Friday, September 30, 2016

Hans' Homemade Ice Cream in Anaheim

Not pictured: baseball for scale.
Anaheim Packing House is a food court for foodies: a giant skylight ceiling pouring in natural light, indoor/outdoor seating, two floors of a dozen-ish kiosks with takeaway food options and a half dozen (or so) sit down places offering everything from the poutine of the far north to the down home cuisine of the low country to the pho and bahn mi of the far east. This hot spot takes all the pros of a food truck rally (minus the trucks themselves, of course) and gives it an artier spin. Even dessert seekers have plenty of unique options to choose from, whether waffle creations or peach cobbler, Italian ice or gelato/sorbetto popsicles, fruit-covered snow ice or boba tea topped with cotton candy sculpture. But in this wonderland of tres chic tastes, it is Hans' Homemade Ice Cream that takes home the prize.

A black-and-yellow sign, white tile and two standard issue ice cream freezers make Hans' look simple at first glance. But the product being offered is more complex. Dark Cherry is indeed dark, bold with cherry and rich with chocolate. Nutella Crunch is a light ice cream with a wallop of chocolate hazelnut flavor. (The expertly chosen "crunch" is Kit Kat wafers, since Baci is more of a gelateria thing.) These two scoops my parents and I shared* were noteworthy enough by themselves, but the drumstick ice cream cone we had was game-changing.

Oh, yes, there is more than just hand-scooped ice cream at Hans' Homemade Ice Cream. 

Off to the side of the aforementioned ice cream freezers is what looks like a pastry display case, but cooled to freezing temperatures. Inside are a variety of tasty creations, including pre-made drumstick ice cream cones. After being filled (and stacked high) with ice cream--vanilla, chocolate, or Cookie Butter--the cones are dipped in chocolate. We went with the Cookie Butter drumstick rolled in cookie crumbs and we each had audible reactions of wonder upon first bite. Cookie butter, the American name for the Belgian-invented speculoos spread, is already an incredible flavor by itself but, until Hans' Cookie Butter ice cream, all ice cream concoctions I'd eaten of this type had either fallen flat or been too oily. I was glad to have this unfortunate streak broken by a dessert that has set the bar very high for all other speculoos frozen desserts to come. I only wish my stomach had been larger.

Hans' Homemade Ice Cream also has a location in Santa Ana.

*After several scholarly samples, of course.