If you aren’t already aware from strolling by your grocery’s freezer case, we’re in the middle of an ice cream revolution. Big-chain groceries are making efforts to allow small, local producers on the shelves next to the corporate guys. Smaller “specialty” grocery stores fill their freezers with only the most haute of ice creams. Vegan! Organic! Unique flavor combinations! So, you buy a carton or two for the weekend, perhaps Sundae Sunday action, knowing that you cannot forget the toppings. That shelf is the one that hasn’t changed. Thin, sugary syrups that vaguely taste like chocolate or caramel; hot fudges that make your teeth hurt; and colorful, yet tasteless sprinkles. Enter COOP’s MicroCreamery out of South Boston, Massachusetts.
Started by Marc Cooper in 2010, COOP’s drippy-lidded cans have been gracing the shelves of New York City’s specialty grocers for a few years, but I was hesitant to pick up a jar. You see, hot fudge is my ultimate weakness, and I am very picky about what will and will not top my ice cream. A few friends insisted that I try COOP’s, before they won a Specialty Food Association SOFI award at the 2014 Fancy Food Show. The rich fudge in the jar turns into thick, liquid chocolate when warmed for a few seconds. It reminds you of those first times you had hot fudge as a child, when the extra chocolate was still novel, an extra bonus to your sweet treat. It’s apparent from the fudge’s smoothness and lack of cloying (or teeth-hurting) sweetness that COOP’s uses high-quality deep, dark chocolate with the perfect amount of the right sugars.
For their vegan version, COOP’s replaces the cream and butter with coconut cream and coconut oil. The result is phenomenal, as rich and dark as the original, but with a more grown-up, sophisticated taste because the cream doesn’t dilute the chocolate flavor as much. And to not leave out the caramel lovers, they have a salted caramel topping. The perfect shade of tan-brown, it is pourable sugar sunshine right out of the jar. Upon tasting, I was instantly reminded of New Orleans’ salty-sweet turtles or the best homemade sauce without the mess and fuss of boiling sugar.
COOP’s MicroCreamery’s products are available in specialty stores around the country and via multiple online retailers.