What began as a conversation about Nutella-flavored ice cream turned into what will forever be known as the "Frozen Dessert Tour of Starkville."
For over a week, the ice cream-loving Sissons planned where we would go and what we might like to try at six locations throughout Starkville.
The plan was to eat our way down Highway 12, to the Mississippi State University campus and to the final stop, Local Culture. It was decided that since frozen yogurt, frozen custard and snow cones must be part of the adventure, but not officially ice cream, the tour was called, the "Frozen Dessert Tour."
The fun began with "real food" — lunch at Sweet Pepper's Deli. We discussed upcoming birthdays for nieces, Georgia Sisson, 12 as of June 17, and Maggie Sisson who will be 8 on June 27. The new "My Little Pony" collectibles, Barbies and cell phones were discussed as current and potential birthday presents. Attending the birthday adventure/Frozen Dessert Tour of Starkville were Georgia, Maggie, my husband Pepper, the girls dad, Mitch Sisson, and my mother-in-law, Sandra Sisson. Christy Sisson, the girls mom, attended lunch and the final stop.
Maggie passed out colorful foam necklaces she made the day before. It was a sweet way to start off a sweet day.
The first stop down Highway 12 was at Baskin Robbins. Being the first stop, we were all a little hesitant about getting a big dish. Everyone purchased a kids cup: Mitch had the Flavor of the Month — the Toffee Pecan Crunch; Sandra had a scoop of Key Lime Pie; Maggie, Georgia and Pepper had a scoop of Wild and Reckless; and I had a scoop Pink Lemonade Ice. All of the flavors were a big hit. Georgia said the Wild and Reckless was "sour, fruity and thick" — but she loves a sour flavor.
The next stop was Sno Biz Shaved Ice. The variety of flavors were fun and unusual. I was too chicken to try Bullfrog in a Blender, but had strawberry. Maggie and Georgia had Lemon Lime sno cones; Sandra had a Fuzzy Navel sno cone; Pepper had Wild Thing; and Mitch had Cotton Candy. Georgia said hers was "tart, cold and crunchy." Maggie said the lemon lime was "very tart." Pepper said Wild Thing was "good good." The snow cones were definitely a nice transition from ice cream to frozen custard at Bops.
The older crowd was not very adventurous at Bops, but we will not make that mistake again. Mitch, Pepper and I had a scoop of chocolate frozen custard, while Sandra had a vanilla cone. Maggie had a Mocha Chocolate Ya Ya and Georgia had a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Concrete. Maggie said her Ya Ya had a chocolatety-coffee aftertaste. Georgia said her concrete was "creamy, cold and chocolatety."
Mitch was the first to surrender. He claimed he had to go back to work. After finishing Maggie's Ya Ya, he was done for the day.
The next stop was Cold Stone Creamery. Sandra took a break, but Maggie and Georgia couldn't resist Gummy Bears mixed in Country Time Pink Lemonade Sorbet. Pepper had a scoop of chocolate. I had a scoop of Birthday Cake, my personal favorite Cold Stone flavor. No one got the Nutella ice cream, despite the inspiration for the day's event. Georgia said her dish was "creamy, tart and the Gummy's were chewy." She loved it.
Everyone was a little sluggish by the time we arrived on campus. We arrived at MSU's MAFES Sales Store, employees were working on the freezer units. The ice cream freezer was full of ice cream, but none of us were able to have a taste. Georgia bought MSU Peanut Butter and Maggie bought a bag, but all of our plans to taste MSU's Cookies and Cream, Muscadine and Cherries Jubilee, will have to wait until next year.
We took a side trip to the Cullis-Wade Depot on campus to walk around a minute before going to the next stop. I wanted Sandra and the girls to see the Wade Clock Museum. We were lucky enough to meet Harold Rone, who stops by once a week to wind all of the clocks. If you stand at the very back of the museum, you hear all of the clocks ticking at once. It is quite a unique experience.
We got our courage up for the final stop, Local Culture. The break was just what we needed, because everyone had the biggest bowl of "frozen dessert" of the day. Sandra wasn't brave enough, and I just had a small taste of California Tart.
But Pepper got a huge bowl of the brightest orange dessert I have ever seen. Georgia had a Kiwi-Raspberry combo with vanilla sauce, Mango sauce, granola, chocolate chips and Gummy bears. Maggie also had the Kiwi-Raspberry combo with granola and Gummy Bears.
We were all tired and had enough "frozen dessert" to last us all until the weekend.
Everyone had a favorite. Pepper loved the orange dessert at Local Culture. Georgia loved her creation at Local Culture. Maggie's favorite was "Wild and Reckless" at Baskin Robbins. Mitch loved Maggie's Mocha Chocolate Ya Ya at Bops. Sandra loved the Fuzzy Navel snow cone at Sno Biz. And I loved the Birthday Cake ice cream at Cold Stone.
Everyone had a great time. What a wonderful way to celebrate the girls' birthdays. But if we are brave enough to do this again next year, we will do things a little differently.
A few tips for those brave enough to take the tour:
• Start earlier in the day and take a lunch break mid-way through the adventure.
• Walking breaks after every second stop would make things settle better.
• Small bowls are a good thing.
• Buy water to drink as you drive to the next stop.
• Don't be too adventurous with questionable toppings. Try one new flavor at a time.
• Don't be afraid to try something new.
• But tried and true favorites are a comfort when your taste buds have been over-exposed to too many new flavors.
• Focus on the fun. Who can have a bad time if you are eating "frozen desserts?"