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  • Photos by Ryan Duvall | The Journal Gazette Yummi Bunni’s glazed doughnut bun is locally made and stuffed with two scoops of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and a topping of choice.

  • The Chocolate-Raspberry Sinsation from Magic Wand in Churubusco is best with Twinkle crunch topping.

  • The Coffee & Donuts extreme shake from Just Cream is an espresso shake with a doughnut-lined straw and a shot of Intelligentsia coffee.

  • The chocolate-covered wafer cookies put Dairy Sweet’s Titanic banana split over the top.

  • Visit Antiqology in downtown Huntington for premium ice cream floats.

  • Photos by Ryan DuVall | The Journal Gazette The DeBrand Sundae has dark chocolate syrup, caramel and whole roasted almonds.

  • There is a highlighted bun at Yummi Bunni on Main Street every week that often features toppings not on the usual menu.

  • The Big Top extreme shake at Just Cream on DuPont Road was the featured flavor for June. It had cotton candy ice cream, bubble gum, cotton candy and animal crackers.

  • The famous Mad Anthony sundae from Atz's Ice Cream.

  • A bun from Yummi Bunni on Main Street with "The $&@! Just Got Serious" ice cream and crushed M&M's.

  • Cool Cookies from the Whippy Dip in Monroeville. From left, a peanut butter cookie cookie stuffed with chocolate ice cream, a sugar cookie with lemon soft-serve ice cream and a chocolate cookie with twist ice cream.

  • Yummi Bunni has a variety of Chocolate Shoppe ice ceams available daily.

  • The special "Party in the USA" extreme shake around July 4th at Just Cream on DuPont Road featured a vanilla shake, skittles, pop rocks and had a bomb popsicle dunked into it.

  • The Boston Cooler shake made with ginger ale is one of the most popular items at Zesto.

  • The Magic Sundae, whcih is served in a cinnamon-sugar, fried shell, from Magic Wand in Churubusco.

  • A five-scoop turtle sundae at Just Cream on DuPont Road.

  • Cassies' Creative Concoction with Twinkle Cote, strawberry topping and brownies at Magic Wand in Churubusco.

  • An employee prepares buns at Yummi Bunni on Main Street.

  • A bun from Yummi Bunni on Main Street stuffed with "The $&@I Just Got Serious" ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe topped with crushed M&Ms.

  • Yummi Bunni's bun has a locallly made glazed donut stuffed with two scoops of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and a topping of choice.

Sunday, July 16, 2017 1:00 am

Ice cream to melt over

Area shops get creative with array of unconventional concoctions

RYAN DUVALL | The Journal Gazette

Best of the rest

Here are few more treats worth running out to try that just missed the cut:

Cool Cookies – Whippy Dip; 209 E. South St., Monroeville ($1.99). The Whippy Dip takes its rich, creamy soft serve and sandwiches it between cookies. Normally, one can get chocolate with peanut butter cookies and chocolate-vanilla twist with chocolate cookies. But every so often, when the Dip has lemon ice cream in its machine, you can get it between two sugar cookies.

Boston Cooler – Zesto; 225 Broadway, 5740 Falls Drive, 6218 St. Joe Center Road, 210 E. Washington Center Road ($3.51, $4.26, $5.64). Blending the ice cream stand's creamy vanilla with Vernor's ginger ale creates a treat I have many times each summer.

Famous Frosty Malt – Don Hall's Drive-ins. 4416 Lima Road and 1502 Bluffton Road ($1.95, $2.85). A throwback specialty that never disappoints. A creamy chocolate malt that is frozen to just the right consistency so you need a spoon, but it is still super soft and creamy. It is like the ones the red-headed girl's chain made famous except better.

When the Mad Anthony Sundae disappeared in 2014 with the closure of Atz's Ice Cream, it left a big hole in the ice cream landscape around Fort Wayne.

It was the signature ice cream treat for the city and easily one of the state's most awesome ice cream creations. There was never a close second.

And there still isn't.

But the landscape has changed recently with a couple of additions bringing their signature treats to town. Could one of them be the best in the area? Or are there others that should hold the title?

Since today is National Ice Cream Day, I thought I'd give you my take on those new treats and what I consider to be the best ice cream dishes out there. These are all five-star items when judged against the norm, so these star ratings represent how I'd rank the best vs. the best.

Bun – Yummi Bunni

****

What: A locally made glazed doughnut bun stuffed with ice cream and toppings

Where: 123 W. Main St.

Cost: $5

The scoop: You have seen the lines and probably wondered what is going on. And when you heard what Yummi Bunni was doing, you either wanted to race out to get in line or wondered if that was something you really needed.

I was in the latter – until I tried one.

There is no way stuffing a doughnut with ice cream could be bad, but it is more about the ice cream at this downtown spot a couple of doors down from Fort Wayne's Famous Coney Island.

With 16 flavors daily, including ones like the Exhausted Parent with bourbon-espresso ice cream and chocolate chunks or This $&@! Just Got Serious with salted-caramel ice cream with fudge and cashews, I fell in love with the ice cream from Wisconsin supplier Chocolate Shoppe right away. At least one soy-based flavor is also offered. I have been back for just scoops of ice cream already it was so good.

The stuffed doughnut? Yes, I loved it, too. Whenever someone comes to visit from out of town, I will take them there just to try one. My only complaint is that the toppings are mostly breakfast cereals and I wish more normal ice cream toppings were offered such as nuts, crumbled cookies or candy. Right now, sprinkles and crushed M&M's are the only non-cereal toppings available.

