Where does one start when writing a Petaluma ice cream guide? First and foremost, I will warn you that there was no clear-cut “winner.” Everyone on my food crew had their favorites, but Petaluma produces a lot of great ice cream, so what we ended up with was a bunch of great ice cream choices. However, I will reveal which flavors seemed to rise to the top of everyone’s list.
There are few “foods” more universally loved than ice cream, and its cousins, such as gelato. So I have to admit that with six locally produced ice creams, I am a bit ashamed that it took me so long to think up this assignment. Luckily, everyone on my food crew is a fan of ice cream, so we were well equipped to dive into the 50+ flavors we accumulated in preparation for our master tasting. In no particular order, they came from Petaluma Creamery, Three Twins, Straus Family Creamery, LaLa’s Creamery, Clover Sonoma, Fru-ta, and Petaluma newcomer, Mariposa Ice Cream.
To say I am an avid ice cream fan would be an understatement. Rabid fan might be a more appropriate description. I can quit anytime I want, but I certainly cannot think of a good reason to do so. In fact, I like to say that the day is split into two distinct timeframes. There is the time I am having ice cream and then there is the rest of the time, which is when I am thinking about ice cream, on my way to get ice cream, coming back from having ice cream, or dreaming about ice cream.
A quick note on calories is appropriate at this juncture. Contrary to how good it tastes, ice cream is actually not all that high in calories. When compared to a can of Coke, a cookie, a candy bar, or even frozen yogurt, an ice cream craving should not set off any caloric intake warning bells. Another nonsensical is the idea that the weather somehow should dictate my ice cream intake. Rain, shine, hot, cold, I do not care. It is never a bad time for ice cream.
Needless to say, I was like a kid in a candy store as I headed into Petaluma Market to begin this endeavor. I was only looking for local delights, but alas, even those are so vast and varied that my budget would not allow me to buy everything. With plenty of Clover, Straus, and Three Twins to choose from, I selected flavors that either piqued my taste buds, or that I thought would give us a nice mix of flavors to choose from. And by “flavors to choose from” I mean the order, not in totality, because personally, I would be trying every single flavor. Both the checker and bagger proclaimed that my purchase was the thing that dreams are made of.
After leaving Petaluma Market, we were off to Mariposa Ice Cream, which as luck would have it, was having one of their rare warehouse sales. With no retail outlet, the majority of Mariposa’s business is wholesale, catering, and special events, so catching them selling their overflow is a special treat.
Owner Pilar McGoldrick-Bernard comes from the world of corporate sales, but as she approached 53 years old, just so happen to read Jess Jackson’s book about how when he turned that same age, he left a successful law practice and started what would become one of the most successful wineries in the country, Kendall Jackson.
Where to find them
621 Western Ave, Petaluma
Straus Family Creamery
134 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma
Plaza North Petaluma
Mariposa Ice Creamery