There are precisely 5 ice cream shops within a 5-mile radius of my house. That’s common in the Finger Lakes–ice cream shops everywhere you go. What’s not common, though, is genuine, made-from-scratch ice cream. At Spotted Duck Creamery, you will find exactly that… and it is the best ice cream you will eat, in the Finger Lakes, ever.
Actually, it isn’t just ice cream, it’s frozen custard–the most exalted of the different types of ice cream.
Brief lesson: frozen custard is generally smoother and creamier than typical hard or soft-serve ice cream. It’s different because of the addition of one ingredient: eggs (hence being called custard). Frozen custard is ice cream, but it’s regarded a superior product to just “ice cream.”
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you what’s up with Spotted Duck Creamery.
Behind The Scenes at Spotted Duck Creamery
I was invited on a behind-the-scenes tour of Spotted Duck, arranged by Chris at ExploringUpstate.com. The owners, Daniel and Elizabeth Hoover, showed us around their shop and farm, giving us a little background on the creation of their business and their unique product: Frozen Custard made from duck eggs. We even met their ducks–all 60 of them–while their kids helped Daniel collect eggs from barn.
It was a fun lesson in their process, and all the hard work that goes into making the best ice cream in the Finger Lakes.
To be honest, I haven’t tried all of the ice cream in the Finger Lakes. So, this is not an official distinction (although, why not? Maybe myFingerLakesNY.com should be the authority on this matter). But of the 5 ice cream shops near my house in Penn Yan (one of them being the most popular ice cream place in the central Finger Lakes region), Spotted Duck Creamery offers the best product, hands down.
Sidenote: the Hoovers have a flock of chickens that live together with their ducks. They get along like BFFs, isn’t it sweet? Humans, take note.
What Makes It So Dang Good?
Here’s the scoop: the frozen custard from Spotted Duck is made from duck eggs instead of chicken eggs. As explained on their website, “The increased yolk size makes a much richer flavor while the firmer whites are a better suspender, giving our frozen custard it’s signature creamy texture.”
So basically: it’s just better with duck eggs.
While the ducks get the spotlight for being the special ingredient, it’s a combination of all ingredients that make this frozen custard so unique. The Hoovers source all of their ingredients as locally as they can, and 95% of their ingredients are organically produced. In fact, many of their ingredients (including their duck eggs) come directly from their farm. They even make their own vanilla!
But it’s also what they do not allow in their churn that makes me appreciate their product. Things like artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, MSG and corn syrup are no where to be found.
That gorgeous purple color is a result of fresh, organic black raspberries. The flavor is to die for…
Besides frozen custard, you can also order an iced coffee mixed with a small scoop of their vanilla creme custard and topped with fresh whipped cream (also to die for).
Are ice cream sandwiches your thing? How about your choice of frozen custard flavor sandwiched between two homemade chocolate chip cookies? Or how about a sundae or a root beer float? They make those too. You can thank me later.
Behind the Scenes Video
Here’s a short video recap of our Behind the Scenes tour at Spotted Duck. The photos and footage in the video are a combination of what I shot, as well as Chris.
Taste For Yourself
Spotted Duck Creamery is located at 999 State Route 54, Penn Yan, NY 14527. That’s just a hair west of Route 14 in Dresden, if you’re familiar with the west side of Seneca Lake. If you’re coming from Penn Yan, take Clinton Street, which turns into Route 54. The Creamery is about 4 miles east of town.
They are open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 8pm.
They have a wide range of unique flavors, and you can buy a flight of four so you don’t have to choose just one. My advice is to try the Wild Shangri-La Berry (the gorgeous black raspberry purpleness featured in this post), Wicked Chocolate (amaaaazzing), and Emu Tracks for sure. Hot Mud is like a 2 act play… sweet and cold at first followed by a slow burn. You can find a whole list of flavors on their website (note some of their flavors are very seasonal and may be limited), along with a ton more information about their business, their ducks, and their story.