We were excited to find a couple flavors of Oberweis we'd been eager to try, including Birthday Cake, on sale last week at a local grocery. Living with a cake and icing connoisseur, I accepted the fact that I was second in line to try this flavor and eagerly awaited our resident expert's opinion.
Oberweis is a regional brand based out of the Chicago area that has been around for 99 years. Oberweis describes their ice cream as "produced with fresh milk and cream delivered from the family-owned dairy farms that produce exclusively for Oberweis Dairy. Oberweis Ice Cream is Made with a minimum of 18% Butterfat making it a much richer product than many of the so-called super premium national brands". Some purveyors tout artisan techniques, all "natural" ingredients, even fair trade practices. Well, Oberweis is proud to say that if their base had any more fat it would churn into butter. Our base has more fat than the others. For a lover of rich, high butterfat ice cream like me this is just my speed.
This regional powerhouse cranks out at least a dozen flavors in unassuming black containers with limited description or fanfare. They are available at grocery stores and their dairy stores, which are well worth a visit for the milkshakes, sundaes and chocolate milk.
Our resident expert was initially disappointed that this was not the icing you'd find in a fine French bakery (dare to dream), and more like the icing you'd spell a kid's name with on a birthday cake. In some sense, they nailed it! We agreed that it captures the essence of birthday cake and ice cream, and does so with a much richer base than what you'll get at junior's birthday party.
You can see the tapestry of colors in the photos. The texture, however they concoct it, is as perfect as it looks. They are no stranger to using gums and additives that would give artisan producers and natural food fanatics an aneurysm.
A key to enjoying this to its full potential is to have the patience to let it temper fully so that the flavors emerge. That is very challenging once you set eyes on this visually stunning concoction. This is one of the best versions of this theme we've encountered. Light ice cream aside sheet cake doesn't stand a chance against this.
Where Elliot Found It: Straub's Market
Elliot's Grade: B