As a college student in Boston, I remember the lines around the block for Steve’s Ice Cream, the originator of Heath Bar Crunch and the first place I had ever heard of mix-ins which now…well, what gourmet ice cream brand doesn’t offer them? So when I heard Steve’s Ice Cream is back and now making outrageous flavors in small batches from Brooklyn–all available for delivery no less, with plenty gluten and nut-free, and even dairy-free–I sacrificed myself for you, dear readers, and deigned to give them a try.

Just looking at the Steve’s Signature Ice Cream Collection you know you’re in for something different. As in, Mexican Chili Chocolate (hold me), Cinnamon Coffee, and a Salty Caramel that I’m dying to try because, hello? Salty Caramel. But it’s the Southern Collection that really impressed me. And if you’ve got a mother with southern roots, I imagine shipping her a bunch of these would be a perfect Mother’s Day Gift.

I’m now a confirmed fan of Nola Coffee and Donuts Ice Cream, which reminds me of hunkering over a table of beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde, only without tourists staring me down. Though interestingly the ice cream is made with Blue Bottle Coffee, which originates in Oakland, and the chunks of donuts comes from Brooklyn’s esteemed Pies ‘N’ Thighs bakery. So no actual beignets here. But still, the result is fabulous.

Steve's Ice Cream gourmet flavors for delivery

There’s also a really nice Small Batch Bourbon Vanilla that’s so bourbon-y, we decided it would be perfect alongside pie or a slice of rich chocolate cake  to bring more complexity to the dish, restaurant-style. I haven’t tried the Coconut Key Lime Pie or the Southern Banana Pudding, but I imagine some winners in that bunch.

Most surprising to me, however was Steve’s  non-dairy ice cream collection which I swear, I didn’t even realize was milk-free until after I polished off an entire pint of Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel with very little help. The substitute for milk is coconut cream, which disguises nicely in such a rich, complex flavor–though I will say I found the non-dairy Mint Cacao Chip a little coconutty for my purist tastes. (I can’t resist a perfect mint chocolate chip, but this one wasn’t it.) I’d bet the fruit-based non-dairy flavors like the Blackberry Honey are terrific too.

Lactose-intolerant friends? You may have a new staple.  

Also, my 8 year-old wants you to know that her favorite flavor was “the chocolate caramel and the coffee one mixed together.” My six-year-old clung to the Sunday Morning flavor, which tastes like waffles and maple syrup–and refused to even try anything else, she liked it so much. It wasn’t my own favorite but I can see why the novelty is perfect for kids. Even gluten-free and nut-free kids.

Salvatore BKLYN Ricotta on Cool Mom Picks

I am so happy to know that this can all be picked up at stores or delivered with a five-pint minimum–but trust me, you can go through that much fast. And it’s extra nice knowing that this is still a company committed to artisanal, indie partners who provide them with natural ingredients like local dairy from a farmer-owned New York State cooperative; organic coffee; US made stone-ground chocolate; and fresh, handmade ricotta from Salvadore BKLYN (above) which is a staple in my fridge right now. Hey, you might even want to order some of that on its own.

In other words, I’ve got a million ways to justify ordering Steve’s Ice Cream. Besides the fact that it’s delicious.

You can order Steve’s Ice Cream and  Non-Dairy Ice Cream with a purchase of 5 or more pints, or find them in a store near you. Thanks to Steve’s for providing samples for review. It was a horrible experience, clearly.