We have reached peak artisanal ice cream. Honeycomb Creamery in Cambridge not only makes the preserves that go into varieties like sweet corn with blackberry jam, they create the canvas. “I love the fact that ice cream is kind of like a blank slate. We pasteurize our own base so that gives us more control over the ingredients that we use and allows us to customize our recipes to be a little bit more specific to what we want to do,” says Kristen Rummel, who opened the shop with her husband, Rory Hanlon, last year.
Rummel says that before the shop opened, back when they were selling at farmers’ markets, she would get a lot of requests from people on special diets. Whether a customer is vegan or lactose-intolerant, she says they want to offer them more than “lemon or mango sorbet.”
“I did a little bit of research in figuring out the best way to replace fat — because that’s the biggest issue with making ice cream dairy-free — there aren’t very many fat substitutes. Coconut cream, a very thick homemade cashew milk, and cocoa butter are what we use for the most part as our [vegan] base,” says the shop owner, who also makes a homemade brown-rice milk base for those with tree nut allergies. Their traditional base uses dairy from Jersey cows at Mapleline Farm in Hadley.
And at Honeycomb, fancy frozen desserts get decked out in high-end accessories to match. Buttery waffle cones (which can also be found as dipping chips on the ice cream sampler, or folded into tacos on Tuesdays) are rolled up in flavors like vanilla, chocolate, or matcha. “It is a bit of a process to make the waffle cones, it’s not just whisking together a few ingredients and then calling it a day,” says Rummel, a trained pastry chef and former kitchen manager at Union Square Donuts. “It’s going to be painful when I say it — we make roughly 6 to 8 gallons of batter of every day.”
The creamery also crafts its own gummies, marshmallow sauce, cookies, magic shell, and every other accouterment on the menu. “Part of the fun of ice cream is being able to customize and build your own sundaes and having many different and unique options to add to your ice cream, especially when we do flavors that are a little bit out of the ordinary. Being able to provide toppings that go with our flavors, we thought that would be fun as well.”
Honeycomb Creamery, 1702 Massachusetts Ave. , Cambridge, 617-714-3983, www.honeycombcreamery.com