The Best Thing I Ate This Week: Banana Ice Cream

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt

Anne Leonard

Tis a rare occasion that I make a trip to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, but when I'm in the Strawbridge area of Virginia Beach I make it a point to get my ice cream fix. On this particular night, I rallied up a group of friends and insisted they had to try some dangerously creamy homemade ice cream since they didn't grow up in Coastal Virginia. A storm was on its way Friday evening, but even the lightning strikes against the eerie, purple night sky didn’t stop locals from an after dinner treat.

Everyone decided quickly: the seasonal flavor of blueberry cobbler, cotton candy confetti and cheesecake. Enamored at the columns of flavors, I pondered between a cone of pistachio, key lime pie or chocolate chip cookie dough, then onto their specialty flavors like coconut almond fudge ripple or chocolate pecan, their flavor of the month.

But when it comes down to decision-making, I'm an ice cream purist and a creature of habit. I walk up to the blue-edged overhang blinded by the beaming ice cream freezer, teens awaiting my order to scoop. She opened the sliding glass window, and the scent of pure vanilla and cream rushed out. "Banana. Double scoop. Sugar cone," I said, unprompted. I wondered if she’s comfortably dressed while working in a freezer, seeing as she was in a t-shirt and shorts. Too focused on the retrieval of my banana ice cream, I opted to save my question for another visit.

A word to the wise: A double scoop is actually a quadruple scoop. The single scoop already ensures two mounds.

My friends couldn't grasp my infatuation with banana. I can understand, it's an odd flavor if you’re only familiar with, say, banana popsicles or any other frozen treats that are dyed to taste like banana, but I promise you there is nothing artificial about Handel’s homemade banana ice cream. When first delivered through the ice-cold window, the scent is fruity, comforting, banana at its prime—neither green nor spotted, ready to be mashed into a bread. Banana ice cream is one of those modest flavors that doesn't try too hard to be outrageously unique with nuts, caramel swirls or fudge ripples; it's simply creamed banana.

It’s probably evident that banana ice cream holds a dear nook in my heart, right next to guacamole. As a young gal in Springfield, Kentucky, my grandparents often took my sister and I to the nearby town, the windows rolled down ushering in the fresh, country air with a slight tinge of manure. We were always so giddy to be going into town for our favorite treat. We didn't go for a fancy cone, just a Styrofoam cup filled to the brim with a spoon. We'd take our cups over to the picnic table area lit by lightning bugs before we headed back home with just enough to save in the freezer.

When I feast on Handel’s banana ice cream I'm reminded of the simpler, sweet days of childhood. Other flavors are without a doubt tasty above other ice cream parlors, but don't take my word for it. Do your taste buds a favor, and complete your summer with a cone or even a cup of homemade pure banana ice cream.

Virginia Beach Ice Cream

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