Judging by the success of premium handmade ice cream ranges in recent years, the Irish palate must now be educated to expect nothing but the best. In the Kilkenny area alone, you’ll find several and Nigel and Carol Harper’s Cramers Grove Ice Cream is one of the best. They feature on menus at many of the region’s leading restaurants and, once tasted, you will want to seek them out.
Made from the milk and cream produced by their own dairy herd on the family farm just outside Kilkenny city - with a dairying tradition going back to 1860 - the secret of this brand’s success is that traditional methods and ingredients are used in small batches, and no shortcuts are taken.
Both the dairy ice creams and the other products they make - sorbets and frozen yogurts - are all true ‘free from’ foods, with no artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives or other additives. With the emphasis on fresh natural ingredients, including both exotic and seasonal fruits, the flavours are memorable.
They make about forty flavours (although not at the same time) and some of the most irresistible are classic Vanilla (Madagascar), Pistachio and Baileys Brown Bread; the sorbets include refreshing champagne and luscious mango, and there are several flavours of frozen yoghurt including blackberry and strawberry - and also a diabetic range.
Cramers Grove have a retail outlet Treats by Cramers Grove at The Goods Shed Market, MacDonagh Junction in Kilkenny city, where the complete range is available as well as a full café menu - with ice cream desserts, of course, like knickerbocker glory and icecream sundaes.
You can also buy tubs of Cramers Grove products at selected stores including Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Waterford; Blackberry Café, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny; and Knockdrinna Farm Shop, Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny - and their ices are sold at Kilkenny Castle Park and Parklodge Café at The People’s Park in Waterford.