The Ohio Ice Cream Challenge
By Paola Santiago

The Ohio Ice Cream Challenge

Evidence that going on a road trip just to get a scoop of ice cream is totally worth it.

We scoured Ohio for someone with the gumption and resolve to tackle the Ohio Ice Cream Trail. Rebecca Ritchey, of Eating Books, surpassed our expectations and was a perfect champion at visits to Jeni’s Ice Cream, Johnson’s Real Ice Cream and Sweet Moses.

What was you favorite stop on the trail?

It feels like such a cliche to say, but it’s always Jeni’s. I think what’s great about this trail is that it allowed me to explore all the other great ice cream stops in Ohio, even going so far as Cleveland to find something new.

What’s fun was checking out the map and seeing where all these ice cream places were and thinking, “Oh, I’ve never really spent a day in Cleveland, let’s go there for the day and visit the ice cream shops.”

My go-to is Jeni’s and it’s comforting in a way to stick to what you know, but I really enjoyed expanding my horizons with the trail.

What was your favorite flavor?

I always try the samples, I try not to be annoying about it because I’m 30 not 12 but I really like the cream puff flavor at Jeni’s, though I always stick to the brambleberry crisp. Then at Johnson’s, they have really good mint chocolate chip, which is my childhood favorite, so that was perfect. At Sweet Moses, they have every classic flavor in the Terminal Tower, so it was fun to have a little flavor meld all in one bowl.

Were you able to finish the Terminal Tower at Sweet Moses?

I really thought I was going to make a decent dent in it, and it was just me and my boyfriend and we really thought we could do it! I ate a lot of it and it looked like I hadn’t eaten any of it, it just wouldn’t go away! It was a marvel, I think we gave it a good try but it’s definitely something you need to share with six or ten other people.

Why is Ohio ice cream different from other ice cream around the world?

I think that with everything in Ohio, especially in Columbus, it’s almost like we’re a testing ground of sorts — what we do, we try to do really well because what we like the rest of the country is going to like.

We have really great taste in Ohio and we make really great things that everybody all over the states loves.

Were to next on the Ice Cream Trail?

I think I might try to hit up Young’s Jersey Dairy next, that’s the famous one! I would like to hang out in Yellow Springs for a day and go eat ice cream too.

In an ideal world, what Ohio ice cream + food combo should exist?

That’s a hard one! There’s so many things that pop up in my head, but I think a really good one would be like a coffee beer with Jeni’s Ice cream to make a sort of affogato thing, that would be great.

What’s your favorite Ohio travel destination?

I almost want to go on Ohio.org and look things up — but I love Hocking Hills. It doesn’t seem like it’s in Ohio. I also love Clifton Mill, it looks like a Bob Ross painting. I love the Mansfield Reformatory, and the Shawshank Trail — that’s my favorite one! I love going around the city and the filming locations that’s really cool. I just love Ohio, all of it!

This Q&A was edited for clarity and brevity.

For more ice cream delights, check out Ohio.org and follow Rebecca’s food adventures across Ohio on Instagram!

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