Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Find - Blue Bell Creameries Parlor

If I were to ever feel guilty about eating ice cream, it would be today. Thank goodness I don't know what ice cream guilt feels like.

At promptly 10am, I walked through the doors of the Blue Bell Creamery in Sylacauga. Now if you aren't completely sure where our shop is in Sylacauga, I can walk out the front door and see the Blue Bell facility about 2 blocks north of our showroom(in other words, close enough that I could walk). Our current location has been open for just shy of two years now and I embarrassingly admit that this was my first trip to Blue Bell. I wasn't avoiding it on purpose of course- I just knew that after one time, they'd have to lock the doors when they see me coming. It's no stretch that I'm and ice cream-aholic.

My trip was mildly planned. At about 9am I emailed Mindy Grier at Blue Bell and warned her that I was going to be there and to lock the freezers. Mindy is the Administrative Manager and she warmly agreed to meet me and chat for a while. She handled my request very graciously considering I wanted to show up in less than an hour.

Can you believe the sky? How blue?! The weather here is quite nice today. Perfect for ice cream, I must say.

Mindy proceeds to give us a snippet of the tour offered to guests- as someone that barely announces my attendance, I was impressed. When you arrive at the creamery, much of the manufacturing is visible from the parlor and country store area. Since much of what they do is a secret, I couldn't snap any photos. Let's just put it this way... as we stood in front of a large window into the packing part of the facility Mindy said, "The kids love this part." I quickly replied, "I love this part!"

As we stood there, what appeared to be the Homemade Vanilla ice cream was being packaged in the traditional half-gallon cartons. Workers busily and seamlessly moved about, seemingly unaware of the volume they were producing. I asked exactly how much ice cream to they produce- 52 half-gallons per minute. We were there 40 minutes give or take.... that's over 2000 cartons! This year, our Blue Bell creamery will produce over 11 million gallons of ice cream.

If you are in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Kentucky, the Blue Bell Ice Cream in your local grocery was born here in Sylacauga.

This is in the main hallway of the tour. Everything shown here is made at the Sylacauga creamery. See that orange bucket on the left? Georgia Peach and Homemade Vanilla.... heaven.

Of course, I had to know if Mindy had tried them all- she explained that she has certainly tried. Apparently, there are freezers and cases in the employee break areas. Maybe I should've asked for an application?

The parlor, country store and creamery receives 18,000 visitors a year, but Mindy says this year well over that number will tour the facility.

Who cares that it was only like 10:30am, I was getting ice cream. The parlor 24 flavors at hand and it is the real deal, as close to the churns as you can get. Cake Batter is my weakness, and I'd never tried Blue Bell's version. Ate every bit.

Mindy was even our scooper- it was easy to tell that she is multi-talented.

The parlor was a flashback to a different, slower time where one can truly enjoy a local delicacy and visit with friends. I hear the after-school crowd fills the parlor quite well.

If you happen to be in the central Alabama area, or will be travelling through(or like us, are SO close all the time) make sure that you stop in and visit.

The parlor is open 9am-4:30pm Monday through Friday and if you'd like to have one of the guided tours(about 45 minutes) they are available by appointment on those days from 9am-1pm. General admission is $3 and $2 for seniors and kids. Don't fret about your costs, you get a dish of your favorite flavor at the end of the tour.

Just want some ice cream? 50 cents a scoop and you can eat all the ice cream your tummy can hold.

Blue Bell Creameries
423 North Norton Ave.
Sylacauga, Alabama 35150


Make sure you tell them that the gang from Cupboards sent you!

1 comment:

  1. Bluebell, "The Little Creamery in Brenham, Texas," was born in the great state. I am so confuzzled....


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