Bonjour, fellow foodies! We are back to food-columning again after a sabbatical year spent in Paris, where we trained our taste buds and refined our palettes. We know you missed us! Now we are back, we are seniors and we refuse to accept that summer is coming to an end.
So naturally, we took this weekend’s beautiful weather as a sign from above that we were meant to eat ice cream cones. The Charmery, arguably the best ice cream parlor in all of Baltimore, has been on our list since it opened in July 2013. Although a reasonably new establishment, The Charmery looks as if it has been a neighborhood gem for decades. With its exterior decorated in plain blue and white stripes and old-school cartoons of ice cream cones, it’s easy to just walk by this corner spot (although a giant sparkling ice cream scooper does hang over the door and there is typically a long line waiting outside...).
The interior is similarly low-key with handwritten flavors on the glass in front of the ice cream and a plain red-counter top bar which divides the parlor. It has a classic ice cream shop vibe, but its eccentric flavors give it a distinct edge that fits the Hampden crowd perfectly.
The flavors offered at this charming joint reflect all that is right about Charm City. And when we say that, we are referring specifically to the Fat Elvis, Old Bay Caramel, Maryland Mud and Berger Cookies and Cream. Elvis, whose doppelganger statue can be spotted outside of Café Hon in Hampden, was famous for his love of PB&B, so of course we love it too — and can have it at The Charmery in one delicious flavor, consisting of peanut butter, banana and marshmallow for added flair.
The Old Bay flavor is a must at any place capturing Baltimore’s spirit; after all, Old Bay seasoning was founded in the area and is Maryland crab’s better half. Maryland Mud was delicious and rich, swarming with Oreos and chocolate chips in its dark chocolate base. And finally the Berger Cookies and Cream. Who doesn’t love a good cookies ’n’ cream flavor? And when it’s made with Berger Cookies instead, who can resist it? For those unfamiliar, the Berger cookie is a Baltimore legend (intense chocolate frosting on thick cakey cookie) and brags the titles of Best of Baltimore and Best Cookie in 2011. In November 2013, the cookie’s future was placed in jeopardy by the FDA’s proposed ban on trans fats. We know those are bad for you, but Berger cookies are too darn good and we’re glad they’re still around (FYI you can buy them at UniMini... Warning: addiction may occur).
As if you needed any more convincing, now we must talk about the cones. The Charmery offers sugar or waffle cones, instead of the typical sugar or wafer choice. The waffle cones are made and pressed throughout the day in the back part of the store, but their delicious smell wafts throughout shop and even down the street, attracting any living creature with a working nose. Irresistibly fresh, the cones are both crunchy and soft and the perfect complement to the homemade ice cream. So put your typical cup/cone preferences aside and just order the waffle cone. You’ll thank us later.
It goes without saying that we were fans of our ice cream cones and we are fans of this place. We could go on and on about the intricacies of the flavors (OMG the chewy Berger cookie bite mixed into the creamy churned ice cream, and with that cone THAT CONE... Don’t get us restarted), but really we recommend you go and see for yourselves. A trip to Hampden is such a great mini-excursion and campus get-away, and who doesn’t love supporting a shop run by a passionate husband and wife pair who met at summer camp?! Not only that, but The Charmery supports local farmers when possible, so all you green advocates better check it out!
And finally, the magic spoons deserve a mention. What are magic spoons, you ask? They have these awesome heat-sensitive spoons that change color in your ice cream. We certainly enjoyed them as much as the little boy in line behind us.
If you can’t get over to The Charmery before summer runs out, don’t be disappointed! We hear their signature hot chocolates are amazing with homemade whipped cream and flavored marshmallows. We’ll certainly be stopping in for a taste. Until next time! Happy eating, tout le monde!