Ice cream has got to be one of my favorite summer treats. When I was a kid, on the weekend we used to drive into town to my favorite ice cream spot, a repurposed old street car turned ice cream shop. I would look forward to it all week. Every time I would order strawberry ice cream in a sugar cone. I was committed to that flavor and rarely tried anything new. As an adult, I’ve become a bit more adventurous with my choices. As long as it doesn’t taste of black licorice, I am all for trying it, which is where this chocolate cherry ice cream recipe comes in.
When I lived in Victoria BC, I used to regularly hike up a small mountain called Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park. It was a pretty strenuous hike. I remember the first time I hiked up, I swore to myself that I was going to get into better shape so that I wasn’t so out of breath when I reached the top. By the time I left Victoria two year later, I could have made it to the top of that mountain in 30 minutes running. My motivation partly stemmed from wanting to be in better shape and partly because the faster I could make it up and back down the mountain, the faster I could get ice cream from Ice Cream Mountain located near the entrance of the park. My favorite ice cream from that little stand was the dark cherry. It was sweet and tart with big chewy pieces of cherry in every bite. I’ve never quite been able to find ice cream as good as that little stand.
A few years ago I was spending way too much money on ice cream, so I decided to buy an ice cream machine to cut down costs. In actual fact, it just led to me making and eating more ice cream. I really wanted to try and recreate that cherry ice cream from Ice Cream Mountain. I’ve made so many batches of cherry ice cream, tweaking ingredients, adding more cherry syrup, less cherry syrup, but it just never tasted right. Until one day I realized that the key ingredient to a good cherry ice cream is almond extract! Since my discovery, I have finally been able to perfect my chocolate cherry ice cream. Aside from the almond extract, the other key ingredients to a good cherry ice cream are perfectly sweet and juicy cherries. Stemilt’s sweet dark cherries were absolutely perfect for this recipe.