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Food Fight: Who has the best ice cream in town?

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Graeter’s: by Regina Squeri

Although I am from Cincinnati, that does not mean that I am biased in favor of Graeter’s — at least I don’t think so. To me, it is simply common sense.

I am not completely putting down Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The Columbus ice cream company is a worthy opponent. Very close… yet no cigar.

First, Graeter’s chocolate chips are the best, hands down. Its chips are made of frozen fudge. It literally freezes giant hunks of chocolate fudge and breaks them apart into little pieces — or giant chunks! I am crazy about chocolate and fudge, and anyone else who is should undoubtedly agree with me about the superior ice cream company.

Secondly, while it may not have all kinds of crazy creative flavors, like “Lavender Pumpkin” or anything like that, Graeter’s does the classic flavors better than anyone else. It has been in the game since 1870, so to me it is the unquestioned master of artisan ice cream. Jeni’s is great, but it still is a young company and are still figuring stuff out — like its little listeria incident. Graeter’s is a veteran.

Third and finally is Graeter’s famous signature flavor — black raspberry chip ice cream. Of all its amazing, mouth-watering flavors, its best is the black raspberry chocolate chip. Anyone who is still on Team Jeni’s, or is on the fence, should refrain from refuting me until they’ve tried it. After they’ve had the rich, heavenly black raspberry ice cream paired with chunks of fudge chocolate, I dare them to look me in the eye and tell me that Jeni’s is better.

Jeni’s: by Hannah Herner

Last winter, I walked into Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in the Short North. I was alone and feeling sorry for myself, possibly because I made a special trip to sit and eat ice cream alone.

“I like your glasses,” one of the young and trendy employees said.

I often think back to that sad winter’s day and how a trip to Jeni’s Ice Cream changed my whole attitude.

Jeni’s is about more than just eating ice cream. It’s an experience. I find sanctuary under the pom-pom garlands and strings of light, inside where the walls are decorated by beautiful portraits of ice cream.

Coming from small-town Ohio where all the ice cream destinations close in the winter, Jeni’s always brings the feeling of summer. As a child, I even named my Build-a-Bear Jeni in honor of a fall trip to a scoop shop in Columbus.

The employees are always happy to offer an excessive amount of samples, complete with a description of the ice cream upon handing you the spoon. I like to know that the homemade ice cream is made from the milk of Ohio cows, the vanilla is fair trade and the flavor is inspired by “white chocolates commonly served at Southern weddings.” In addition, getting a glass of cucumber water and a free waffle cone wedge upon each visit is an added bonus.

Jeni Britton-Bauer is a genius businesswoman. Introducing a cohesive line of flavors each season — complete with visuals — challenges customers to try them all, and creates a sense of urgency in the limited time.

I am fully willing to pay more than $5 for such an experience, just as I am willing to spend a stupid amount of money on concert tickets. Happiness isn’t free.

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