Recently we wrote about the acquisition of The Hop ice cream shop in Asheville, North Carolina. You can read that story here
. Just two weeks later offspring Brokenbeat and his wife held a big party to celebrate the grand opening under new owners/management in addition to celebrating the 30th anniversary of making the best home made ice cream in Asheville. The Financier and I drove over there to help out in these festivities of our jointly owned business venture with them. Out front in the shopping plaza where the shop is located are three large metal planters filled with lantanas and coleus for summer color. The shopping center plants and maintains these and will put together a winter planting soon, probably with pansies and other interesting combinations. Isn’t that gorgeous?
Onward and inside to the ice cream. We arrived early on friday, the day of the big shindig to help out in the preparations. This was a post in the making so we began with a shot of the tubs of ice cream waiting to be dipped for customers. Yummy.
Fellow Tennessee blogger and good friend, (thanks to blogging!),Gail of Clay and Limestone
wanted a photo of her favorite flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip. Freshly made and as yet untouched by a scooper, it looks good enough to eat!
Still warm from the maker just to the right, waffle cones are ready to be served. This is how many are kept on hand, to always insure freshness and tastiness, they are made on demand. More expensive than the packaged sugar cones, these are still a very popular item. Delicioso!
We were lucky to be able to witness the making of a fresh batch of ice cream while there. Here is the cream, packaged in two and one half gallon bags and frozen.
Here is Mrs. Brokenbeat trying to spiffy up the place since there is a woman with a camera in there, not a normal part of the ice cream making routine. Don’t fret Mrs. B, that’s what mother in laws are for! We do love our Mrs. B. dearly, she is the greatest!
Only the best ingredients go into the making of this delightful confection. See, right on the label, made from the finest vanilla beans. The bag of crushed beans is next to the box, ready to be added to the cream.
This is the machine that makes the ice cream, a major piece of equipment and vital asset to the business. It holds the two and one half gallons of cream, plus the added ingredients and whips air into them while freezing them to make the ice cream light and fluffy. There is a big sharp churner inside rotating everything while freezing it. This is much like the smaller ice cream makers you can buy to make your own at home, only so much faster and better.
This batch was Mocha Oreo, she added the cookie bits as the cream came down the hopper. The two tubs together hold five gallons of ice cream and will go into the larger freezer to harden before being put into the counter out front for public consumption.
In addition to ice cream and pastries, an espresso machine fills the needs of caffeine afficionados. There is a demand for strong coffee with the cold ice cream, the yin to the yang. Lady in black top and camera is reflected in the shiny steel facade, along with the bright orange booths and the mural on the wall. Black is good at hiding spills and drips, just for your information.
And to top it all off, as if there were not enough reasons to visit this wonderful place, they offer wireless internet access. I set up shop with my laptop in the corner under Marily Monroe, trying not to be in the way of the decorating and general hub bub as preparations were made for the big party that began at 5 PM. I had to be able keep up with the picking madness going on at Blotanical
in addition to replying to comments on the latest post and doing some reading. Did someone say addictive?
Before the evening festivities started, a trip to one of the big nurseries in Asheville was on the agenda. The last time we tried to go here, Mother’s Day, it was closed. Today it was open and ready for a quick browsing. Although the last thing the Faire Garden needs is yet more plants, there is a new design plan being applied to the existing beds. More will be written about that in a seperate post, but it can be said that the guru we are following is Piet Oudolf. Let’s see if there is anything here that we cannot live without.
Here on the cart being pushed by the ever helpful Financier are the selections made this trip. From the left in the blue pot is Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’
, half price, three pots of Salvia nemorosa ‘Blauhugel (Blue Hill)’
, half price, Helenium ‘Coppelia’
, full price and Aster frikartii ‘Monch’
, full price for a total of just over forty dollars with tax. Not bad. There is a place for each of these back home, honest.
Back at The Hop last minute preparations are under way by Brokenbeat, seen here putting up a poster and wife sitting to his left in the pink top writing on a dry erase board the many activities planned for the night. In the background is the band warming up, led by good friend and former neighbor of Brokenbeat’s, Ryan.
There was a balloon master, see him in the far left of the photo wearing a balloon hat, that was very popular with the kiddies, along with a face painter. Vendors had displays set up and those that donated prizes for a free raffle were acknowledged. The early crowds were heavy on the younger set. Ice Cream shops in general are youth oriented and this one had many smaller customers. All ages were represented though and the night was a big hit.
The band played, the ice cream was enjoyed, the night was perfect in every way. The owners and staff were exhausted but happy. They are young, still in their twenties and have the energy and creativity to make this business a big success. We are proud of their efforts and will add our wisdom gained with age to make this endeavor profitable in every way. This was an excellent beginning.