I generally do not have a sweet tooth. I don’t regularly crave cookies, or donuts, or brownies, or chocolates. I’m not big on cake, or cupcakes, although I’m always polite at a party and eat them, obviously. It’s rare that I crave something sweet at all. Unless…it’s ice cream. Which, naturally, I blame my father for. I mean, don’t we blame most of our vices on our parents? I suppose it isn’t so much a vice as it is a guilty pleasure. Of which I indulge in regularly. As in, I currently have 4 different types of Halo Top Ice Cream in my freezer. It’s true what they say: “save the bowl, you’re going to want the whole pint.” That good.
So back to blaming my dad for this dependence on ice cream: Every Sunday evening, for the majority of Sunday evenings during my childhood, we went to Dairy Queen. (I grew up in a very small town in Indiana, and Dairy Queen was always a hot spot on a humid, summer night.) Without fail, my dad ordered a medium chocolate dip cone. He was an expert at keeping up with it so that the ice cream didn’t drip down the cone and the chocolate didn’t break and fall off. Amy, my younger sister, typically got a slushy of some sort, the kind that turns your lips, teeth, and tongue a vibrant blue (or red, or purple, etc.). For me? It was a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard. I would pick out all of the bites with cookie dough and then be thoroughly disappointed when I was left with a third of the cup and not a single soft, chewy morsel. (I still do this.) My mother stayed at home, having zero sweet tooth, not even for ice cream. Genetics are a miraculous thing.
There are plenty of chains and stores-with-freezers in town that do just fine when the cravings hit. But, recently, Rhea’s Ice Cream opened shop in New Braunfels and the rest is history. Rhea’s Ice Cream has been primarily based out of San Marcos, right up the road, our lovely neighbor. In addition to having a storefront, the locally inspired, small batch ice cream is also sold out of the Root Cellar Cafe, another epically delicious and original eatery, cafe, and brewery in San Marcos. In fact, it was at Root Cellar that I tried Rhea’s Ice Cream for the first time – Caramel Sea Salt.
As mentioned, a second shop was opened in New Braunfels and so…THANK YOU TO ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD, because I am one happy girl! The ice cream is unconventional, in the absolute best way. The flavors range from “Frosted Circus Animal Cookies” to “Big Red” to “Avocado Coconut.” And unlike a chain ice cream shop, it is all made from scratch. In fact, the business itself was founded on a true love and passion for homemade ice cream. It is made small batch, so you know the ingredients are fresh, resulting the most wonderful consistency and flavor. It is truly heaven on a cone, or in a cup, whichever you prefer.
Having been there several times now, the sense of pride in this brand is apparent by those who work there, they are super friendly. They encourage you to taste all of the flavors (on cute, tiny metal spoons) because, if you’re like me, it all sounds good and you would like to have a giant heaping bowl of one scoop of every flavor.
It is obvious I have an appreciation for food, and this ice cream is no exception. But I also have a deep adoration for old spaces. Especially old spaces that are inviting, trendy, and adorable (in a simple, not trying too hard, way). Walking into Rhea’s Ice Cream, you can feel the nostalgia before you taste it in their ice cream. It feels cool, like groovy cool, and not only because there are freezers.
The shop itself adds to the experience of enjoying their amazing ice cream flavors: like “Raspberry and Goat Cheese”, or “Strawberry Nutella”. Or both. On one cone.
It is also worth mentioning that they have ice cream to meet dietary needs! My boyfriend is lactose intolerant(ish) and they have vegan ice cream that is, as the name implies, dairy-free. (We are not vegan, but if you are, I am very, very proud of you and Rhea’s Ice Cream has vegan “Vanilla Bean” and “Mint Chocolate” waiting for you in their cute little freezer).
I am in love with this shop and hope she stays here for many moons to come. Live local and shop local. Support small businesses that are working hard to provide you with the simple pleasures in life – homemade, small batch, glorious ice cream.