Why I Love Rhode Island
In my mind, this is the best day of the summer: the Rhode Island Food Fight’s fourth annual Ice Cream Throwdown! The Throwdown has been hosted just off of Wayland Square in Providence for the past four years and for a mere $20 attendees get to sample ice cream from 12 different ice cream vendors from across Rhode Island. Other businesses also show up to quench thirst or add some savory snacks to the mix (shout out to Yacht Club Soda, New Harvest Coffee and Mijo’s Tacos!). Once again, the Throwdown held up RI Food Fight’s promise: “Pretty much everyone leaves stuffed and happy.”
Beyond the delicious ice cream (I personally sampled Freedom of Espresso, Crazy Vanilla, Moose Tracks and Peanut Butter Oreo, to name just a few), the Throwdown showed me why the unfairly maligned state of Rhode Island is the actually the most amazing little state in the Union. The Ice Cream Throwdown! incorporated everything I hold near and dear about Li’l Rhody.
First, the size of the event: not too big, not too small. 12 vendors was the perfect manageable number for us attendees to efficiently tackle all the samples available. Sure, some lines were long, but ice cream was scooped quickly, and with a smile … classic Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is teeny tiny, no doubt about it, but Rhode Islanders take advantage of every square inch of their state, and fill space (and stomachs) with events, places and restaurants that are really worthwhile. It was the same for the Throwdown. Teeny tiny sample cups served by one or two people, under a small tent—a scale true to Rhode Island.
Next, the people at this event—real Rhode Islanders. Most were juggling handfuls of samples while trying to keep their children under control. These attendees showed me that, rain or shine (the weather was questionable throughout the event), Rhody’s food loving populous will show up to support local businesses and yummy chow.
Also worth noting, I have never met more patient and positive people with whom to stand in line! They were all excited to chat and share their thoughts on ice cream they sampled, and always saved my place if I saw something that caught my eye that I had to taste immediately. So a big “Thank you!” fellow attendees—you reinforced my love for the people of Rhode Island.
Finally, and most importantly, the ice cream was truly phenomenal, and a testament to the culinary delights that this state has to offer. Freedom of Espresso was refreshing and creamy, Crazy Vanilla celebrated creativity, Moose Tracks satisfied my deep need for peanut butter and Peanut Butter Oreo combined that need along with that old comforting flavor from childhood. And those were just to name a few.
These local ice cream shops are spot on with their high quality ingredients; ice cream preparation and each business seemed to have a deep understanding of the Rhode Island consumer. Each shop had their own take on classic flavors, with distinct textures and fabulous customer service to boot.
It was impossible for me to pick a favorite. (Okay, maybe it was a cop-out but I literally could not bring myself to vote.) Even though the judges picked Lincoln Creamery as the top choice (their Moose Tracks were amazing, all served on teeny tiny cones), I want to give a large shout-out to all competitors, attendees and to RI Food Fights. Thank you for showing us the summertime bounty of Rhode Island, and reminding me why I truly love this state.