Regardless, I will be visiting often.

Extreme Shake – Just Cream Ice Cream Boutique

***1/2

What: A large shake with crazy additions such as cotton candy, cookies, brownies or even miniature ice cream cones

Where: 338 E. Dupont Road

Cost: $7.75

The scoop: Another place that has popped up in the last year and serves ice cream only from the Chocolate Shoppe. And, again, it is the ice cream that makes it worth trying.

There are 50 flavors daily including two sugar free, two soy varieties and two Italian ices, which are also dairy free. There are also some creative items such as the Boutique Melt ($5) – a hot cup of Intelligentsia coffee with a scoop of ice cream added.

The shakes are quite fun to see and try, but are an expensive treat. There is only one shake offered each month, so I think the key is finding one you simply must have.

The Big Top in June was not for me. It was great for the kids with cotton candy, animal crackers, bubble gum and sprinkles, but was sickening sweet and sort of gross to me. The special July 4 variation with a Bomb Pop ice pop sunk into it followed suit. This month, the Coffee & Donuts was more to my liking with an espresso shake, a straw lined with mini doughnuts and a little shot glass filled with hot coffee.

If the shakes don't wow you, try the large Turtle Sundae ($6.75). It has five scoops of ice cream and you can choose your own. They are topped with warm chocolate and caramel and whipped cream. Mixing the flavors was so much fun I will be doing it again and often.

Chocolate-Raspberry Sinsation – Magic Wand

****

What: Sundae with strawberry and raspberry toppings and chocolate shell

Where: 602 S. Main St., Churubusco

Cost: $3.74

The scoop: This is one of my favorite places in the region, and the tantalizing choices are numerous.

The signature Magic Sundae ($3.74) served in a crispy, fried, cinnamon-sugar bowl and topped with hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream and a cherry is great. And Cassie's Creative Concoction ($3.74), which has ice cream, a brownie and strawberry topping is one of my favorites because it is topped with Twinkle – a crunchy, nutty, sprinkle-filled creation that my wife and kids are addicted to.

But the Sinsation is the clear winner, but only with one tweak. It is usually topped with nuts, but I get mine with Twinkle instead, which raises it to the top.

Titanic – Grabill Dairy Sweet

*****

What: A giant banana split loaded with hot fudge, caramel, peanut butter, strawberry toppings, whipped cream and pecans.

Where: 13305 State St., Grabill

Cost: $7.95

The scoop: There is no way this list would be complete without a banana split, and this is the king of banana splits.

For starters, the Dairy Sweet has the best soft-serve ice cream in the area. And this thing is huge as it fills half of a hoagie sandwich container. The crowning touch is the chocolate-covered wafer cookie smoke stacks in each mound of ice cream.

A new item at the Dairy Sweet that is just as worthy is The Good Morning Sundae ($6.95). It has two big scoops of Chocolate Shoppe maple-walnut ice cream topped with a housemade topping of walnuts infused with maple syrup and a fruit topping of your choice. It, too, is in the hoagie dish and this sundae is flanked by four scrumptious French toast sticks that are just great when drug through the melting ice cream.

DeBrand Sundae – DeBrand Fine Chocolates

***

What: A scoop of ice cream dipped in DeBrand chocolate with two toppings and nuts

Where: 10105 Auburn Park Drive, 4110 W. Jefferson Blvd., 5608 Coldwater Road, 878 Harrison St.

Cost: $8.50 single-scoop; $12.75 double

The scoop: Serving ice cream in a DeBrand chocolate bowl with DeBrand chocolate and caramel sauce made this what I thought would be the new top dog when it came to ice cream treats. But then DeBrand went and changed it last year.

The bowls used to be pre-formed chocolate that had the ice cream scooped into it and topped like one would with a normal sundae. But now, a scoop of ice cream is dipped into liquid dark or milk chocolate, just like the dip-top cones, and placed on the plate with the toppings.

The dip chocolate is simply not as good as the regular DeBrand chocolate. It is kind of gummy, for one, and though it hardened up in time, nobody wants to wait to dive in. It was still delicious and decadent but not as delicious as it was before.

Specialty float – Antiqology

*****

What: Specialty ice cream in a mug with your choice of up to 500 sodas

Where: 401 N. Jefferson St., Huntington

Cost: $5

The scoop: This treat is the one I have had more than any of the others over the past couple of years. And, like some of these decadently topped sundaes, the ice cream is sort of a bit player.

Antiqology has great ice cream, don't get me wrong. They get it from a Michigan creamery and there are no shortage of great flavors. Mrs. DuVall is addicted to the lemon cheesecake with its graham cracker crust crumbles, but I usually just go with vanilla in a mug that I pair with one of the shop's 500 or so sodas. Those sodas cover all the flavors from huckleberry to salted caramel and if you are lucky enough to be there when there is a housemade draft variety such as strawberry or blueberry, you will be in float heaven.

But the real challenge is mixing a specialty ice cream with a specialty soda. Try, for instance, that lemon cheesecake drowned in Old Brooklyn Black Cherry. Or Choc-o-lot with its brownie batter swirl and mini fudge-filled chocolates sunken in Antiqology's own root beer.

The possibilities are endless.

Ryan DuVall is a restaurant critic for The Journal Gazette. The Journal Gazette pays for all meals. Email him at rduvall@jg.net; call at 461-8130. DuVall's past reviews can be found at www.journalgazette.net. You can follow him on Twitter @DiningOutDuVall.