About the bonus flavors of these Graeter …
Growing up, Graeter means that ice cream isn’t a treat – it’s a given.
But when you talk about Graeter’s ice cream, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Bob Graeter is one of Graeter’s three partner owners and the founder’s great-grandson. “You know, when you’re around something all day, everyday – it doesn’t necessarily have to be as special as if you get it just for the occasions you celebrate,” he says.
For the record, his favorite Graeter flavor is vanilla. This is the second member of the Graeter family to tell me this, which means that at some point I have to tear myself away from the mocha chip and try it out.
We all tend to have our favorites – the ones we’ll order every time. But the Graeters are experts at how to get something new to catch our eyes. And our taste buds.
Graeter’s flavors fall into several camps: there are ones you see every day, ones that come back monthly or seasonally – and bonus flavors.
The last bonus flavor, pralines and cream, just announced on Monday, with new ones revealed every two weeks during the summer. Trying them out is what I like to call “field research”.
The process of choosing the bonus flavors is quite intense. There are always around 20-25 ideas in the Graeter’s hopper for potential candidates, based on food trends and research. Graeter says, “All of these things come together to develop and inform a bonus flavor concept. We will make 10 or a dozen each year and review them in-house. “
It’s a taste test for you and me. It’s also the kind of internal review I’d like to be a part of.
Some flavors work so well that they earn a spot as a bonus flavor. Some privileged are called from there in the big leagues.
Caramel macchiato is one of them. It evolved several years ago from a discussion with Xavier’s students. As students usually do, they love overpriced coffee drinks. Bob says they brought the discussion back to Graeter’s headquarters. “What can we do around the coffee drink (caramel macchiato)? Well, the caramel and the coffee … and then what kind of inclusions would work? So the flavor evolved from that relationship. “
Caramel macchiato started out as a bonus flavor and was so popular that it got its permanent residence on the Graeter’s menu board.
But its popularity may have to take a back seat to this season’s first bonus flavor, black raspberry and cream cookies. “Put black raspberry in anything and it will sell,” says Graeter. “This is the best received bonus flavor we’ve ever had.”
As new flavors emerge, others will disappear from the menu (maple cinnamon crunch lovers, take it while you can). “Every flavor has its admirers – with 30 flavors plus half a dozen more in store, you can only keep what’s really moving,” says Graeter. “It’s a continuous evolution of taste.”
Graeters ice cream can be made in French jars the same way it was 150 years ago, but the family is still learning, explaining more, refining more. “You kind of have to change over time, to keep up with what people want,” Bob says, noting that you can get the scoop on the next bonus flavor by signing up on his app.
It’s a far cry from an artisanal treat reserved for summers in his great-grandfather’s Walnut Hills store.
Now skip the vanilla.
Kathrine will let go of her mocha chip obsession for the buckeye chip if she feels shameless. Catch her over coffee break with Kathrine on weekday mornings at 10 a.m. on The Enquirer’s Facebook page. You can also sign up to receive his weekly email newsletter at cincinnati.com/newsletters.