Queen's Blizzard) and a Handel Pop, which is a scoop of ice cream coated with a hard chocolate shell propped on a wooden stick. Handel's boasts about 100 flavors overall, including limited-edition and seasonal specials and occasional creative names like "Spouse Like A House" (malted vanilla ice cream with chocolate coated pretzels and peanut butter) and "Graham Central Station" (graham cracker ice cream with graham cracker chunks.)

With their sign touting a "Christmas in July" special, my spouse couldn't resist getting one of her favorite flavors, peppermint stick. I went with two scoops, with one of my standards (butter pecan) and one suggested by the friendly young lady manning the store (coffee chocolate chip.)

One thing we noticed immediately was how quickly the ice cream started to melt. Indeed, Handel's is by far the smoothest and creamiest of the ice creams texture-wise that we've had, and the melting only enhanced that mouthfeel.

Soft, smooth and perfectly melty
My spouse very much enjoyed the peppermint stick, but by far the star of the show for both of us was the butter pecan. This version was the definition of why I came to love the flavor so much as a child: big chunks of pecans with a base that combined the right amount of salty with sweet. This version basically blew any of the other butter pecans I have tried recently out of the water. Unfortunately, the coffee chocolate chip, the scoop at the bottom of my bowl, probably got the short shrift; there was nothing wrong with it, but by comparison to the butter pecan, it had no chance to impress.

There's an iconic ice cream picture motif that almost always brings a smile to all: a child enjoying his ice cream, with melted ice cream both coating their lips and cheeks, and little streams of their frozen treat flowing onto the hand grasping the ever-increasingly soggy cone. If I had to pick one ice cream out of those I've tried so far to put on that cone to get outcome, Handel's would be my nominee.

Of course, that's not the only scenario I would personally grab myself a scoop or two of Handel's. I mean, who needs unnecessary limitations in their life?

Handel's Ice Cream (location visited)
5908 W Sylvania Ave (Google Maps)
Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 882-1118

Columbus Metro Locations
5665 Feder Rd (Wexford-Thornapple - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43228
(614) 853-4464

399 West Olentangy St (Google Maps)
Powell, OH 43065
(614) 336-3813
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