Here’s the scoop: Holy Cow wins national contest | Local news

It was a sweet win for Holy Cow Ice Cream Cafe in a national ice cream competition earlier this month.

The ice cream maker, which operates stores in Gloucester, Peabody and Salem, took home the top prize and several others at the North American Ice Cream Association contest in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 10.

Not only did Holy Cow’s “Ritzy AF” Salted Butter Cracker Ice Cream that’s loaded with house-made Ritz Cracker Toffee Bark win National Flavor of the Year and Northeastern Flavor of the Year, but their ice cream also won. lemon stuffed with homemade lemon bars. third place.

The company also earned a Blue Ribbon Award for its Chocolate flavor and Red Ribbon Awards for its Vanilla and Strawberry {span}—{/span} flavors, all crafted by owner Mike Schifino and his team.

“It’s great because this was the biggest turnout they’ve ever had for this,” Schifino said. “There were more submissions, more samples to judge, so it’s exciting that we’re able to come out on top with great ice cream.”

The frozen treats were judged by food scientists from Cornell University. They conducted microbial tests and rated the desserts based on flavor, body texture, and color. Holy Cow polled their Instagram followers on which flavors to submit ahead of the competition, with “Ritzy AF” taking the cake (or, in this case, ice cream).

The shop has taken runners-up titles in the competition in the past for its Lemon Cookie flavored non-dairy ice cream and the Millionaire Shortbread flavor which was created in collaboration with Gloucester-based Bakery Cake Ann. This year was the fourth time Holy Cow had entered the competition, but the first time it had taken home golden ice cream.

Schifino never thought he’d win an honor for his ice cream when he started, let alone ever make dessert.

He originally purchased the Holy Cow location on Pleasant Street in Gloucester to rehabilitate the building’s apartments. He learned that an ice cream parlor had occupied his first-floor store more than a decade earlier and decided to give the business a second life.

Holy Cow opened in 2014 under the same name as the original store. He started out selling just Richardson’s Ice Cream, but over time, Schifino added ice cream sandwiches made with homemade cookies and sold wacky flavors he and his team created.

They were a success, Schifino said. Before long, the menu was put together entirely by the Holy Cow staff.

“During COVID, things really got better,” he said. “People were traveling from far to buy our pints and we went from scoops to making pre-made pints and all that typical COVID stuff.”

Holy Cow expanded to 86 Andover St. in Peabody in 2021 and opened a seasonal store in Salem Willows last spring.

“We couldn’t keep up with what we were doing anymore,” Schifino said. “We found a place (in Peabody) where we could make more ice cream with a bigger operation and bigger equipment.”

Holy Cow’s success can be traced back to its team, Schifino said. and the operation could keep getting bigger.

“We want to keep improving what we currently have and we definitely want to keep reaching out to other communities,” he said.

Contact Caroline Enos at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.

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