Even with the chilly temps we’ve been experiencing lately, there’s always room for a little ice cream. Penny Lick Ice Cream Company is a local favorite of ours in Westchester County and we recently reached out to Chef Ellen Sledge, also known as The Ice Cream Lady, to learn about the inspiration behind this sweet company.
FP: We like to treat ourselves to ice cream once in awhile. How did the concept of Penny Lick come about? Where can consumers find your ice cream?
ES: My background is in pastry, primarily in restaurants. Fine dining restaurants generally make their own ice creams for their desserts, and I have made lots of ice cream! When I thought of launching my own brand I knew I would have stiff competition from other small brands. So I committed Penny Lick to being as artisanal and natural as possible. Our dairy is pasteurized but not “ultra-pasteurized” and come from small farms in the Hudson Valley. We have wonderful relationships with lots of NY farmers, from whom we source the majority of our ingredients. We never use artificial stabilizers or emulsifiers or extracts or food colorings. Our ingredients list is old-fashioned for our industry, and exactly what we feel it should be: premium heavy cream, cream lined whole milk, egg yolks, cane sugar or local maple syrup or honey. A “penny lick” is an old fashioned style of vending ice creams, pre-dating ice cream cones, where customers were served a lick of ice cream out of tulip shaped glassware from a push cart. We don’t use the glassware, but we do use push carts! You can find our carts at Stone Barns, farmers markets such as Hastings, Irvington, Bronxville, and at countless festivals and events, such as Stone Barns Harvest Festival or the 92nd Street Y chocolate festival. We’re working on more locations soon, which will be listed on our site and social media.
FP: We love your local commitment and look forward to seeing Penny Lick in more locations!
Looking at the website, Penny Lick sure has some delicious flavors! What are some of your favorite toppings or flavor combinations?
ES: My favorite flavor combinations: Hot fudge and anything, butterscotch and anything, popcorn and peanuts, and blond chocolate. (If you’re unfamiliar, that’s white chocolate, slightly heated in a pan or oven first-turns a golden color and releases a caramel aftertaste.)
FP: Blond chocolate sounds delicious!
When you go out to eat, name some of your favorite places in Westchester County or other places you’ve visited.
ES: We love to travel. We don’t always have the time, or budget, but we make the most of what we have. Most of our family trips are spent visiting family and friends, most often my husband’s huge family in Hawaii. When we get there, we go straight to Leonard’s in Honolulu for malasadas (Portugese donuts ); my favorites are filled with lilikoi (passion fruit) custard. In Hawaii we love to cook with family, or get take out from Korean BBQ spots or Tamashiro Market. My husband travels for work; sometimes I meet him for an extended weekend. Our last long weekend was in Nice and Monte Carlo. We ate at Keisuke Matsushima in Nice – best meal of my life! (Oh, and best Italian meal of my life outside of my grandmother’s house was in Addis Ababa!) When we do get out, we always go to a great restaurant and get the tasting menu. Mostly, we cook at home. Our kids are a bit young, a bit loud, and not incredibly adventurous eaters. Yet.
FP: Ice cream is one of our guilty pleasures. What are some of yours? (if any)? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name. 🙂
ES: I make popcorn almost every day. I prefer red wine, but I love really oaky Californian Chardonnays paired with buttered movie theater popcorn. And once in a while, my husband and I have champagne and caviar for dinner. It’s an expensive tradition, so we save it for either an exceptionally great day or an exceptionally bad day.
FP: We hope there are more good days than bad!
When you’re not busy operating Penny Lick, what are your hobbies/interests? What’s a day off like for you?
ES: I’m at the stage in my life where I have little time for hobbies. I have a wonderful husband and three children (Madeline is 11, Sebastian is 8, Adelaide is 5), and we recently moved my 93 year old grandmother into a nursing home a mile away from us. They all get dibs on my free time, and I am quite happy with that.
FP: Sounds like you have your priorities in order indeed! Thank you so much for your time. We’re ready for a scoop of Penny Lick (Roasted Strawberry for Allen, Ethiopian Macchiato for Kristina) right now!
If you’re interested supporting Penny Lick, they have an open crowd funding campaign for a new truck and packaging running ’til early March. Learn more here!