French Pot Ice Cream

Graeter's ice cream is made in a French pot process. The ice cream mix is placed into a chilled, spinning French pot. As the liquid freezes, a worker scrapes down the sides of the pot with a blade. For flavors that include chocolate chips, liquid chocolate is poured into the pot, and freezes into a thin shell on top of the ice cream. A worker uses a blade to break up this shell and mix it into the ice cream, resulting in Graeter's' famous huge dark chocolate chips.

Each batch of ice cream is only about two gallons and is thus very labor intensive. The resulting ice cream is so thick that it must be hand-packed into pints. The ice cream is sold in pint containers at Graeter's stores, and at food markets, including Giant Eagle grocery, Kroger, also a Cincinnati-based company, King Soopers stores in Denver, Colorado, and at Heinen's Markets in Cleveland. Because of the small batches and high amount of labor involved, Graeter's pints are more expensive than other brands of premium ice cream, such as Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs.

In an article on the ice cream industry, The New York Times pointed out that for reasons of chemistry not yet understood, ice cream made in small batches is far superior in taste to factory-made premium brands like Häagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's. This article went on to say that “...the ice cream most connoisseurs feel to be the best in the world, Graeter’s of Cincinnati, is made in two gallon batches."[1] Like most super-premium ice creams, Graeter’s has a high butter fat content, between 16 and 18%. On her show in July, 2002, Oprah Winfrey said: "You haven't had ice cream till you've had Graeter's. The butter pecan is Stedman's favorite, and mine, too." The company was then overwhelmed with phone and Internet orders.

Graeter's stores also receive ice cream in two-gallon tubs, which they scoop to make ice cream cones, ice cream sodas, and milkshakes. Graeter's also sells its ice cream online, and offers fresh baked-goods and hand-dipped chocolate.
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