Oct 052011
Authors: Greg Mees and Erin Udell

Greg Mees-Pioneer Candies & Ice Cream

I can honestly say that there is nothing in the world that I love more than a good bowl of ice cream.
All of my friends can attest that I eat more ice cream than a person probably should. It’s one of those things that if I don’t have it every day then I get cranky.

So when I moved to Fort Collins a couple of years ago, I knew I had to be on the lookout for something to fill my sweet-tooth addiction.

Pioneer Candy and Ice Cream on Harmony Road is one of the best ice cream shops I’ve ever been to.
There’s such a good variety of flavors to chose from at this old-fashioned joint. All of the ice cream is made in-house, and they have the usual ice cream favorites, as well as some unusual flavors that’ll punch you in the taste buds.

If you are looking for an extreme, out-there flavor, then get a scoop of the Mexican Chocolate. It’s a chocolate ice cream base, laced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper that makes for one spicy, cold treat. There is something about this that keeps me coming back for more.

If you’re in the mood for something less intense, the Coconut Almond Fudge will do the trick. With the first spoonful, it tastes like you’re taking a bite out of an Almond Joy.

Now, I’m obviously picky about my ice cream. I don’t like nuts or fruit in it, and I like it to be really creamy. I’m not saying it can’t ever have anything to give it some texture, but more often than not, there’s something about frozen chunks that make me cringe.

With the Coconut Almond Fudge, the almonds are in small enough pieces to where it doesn’t detract from the overall appeal.

This parlor doesn’t stop with just ice cream. They offer a wide range of home-made candies as well, with toffee being the star.

While Erin Udell will disagree, the unique flavors and the local atmosphere makes Pioneer Candy and Ice Cream the best place in the Fort to find a sweet treat.

Erin Udell- Walrus Ice Cream

When thinking about rivals, I’ve always pictured two dusty cowboys facing off outside of a saloon in an old frontier town, guns drawn and eyes wild.

That’s why, for this week’s rival edition of “Eat Up and Drink Up,” I couldn’t get the image of a walrus in a 10-gallon hat out of my mind.

Walrus Ice Cream, a popular Fort Collins shop located at 125 W. Mountain Ave., has always been the big shot in town, offering homemade treats since 1987. And while, if asked, most people would point tourists in Walrus’ direction, there’s a new guy gaining popularity and threatening our way of ice cream eating.

Pioneer Candies and Ice Cream, located at 2350 E. Harmony Road, also has homemade ice cream while offering items like toffee, fudge and chocolates.

Now, Greg is probably going to babble on about ice cream consistency, flavor range and whatever else his weird foodie brain comes up with. But don’t listen to him — I never do.

As a rival, I’m sure Pioneer is a super nice guy, but let’s face it, there’s only one sheriff in town.
On my recent trip to Walrus, the girl behind the counter was friendly and helpful, letting me be obnoxious and sample several different flavors. I ended up having a scoop of chocolate thin mint, which was delicious and refreshing.

But, while offering a tasty and ever-changing menu of flavors, Walrus is also part of the community. When I asked my roommate, who grew up in Fort Collins, how long she’d been coming to the shop, she responded, “As long as I can remember.”

By offering school tours through their ice cream-making department, posting children’s walrus artwork and keeping a community bulletin board, the famous shop has a unique and homey feel.
And that’s why it’s such a great Fort Collins staple — Walrus means something to customers because customers mean something to Walrus.

After everything I’ve heard from my friends and colleagues, the general consensus is that both Walrus and Pioneer offer quality homemade ice cream and good service. So, in the spirit of friendly competition, I think this town may just be big enough for the both of them.

Visual Managing Editor Greg Mees and News Editor Erin Udell can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:43 pm

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