Valpo Velvet: An Indiana Treat that’s Hard to Beat
By Laurie Wink
It’s not yet National Velvet but that could be just a matter of time. Valpo Velvet is already known as Indiana’s finest gourmet ice cream and it’s infiltrating Illinois through Chicago area distributors.
So moove over upstart Ben & Jerry’s, with your paltry 38 flavors of ice cream and yogurt. Smooth, rich velvety-textured Valpo Velvet comes in more than 60 flavors, including frozen yogurt, sherbet, and sorbet. And it’s been made fresh each week since 1947 by three generations of the Brown family in a plant located one block south of the downtown Valparaiso courthouse.
Service the Old-Fashioned Way
At the same location is The Valpo Velvet Shoppe, where customers can experience an earlier era ice cream parlor/soda fountain to indulge in ice cream sodas, floats, malts and shakes. And of course the ever-popular ice cream cones and sundaes are mainstays. We dare you to try the five-scoop Viking sundae, made up of one scoop each of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, chocolate chip and butter pecan ice creams, your choice of five toppings, plus bananas, nuts, whipped cream and three cherries.
Chocolate lovers can satisfy their addiction with The Moo, a delightful combination of homemade brownies covered in chocolate almond, chocolate and vanilla ice creams crowned with hot fudge, whipped cream, mixed nuts and cherries. Other unique sundaes include the Rhubarb and the Licorice Lovers.
Health conscious consumers can pick from an array of low- and no-fat sorbet, sherbet and frozen yogurt. The Valpo Velvet Shoppe also serves soups and sandwiches.
Vanilla and butter pecan are the most popular Valpo Velvet flavors, and coconut almond fudge was brought back this year by popular demand after a two-year hiatus says family spokesperson Cathy Brown. In a twist of fate, Cathy’s maiden name was Brown and she married Mike Brown, who runs the Valpo Velvet Ice Cream Company with younger brother Mark. Cathy and Mike’s three teenagers are also involved in the entirely family owned and operated business.
Found Far and Wide
Valpo Velvet fans can find many of their favorite flavors at restaurants and stores within a 75-mile radius of Valparaiso (see the website www.valpovelvet.com for specific locations). For a one-of-a-kind experience, ask for the Guinness ice cream at T. J. Maloney’s Irish Pub at the Star Plaza in Merrillville.
Traditionally sold in quart, half-gallon and three-gallon sizes, Valpo Velvet is now available in pints. The pint-size was introduced at the Valparaiso University Union a year ago and has been driving traffic to the store ever since, says Cathy Brown.
Rather than rest on a more than six decade stellar reputation, the Brown family continues to find innovative ways to reach customers. Last year marked the debut of the Moobile at markets, fairs and festivals throughout the area. And the traveling treat dispenser is available for private parties.
Among the Valpo Velvet stock-in-trade are Velvet ice cream bars, drumsticks, cookiewiches, chocolate dipped bananas and custom ice cream cakes and pies.
Take that Ben and Jerry!
The Valpo Velvet Shoppe
55-57 W. Monroe Street
Laurie Wink is a freelance journalist who regularly writes for several area publications and works on a wide range of communications projects for a variety of business clients. She has lived in Michigan City for nine years and each June, while walking on the beach, she commits to being here yet another year.