By Kim Fuller Published in the Vail Daily
Here’s the scoop: There are two new ice cream shops in town, and they are truly a treat.
Sundae has been open since December, with locations in Vail Village and Edwards — the spots that were previously Marble Slab Creamery. With quality ingredients, classic and playful flavors, as well as some of the creamiest and tastiest spoonfuls I’ve ever had, Sundae has really stepped up the Vail Valley’s ice cream standards.
“I am passionate about ice cream, and I just want to make the best ice cream that we possibly can,” said Ken Beidel, owner of Sundae. “Partly for selfish reasons because I love it.”
Beidel is also the founder of Loaded Joe’s coffee and food cafes in Avon and Vail. The concept behind Sundae, he said, is not far off from what he created with his local coffee locations — to create a place where people in the community can hang out.
“Our vision, quite simply, is to spread joy,” he said.
Sundae is certainly spreading some sweetness around, especially with the help of a trained pastry chef who has come on board. Ashlyn Streetz, general manager of the shops, said that spirit of “joy” goes into a little bit of everything they do.
It’s flavors such as pistachio, avocado-coconut and the in-season-only Samoas cookie that catch the attention of more curious taste buds, but both Beidel and Streetz agree it’s the classic flavors that count the most.
“We wanted to do a fantastic job with the classics,” Beidel said. “Even just as simple as trying to experiment with vanilla — it’s such a simple flavor, but we put a ton of effort and research into making ours.”
It’s hard research, but someone has to do it, right?
“We went around and tasted ice cream in every ice cream shop in Denver, and I always eat ice cream when I am traveling somewhere,” he said.
They started with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and man have they mastered them.
“We decided that if we couldn’t knock those out of the park, then we should reconsider what we’re doing,” Streetz said with a chuckle.
ALL ABOUT THAT BASE
You’ll always find those staple flavors at Sundae, along with a range of special variations, such as salted cookies and cream, that make several taste tests a necessary step before committing to your order.
Get a cup or cone, or a cone-filled cup, and like the concepts behind Marble Slab and Cold Stone, you can still add in you favorite ice cream accouterments.
“We’re not getting rid of gummy bears because every kid loves gummy bears in their ice cream,” Beidel said.
Eventually, more foodie-inspired flavors may emerge. Don’t be surprised if one day there is a bourbon and Madagascar vanilla that’s served with balsamic and chopped basil.
Streetz joined the Sundae team to help with shop operations and, most importantly, recipes. Since they don’t have a pasteurizer themselves, Robinson Dairy of Colorado makes the base used to start all of the flavors.
“We have this awesome ice cream base and then a wide array of fantastic ingredients to work with,” Streetz said. “We get to have a lot of fun when it comes to creation.”
TASTE OF JOY
Streetz said people are often surprised when they realize ice cream is more than just ice, cream and flavor.
All of Sundae’s ice cream is made without artificial flavors and without artificial colorings. The mint chocolate chip isn’t bright green, and it doesn’t taste like toothpaste, and this is a good thing.
“It’s funny,” she said, “when you talk to some people about it, their reaction is ‘Well, why would there be any of that in ice cream to begin with?’ — which we absolutely agree with. The second they taste it, the difference is so clear.”
Beidel said that beyond making dream-worthy ice cream, Sundae wants to connect with the community here in the Vail Valley. The aforementioned Samoas flavor was a nod to the Girl Scouts and their seasonal cookie sale.
There will be one-off flavors and featured flavors of the month (March is actually a sorbet — raspberry), and some funky renditions, too, but more than anything, Sundae is already serving quite a lot of joy.
“For us, to be connected to our community is a privilege, and it’s something that we hold in high regard,” Beidel said. “And who doesn’t like ice cream?”