Kilwins dishes up homemade, “original recipe” ice cream throughout the United States. It has locations up and down the East Coast and as far west as Colorado. All of their ice cream is made in small batches at a central location and then distributed to the shops. We visited the location in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Williamsburg gets an A+ for providing some of the prettiest backdrops for our pictures!)
First things first, the store smells AMAZING. They make fudge and other goodies on-site, and the smell of chocolate and other confections wafts through the store and out onto the street. It is utterly mouth-watering. The walk up to the ice cream counter is lined with tantalizing sweets (fudge, caramel apples, chocolates) and gives off classic, old-school sweet shop vibes.
There were many ice cream flavors and two types of sorbet available. The ice cream flavors spanned the classics (vanilla, chocolate, etc.) to the more creative (Kilwins Tracks, Kilwins Mud, Turtle Cheesecake, to name a few).
A drawback was that there was no menu on the wall (or anywhere in the store, it seemed). That meant that at the counter, customers were flying blind in terms of what flavors were available and what was in each flavor. It seemed to hold up the line and, honestly, made making a flavor decision more rushed (and thus, stressful). Also, we’ll note that a lack of a menu on the wall means that you don’t know how much you’re paying until it’s been rung up. Again, this adds stress/uncertainty to an ice cream trip, especially if one is on a budget or is buying for multiple people. Considering that our scoops ended up being ~pretty~ expensive, we would have appreciated knowing what we were paying for.
Another brief comment is that the ice cream cases prominently display how many calories are in a scoop of each flavor. Yes, this is likely required by law (as the FDA requires companies with a certain number of locations to post calorie information). While it probably isn’t the store’s choice to post this information, we wanted to put it out there so that any readers who choose to visit are prepared for this. (As a side note, if you ever want to talk about food law, Rebecca is all ears…)
The Flavor Review:
Chocolate Caramel Cashew: This flavor intrigued me for a few reasons: 1. I am not sure I have ever had a combined chocolate and caramel flavor (it was a chocolate base with caramel throughout). 2. Cashews in ice cream are so rare! While my taste buds were excited for the newness of this flavor, it did not live up to expectations. The chocolate was too overpowering and I barely tasted any caramel. I also found the ice cream to contain very few nuts, which was disappointing since I was expecting a little crunch every few bites.
Kilwins Tracks (aka Moose Tracks): This flavor was vanilla based and had a good ratio of vanilla ice cream to chocolate and peanut butter mix-ins. The chocolate was mixed into the ice cream as shavings instead of the traditional chocolate peanut butter chunks, and there were ribbons of peanut butter throughout. I found this change from the traditional Moose tracks to be fun!
Kilwins Mud: This was a vanilla base with chocolate pieces and caramel swirled into it. The caramel was very yummy and paired well with the vanilla and chocolate flavors. The chocolate pieces were very fine and were well distributed throughout the ice cream. While the vanilla base was very creamy, I wish that it had been thicker and richer. The lightness of the base gave me more of a gelato feel, as opposed to a rich and creamy ice cream. It was fine, but it wasn’t my favorite.
Cappuccino Chocolate Chip: The coffee base tasted more like coffee with cream in an ice cream form. It was good, but it wasn’t the most profound coffee base I’ve had. I enjoyed the chocolate chunks throughout, which added texture and a complimentary flavor. While I did like it, it seemed to be very similar to my favorite flavor of Friendly’s ice cream that I buy at the grocery store.
Overall Scoops (out of 5):
Natalie: 2.5 Scoops – The sweet aroma of Kilwins’ creations escapes out onto the street and pulls you in. While I thought the ice cream was tasty and creamy, the price of Kilwins ice cream seemed far too expensive for the small serving I received. I knew others felt this way as I sat on a bench outside of the store eating my ice cream and repeatedly heard comments about how expensive the bill was as people walked out. To me it seems like maybe Kilwins is a great place to get sweet treats like fudge and chocolate, but not necessarily ice cream.
Rebecca: 2.5 Scoops – I thought the ice cream was good, but not outstanding. Would I eat it again? Sure. But I felt that the quality of the ice cream wasn’t worth what I had paid for it. I think you can find better ice cream for that price or (more likely) less. I did appreciate the variety of flavors, their commitment to homemade ice cream, and the heavenly smell of the store. And the waffle cone had a very thick bottom which kept the ice cream from dripping all over me – that was a big win!