Dorset Food & Drink

Where to Get the Best Ice Cream in the Blackmore Vale

There’s nothing like a refreshing ice cream on a hot summer day (or at any time of the year for that matter). Across the Blackmore Vale there are innovative ways of making the most of local dairies to churn ice cream and create some of the tastiest products around. We naturally had to investigate further.

Several villages and towns across North Dorset have had a visit from Child Okeford based Arctic Cow with its distinctive bright blue truck. If you haven’t chosen your favourite flavours and watched the ice cream being freshly rolled by now, you’re in for a treat. Mother and daughter Marlene Ottewill and Nicola Baker run the business which has diversified during the pandemic. Nicola explained: “We used to go to all the festivals but with the lockdown all that stopped. It took us a while to think out of the box and then we got an invitation to operate from a farm shop and at Town Meadows in Gillingham. The word spread and now we have a rotation to villages and other attractions in North Dorset. It really gave families something different to do in the lockdown.”

The range of flavours is mind boggling and part of the fun is choosing and watching your ice cream being created. Nicola says there is no one standout flavour but they do a lot of strawberry, Nutella, and Oreo.

Milk vending machines have sprung up all over Dorset in the lockdown and sell a range of products. Ice cream is made on the farm at Madjeston Milk Station from their own dairy herd milk. You can buy a tub while being watched by one or two of the doe-eyed Ayrshire herd and if you can’t wait until you get home there are benches outside. With zero food miles and a range of flavours, there’s no excuse. I’d recommend the chocolate honeycomb or rum and raisin- well all of them actually.

Until I visited an ice cream parlour in Sherborne, I had no idea there was a difference between gelato and standard ice cream. Ecco Gelato Owner, Phillipa Tarling explained:“Gelato is churned slower than ice cream so it is denser and softer. It is made using more milk so has less fat content than ice cream. Gelato is served warmer than ice cream at -12c.”

The bright pastel coloured parlour instantly makes you feel as though you are on holiday and there’s a second one recently opened in Shaftesbury. All the gelato is made on the premises and they even do a product for dogs from rice milk. As expected, there’s a range of flavours to dip into from mango to Jaffa and sea buckthorn.

If you feel like a treat this summer, do check out the locally made ice cream and gelato in the Blackmore Vale. You will support local businesses and the dairy industry -and reduce your food miles.

Rachael Rowe

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