Disclosure: I was invited to attend an influencer event to learn more about Milkcraft in West Hartford, Connecticut. I received no compensation for this post. All thoughts are based solely on my own taste buds and experiences; all photos remain my own.
It doesn’t matter the time of year. It doesn’t matter the time of day. Ice cream has the amazing ability to bring a smile to the faces of multitudes. Having a bad day at work? Ice cream. Boyfriend broke up with you? Ice cream. Kids brought home excellent grades on their report cards? Ice cream. Date night? Ice cream. Bored? Ice cream. Ice cream is the answer to so many of life’s circumstances, and Milkcraft delivers some of the best you can get in the state of Connecticut
When Milkcraft opened in West Hartford in the summer of 2017, it was an instant hit. The Farmington Avenue location is in close proximity to both Ben & Jerry’s and Sweet Frog, but it didn’t matter–Milkcraft brought something unique to the table, and West Hartford has been eagerly eating it up ever since.
The idea for Milkcraft originally came from a trip to Italy. Utilizing fresh ingredients (and local, when possible), your ice cream is made to order, right in front of your eyes. The use of food grade liquid nitrogen and constant churning with a mixer enables them to create an incredibly smooth and fluffy ice cream. This flash freezing at -321F prevents the development of larger ice crystals, which would otherwise make ice cream coarse and grainy. It’s a little bit of molecular gastronomy, right in your neighborhood ice cream shop!
The best part? You are completely in control of building your ice cream. You start with the decision of which carrier vehicle for your ice cream destination: a creamee bun (a warm, glazed donut, sliced in half, just waiting to be stuffed with your ice cream of choice) or a Hong Kong style bubblecone. Bubblecones are waffle cones, only way better. They’re freshly made in irons as you order, and they’re simultaneously soft and crunchy, willingly absorbing your ice cream as you eat, enhancing the experience exponentially. There are 3 flavors from which to select: original, red velvet, or churro. Oh, churro… they smell divine!
Next is your ice cream flavor. Blue Cookie Butter is one of their most popular–a speculoos cookie flavor with a blue tint, sure to betray you if you’re trying to hide the fact that you stopped by for a cone on the way home from work (your mouth will be the same color blue after). The menu can be found online, on the wall, and on menus left on the counter for you to peruse while you wait. Sometimes there are seasonal flavors–currently, there are not. Milkcraft is known to offer a special flavor of the week to sample something new they’re working on, so they can gauge their customers’ response. It’s important to them to have what their customers want! Some of the flavors have certain combinations of toppings that automatically are included, but you can always add more. Why not? You’re already there for a treat!
What stands out, besides the attention to fresh and fabulous flavors, is the decor. Milkcraft is a very ‘grammable shop. The chalk board art is absolutely beautiful. The vintage feel of the lights, black-and-white tiles, and leather couch are cozy and comfortable. White subway tiles, rough wooden boards, a raw edge bar at the front window… It’s difficult to eat a cone without pausing for a picture. (If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen the evidence of this every time I’ve visited Milkcraft!) Also, I’m super partial to the massive mirrors with the bright yellow frames. They add a little roominess and levity.
What also makes Milkcraft different is their late hours. Open year-round, you can grab a bite up until 11PM Sunday-Thursday, and until midnight Friday-Saturday. In fact, the late-night culture is a bit legendary, with great beats meant to get you moving, in a location accessible to so much of what’s going on in West Hartford. I really need to make it a girls’ night here soon!
If bubblecones and creamee buns aren’t your thing, you can have your ice cream served by the scoop in a cup. You won’t find shakes here, but you can order an affogato. One of Milkcraft West Hartford’s Assistant Managers, Leanne Brennan, recommended Vietnamese Coffee or Vanilla ice cream for a fabulous fall or cold evening drink. And if you have dietary restrictions, there are gluten-free flavors, as well as one dairy-free: the strawberry sorbet.
Since this was a tasting and I was allowed to sample whatever I wanted from the menu, I HAD to get the Strawberry Balsamic before I left. I have a big place in my heart for strawberry + balsamic (remember my hummus?) and was beyond excited that this was an option. It’s not ordered often, but it should be. Fresh strawberry ice cream with an aged balsamic drizzle–it wakes up your taste buds, giving you the full gamut of tastes. Sweet and sour, rich and then balanced, it’s just a fun flavor that I highly recommend ordering at some point.
Milkcraft currently has 2 locations in the state of Connecticut: one in Fairfield (the original) and this one in West Hartford. Soon, they’ll be opening a new shop up in New Haven near Yale. I highly recommend checking them out! It’s not your average ice cream!