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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - To celebrate the 80th year of the University of Maryland's famous ice cream, five new flavors will be unveiled during the April 24 Maryland Day festivities The new flavors reflect some of today's trendy tastes, but still boast that creamy 14 percent butter fat that has made the Maryland treat so popular with generations of ice cream lovers.
Inspired by the university's recent surge in academic and athletic prowess, the new delights include:
- Fear the Turtle, a mix of white chocolate swirled with caramel and pecans;
- Midnight Madness, a blend of double chocolate ice cream with chocolate ganache and cr¿me de coco;
- Fridge Fever, a combination of vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, chocolate brownie, chocolate covered cashews and Myers rum;
- Final Exam Cram, a concoction of rich cappuccino ice cream and crushed chocolate cookies; and finally,
- Spring Break, an exotic tropical fruit ice cream splashed with Myers dark rum.
Maryland's ice cream has consistently been ranked as one of the best frozen treats in the metropolitan area. Long churned out by the dairy science folks, Maryland's ice cream is now produced by the bakery staff of University Dining Services. They have been working diligently over the past few months to expand the lineup.
"We're continuing a tradition and just trying to bring it forward," says Jeff Russo, the head bakery chef responsible for ice cream production.
Associate Director of Dining Services Joe Mullineaux has had the task of being one of the taste testers throughout the development process, and with ice cream being an early morning production, he often has ice cream for breakfast.
"Although it may not sound too exciting, my favorite flavor was our rich vanilla until Fear the Turtle came along. It's rich white chocolate ice cream swirled with caramel and pecans, and although it is still in the final development stage, it is amazing.
"Jeff and his team are brilliant at blending the flavors to perfect the new products," Mullineaux says. "It's a tough job, but somebody has to be his taste tester."
Mullineaux has had nearly 30 years to refine his appreciation of University of Maryland ice cream. "I had my first scoop at the Dairy during my freshman orientation in July 1975, and I have loved it since the first bite."
"The Dairy," located on Route 1, was the site of the ice cream making and serving operation for many years. Today, thousands of scoops are still dished out to customers of all ages at The Dairy.
Jennifer Martin, a senior family studies major who has worked at the welcome desk in the Visitor's Center for three years, says she hears parents reminisce about The Dairy and its ice cream when they bring their children to tour the campus.
Martin has been a fan of the ice cream since her freshman year, and she still has a scoop of pistachio at least every other week. It has become a ritual with friends, in which they meet after she gets off work, order ice cream and take it along for a relaxing afternoon on the mall.
"It's something I would come back for," she says. "It makes us unique."
Rich in History
For an ice cream brand that now carries over 28 flavors and produces more than 25,000 gallons per year, the production process remains nearly as simple as it was when it began in 1924. At that time, the dairy manufacturing division of the University had just moved into its building along Route 1, and the store located on the first floor of what came to be known as The Dairy sold ice cream as well as other dairy goods, such as butter, milk and cottage cheese.
Ice cream was an immediate hit, and by 1926, 75 percent of The Dairy's summer customers requested a scoop. This prompted professor S.H. Harvey to suggest in an operations report that "economy can be effected by installing a built-in refrigerated box so that clerks can get the products without going back to the general storage."
The ice cream tradition continued to grow and prosper under the guidance of Wendell Arbuckle, a former University professor who earned the nickname "Mr. Ice Cream." Arbuckle, whose accomplishments include describing the crystalline structure of ice cream and the effects on crystal size of various components in an ice cream mix, developed out-of-the- ordinary flavors such as pink grapefruit, carrot, sweet potato and rhubarb.
Russo and Mullineaux consider themselves to be caretakers of this tradition, and 80 years after it started, there's still just one machine, one person needed to operate that machine, and one base that remains the bedrock of every flavor, including the perennial favorites, vanilla and cookies & cream.
Maryland Day visitors can purchase scoops of both the old and new flavors at the Dairy. Free ice cream samples of several traditional flavors also will be available in the courtyard of the Animal Sciences Building from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Maryland Day information: http://www.marylandday.umd.edu/