What a tough job this was, going to the Cows Creamery factory on the North River Causeway in Charlottetown and forcing ourselves to try 25 kinds of ice cream. According to the Director of Sales & Marketing, Whitney Hooper, no one (bloggers/media) had ever attempted such a thing.
We MOOtivated ourselves first by taking a tour of the Cows Creamery factory. Anyone can take the free tour, but we were fortunate enough to be guided by Whitney. As soon as you arrive at the store/factory you walk through the doors into the brightly lit store and the aroma of freshly baked waffle cones take over your nose. The store is brightly lit, and is filled with Cows punny t-shirts, mugs, stuffed animals, raspberry cordial, Cows Creamery cheese, butter, chocolate covered potato chips and of course ICE CREAM!
Now before I tell you about the tour, Adam wanted me to put as many cow/cheese puns in here as I possibly could. I didn’t know if we should because it’s udderly distracting, but he pretty MOOch insisted that I do that. I argued we have journalistic standards, but he cud not believe that I was being so black and white. Hopefully, you don’t get feta up with it.
First up on the tour was watching the printing press for the world famous Cows t-shirts. When we say world famous, we mean it. You can see people wearing these shirts anywhere in the world. They are incredibly popular. Cows t-shirts used to only be worn by staff but customers loved the shirts so much, they started marketing them to customers. Production Manager, David Arsenault says on average they print on average 3000 shirts a day. The t-shirts are hilarious MOO versions of popular tv shows, characters, and movies. For example, there is Cow Wars, Dr. Moo, Austin Cowers, Moonions, Hello Cowy and Cowton Abbey – just to name a few.
Cows Ice Cream
Next up on the tour was ice cream. Whitney explained to us that Cows Creamery opened their first store in Cavendish in 1983. They use cream only from Prince Edward Island cows and they try and source local as much as possible in the process. For example, all of the strawberries and blueberries in Cows ice cream are from PEI farmers. The recipe for Cows Ice Cream dates back to the 1800’s. The ice cream is slow churned and 16% butterfat is used, along with fresh PEI eggs, and sugar. You notice right away when you taste Cows ice cream that it is thick and it doesn’t break down in your mouth right away. That is because the ice cream is not exposed to very much air when it is made in small batches. It is not whipped like other ice creams are.
As Adam and I watched the employees making ice cream in their little glass room, my mouth was watering. A man was pouring caramel into the machine. I asked Whitney if I could go into the room and have the caramel poured directly into my mouth. She said no because you have to wear special gear to go in the ice cream making room. She looked at me funny, and then laughed like I was kidding. I was not kidding. The thought entered my mind that perhaps I could become a Cows ice cream maker and just pour the caramel into my own mouth. Not the worst thought.
Whitney explained to us that Cows employs 55 full-time workers and 250 seasonal workers. That night they were having a staff party where the office staff scoops the ice cream for the staff that work at the Cows locations throughout the island. Kara MacLeod is a UPEI student that is spending her 7th summer working for Cows. She told us that she is getting her business degree and will hopefully keep climbing the ladder at Cows.
Cows Creamery Cheese
To say that I am a fan of cheese is an understatement. I pretty much live on cheese because it is so gouda. I love most cheeses, preferably melted and the MOOre the better! As we approached the “Cheese Cave” at Cows Creamery, I had visions of grilled cheese, cheese toast (yes they are different!) and cheesy pizza. However, the “Cheese Cave” is cheese that is aging. It was neat to see the cheese wrapped in cheese cloth and getting mold on it. I didn’t really want cheese after that, but I understand why my precious cheese must age with a little mold on it. Everything with age gets better, right? It takes 12-18 months for the cheese to age. I’m not going to lie. I was hoping Whitney would go into the cheese cave and cut the mold off and give us a piece. That did not happen. Not all wishes come true. Again, the thought entered my mind that perhaps I could get hired at Cows to become the caretaker of the “Cheese Cave” and sneak into the cave and fill my mouth with cheese at random points of the day.
Photo provided by Cows Creamery
Here is a Cows Creamery cheese fact. Their cheese is traditionally made how the Scottish would make cheese in the caves of the Orkney Islands. Cows Creamery founder, Scott Linkletter, visited Scotland to find out exactly how his ancestors made cheese. Another cheesy fact – Cows sells 80 thousand kilos of cheese per year. Just this past April they won Canada’s Best Cheese at the Canadian Cheese Awards and in 2015 they placed in the top 16 of the World Cheese Awards. Way to Brie!
Cows Ice Cream Sampling
And now the exciting part! We got to sample 25 Cows Creamery ice cream flavors. This included 2 of the 4 new flavours they are introducing this summer -Pistachio and Cookie MOOnster. Cowconut Cream Pie and Peanut Budder Boom were not out yet. Darn. We will have to go back. Trying 25 flavors of ice cream is tough work. Whitney provided us with Cows own brand of bottled water so that we could cleanse our palate between ice creams. The pressure was on. How could I rate coffee ice cream in front of Whitney when I knew I couldn’t stand the taste of it? I actually just waited until she wasn’t looking and tossed the sample spoon in the garbage. Shhh. Don’t tell.
We definitely had some favourites out of the bunch. Adam seemed to love any flavour that had different types of candy bars in them. Wowie Cowie, Mooey Gooey, Moo York Cheesecake and Chocolate Monster were are favourites by far. When you walk into Cows for the first time and wonder, “what flavour should I get,” those four flavours are our top recommendation. Here are all of the ice creams that we tried with full descriptions and our personal ratings out of 5.
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Which flavour of Cows ice cream do you think you would like most?
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