Before I tell you about some of the best ice-cream I’ve ever tasted, let me give you a little historical perspective that can help you appreciate it even more. Ice cream has been in the Black American culinary cannon since 1832, when Mr. Augustus Jackson, a Black American pastry chef and confectioner pioneered an innovative cooling technique for ice cream, yielding the modern version of the dessert we all enjoy today and earning him the well-deserved title, “Father of Ice Cream.”
Mr. Jackson is credited with creating several amazing flavors, including butter pecan, however, he was not able to receive or apply for any patents due to his race. During the 19th Century, many Black American culinarians joined with him by creating ice cream brands and opportunities for themselves, so much so, that African-Americans ran a small monopoly on ice cream in Philadelphia, even causing riots when flavors were unavailable.
Thank goodness Mr. Jackson’s tradition of delectable ice-cream is available in my favorite Black owned foodie town of Chicago, which has nudged past Detroit, pushing it down to fourth place, trailing New York, and Washington D.C.
One of the reasons Chicago tops my favorite list is the incomparable Black owned ice cream and dessert spot, Shawn Michelle’s Homemade Ice Cream, located at 46 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653. Owner and creator Mr. Yahya Muhammad, a master degreed professional exuding Black excellence, has created one of the most delicious ice cream brands in the nation!
The ice cream here is serious. Not that box or bag mix stuff. Not from a truck pulling in the back in the dead of night loading of tubs from a manufacture and not him paying for a contractor to come in and jazz up the store-bought stuff. NONE OF THAT! This ice cream is the real deal.
Unlike many ice-cream makers that use mixes, “We make real custard with real milk, cream, sugar and eggs,” said Muhammad. “We literally cook custard every day, and slow churn our ice cream every single day,” resulting in a silky-buttery texture bursting with pure, memorable tastes in more than 20 amazing flavors. Mr. Muhammad has been making ice-cream for 19 years and it shows in the way he adventurously tweaks classic flavors while staying true to household favorites.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the drive and the calories, and I am here to give you a big FAT YES! Cold Stone’s, Dairy Queen, Häagen-Dazs, and Baskin Robbins have nothing on these flavors and their amazing texture, which are on an entirely different level. Choosing a flavor was more difficult than picking a car, house, or new job opportunity.
Deciding on a favorite was tough, but my tops were Butter Pecan, Melanin Magic “Our Chocolate,” New York Cherry, Cheesecake, Pistachio, Lunchroom Butter Cookie, and for those of you who LOVE Caribbean cuisine, don’t sleep on the Jamaican Rum Raisin. He even has the vegans covered because the nondairy, gluten free and vegan flavors are nearly indistinguishable from dairy rich versions and are out of this world delicious!
Oh, and don’t sleep on the non-ice cream desserts. The store has a wide variety of homemade cobblers, brownies and other sweets available as toppings or for separate purchase. The real stars are the COBBLERS! LORD HAVE MERCY! Each had the perfect wonderfully flaky, moistly firm and baked to a beautiful golden-brown crust. The dumpling like texture underneath the flakiness nearly had me on the ground slain in the spirit. (Watch our video on Facebook if you don’t believe me.) Each cobbler had the perfect crust to fruit ratio, so whether you are team crust or a team fruit, the cobblers are ONE SIZE fits all.
The space has a peaceful and sophisticated atmosphere with beautiful bright colors and great service delivered by a team of uber happy staffers offering free samples to help you decide! I had the pleasure of going HAM, ordering cobblers and four ice-cream flavors, two vegan and two non-vegan.
Brace yourself because this will be one of your most memorable foodie excursions ever. If you’re in a group, be sure everyone orders enough because this ice-cream will have you fighting your loved ones if they try to take a bite outta yo order. It’s that good!
You can reach them at (773) 615-3238.