I get excited about ice cream. And I know, especially in the safe place of this website, I am not alone.
So when I was hired to write an article about ice cream for New Mexico magazine, I was super excited about the part of the article where I would be writing about the ice cream establishments of the state. Being a very hands-on person, I took it upon myself to try as many in person as I could.
One establishment that impressed me in particular? Cloud 9 Creamery.
Talking to someone in yoga class about how I was going there after class (I really like to brag), another student chimed in and implied that I was in for a real treat.
So what makes Cloud 9 so special? Let me give you the 411.
Cloud 9 Creamery shares retail space with another purveyor of tasty sweets, Cocopelli, in a large strip mall near the movie theatre.
When they first started, Cloud 9 Creamery was making ice cream in single servings using liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream. I don't know how it works exactly, but I know that when I tried the ice cream at Smitten in San Francisco, it amounted to pricey ice cream that took a long time to make. It was very, very smooth and creamy, yes. I was very glad I'd gone. But it took a long time to make, and I was hungry. I still remember that part.
Apparently, this was the reaction at Cloud 9, so they switched to more traditional methods of making ice cream--and gelato and sorbet, too.
Well, I don't have the benefit of being able to compare the different methods side by side, but what I tasted at Cloud 9 Creamery seriously knocked my socks off.
Made in fairly small batches, owner Nicole uses local ingredients whenever possible, and will follow whimsy or special produce finds to make limited edition flavors (a great score on strawberries in the produce market? There's gonna be strawberry ice cream or sorbet today). This is to say that on the day you visit, there might be something special to try--do yourself a favor and try it, because it might not be there next time.
On the day of our visit, since I was focusing on the New Mexico aspect, we stuck to local flavors: for me, the honey-lavender, for my companion, the toasted almond and Sante Fe Pinon. We also tried the salted caramel (awesome), pistachio, and strawberry in little sample spoon sizes.
How can I explain this ice cream to you?
Well, at the risk of sounding like I've lived in Santa Fe too long: this ice cream tasted happy.
I'm a big believer that the maker can impart a flavor on their finished result--no, not by spitting in it or anything, but just by transferring their good vibes. And there were plenty of good vibes in this ice cream. It felt like a place that you could bring your kids, but as adults, you'd love it, too. This is totally in line with the owner's goal to create a family-friendly establishment--and to bring awesome ice cream to Santa Fe.
The flavors were well-balanced, interesting, and very creamy. Crave-worthy.
We strolled along a sidewalk near the store that had spring blossoms in bloom, and we could almost ignore the commercial hardware store and general mall generic-ness in the sweet bliss of our ice cream moment.
We both agreed: this ice cream was a keeper. I know I'll be back, and if it's accessible to you, I suggest you check out Cloud 9 Creamery.
Cloud 9 Creamery, 3482 Zafarano Drive, Santa Fe. On Facebook.