Getting ice cream at The Franklin Fountain is like taking a step back in time. The ice cream parlor and next-door confectionery are designed to be an authentic, old-school ice cream parlor and soda fountain.
The ice cream is homemade, and you can tell. There is a variety of flavors – many of them classic (vanilla, chocolate, mint, cookie dough), and a few seasonal as well (honeycomb and pumpkin, when we went). The flavors we tried were rich and creamy, and tasted fresh beyond belief. The milk used to make their ice cream comes from a local 1920s family dairy farm and they make sure to source local, in-season fruits and natural dyes/flavors when possible. We love to see it.
In a first for us, the ice cream was served in takeout containers. We’ve never seen anything like it! While it didn’t jazz up the pictures as much as some other ice cream vessels can, it was highly functional and easy to carry – important things when eating ice cream outside!
The Flavor Review:
Pumpkin: Classic fall!! When I saw pumpkin on the seasonal menu I decided it was a must-try. I love pumpkin flavored items in the fall, but this ice cream went past the pumpkin flavor and tasted like pure pumpkin filling in a pie. To be honest it was a little strong for my liking, but I can guarantee it was a thoughtful flavor filled with real pumpkin and spices. I think this speaks to the quality and homemade nature of Franklin Fountain’s ice cream and I do really appreciate that. I found the after taste to be a bit bitter and the overall pumpkin flavor was more traditional and less sweet than cliché pumpkin flavored items. Add a second scoop of vanilla when ordering this flavor and I think it would be a match made in heaven!
Honeycomb: While at first glance this flavor intrigued me, I was not sure what to expect. I quickly learned that it was a very sweet flavor with hints of vanilla and caramel alongside the strong honey flavor. Personally I thought the base tasted like a traditional vanilla with real caramelized honeycomb swirled throughout. The honeycomb was caramelized and had a bit of a crunch to it (maybe this is normal for honeycomb?). The flavor ultimately reminded me of a honey-based hard candy. I would say this flavor is a fun try – but a good option to consider sharing or just taste testing.
Honeycomb: So I don’t necessarily like honey, but I did like this ice cream flavor! It had a sweet cream base with honeycomb candy swirled throughout. It had a caramelized flavor with slight twinges of burntness (in a good way). The honeycomb candy added great texture (a slightly sticky crunch) and I thought there was a great balance between the amount of base and the amount of candy added in. While I don’t think I could eat a full serving of this (it was quite sweet), I enjoyed all of the spoonfuls of it that I had!
Hydrox Cookie: This is The Franklin Fountain’s version of cookies & cream. The name comes from a pre-Oreo chocolate sandwich cookie called the “hydrox cookie.” From my first bite, I could tell that this flavor was made from one of the best vanilla ice creams I have ever had. The vanilla base was incredibly rich and creamy, and the vanilla flavor was strong and classic. Huge and plentiful chunks of hydrox cookie were woven through the vanilla – so much so that it was hard to tell the base was vanilla. It was truly delicious and each mouthful was a well-balanced combo of fresh vanilla ice cream and chunks of cookie which added the perfect texture and chocolate flavor.
Overall Scoops (out of 5):
Natalie – 4.5 Scoops: The history and experience of The Franklin Fountain is truly unmatched and makes for a great time. They get major credit for crafting homemade ice cream with local ingredients. I thought all of the flavors I tasted were creamy and rich in flavor. I was disappointed in their serving options since a small could only be one flavor (most places allow two flavors in a small) and this definitely limited my ability to try more flavors. I enjoyed what I tried, but wish I had been able to also taste more of their classic flavors – that just provides opportunity to visit again I guess! If visiting Philadelphia, I would definitely recommend Franklin Fountain as a tasty ice cream treat that pairs well with local history.
Rebecca – 4.5 Scoops: The ice cream was rich, creamy, and full of mix-ins, and I just don’t think you could ask for more from a homemade ice cream shop. The ice cream tasted high quality and fresh, which I greatly enjoyed. I do wish that the “small” was able to be two different flavors because it was quite a large serving size and I would have preferred to taste more flavors in that amount of ice cream.