We All Scream for Ice Cream

It may be September, but ice cream is still on a roll at Luigi's in Red Bank.

Heave a sigh: It’s September, and a six-month span of three-syllable months that ring out warmer days, longer nights and carefree attitudes begins. School, shrinking daylight, expanding to-do lists and the sense of seriousness that spring and summer permit us to shake free of are suddenly back in charge. Traffic clogs the to-work lanes, not-so-much the to-the-Shore byways.

Yes, heave that sigh.

Or get to the farmers’ markets this month while high summer produce remains at peak and make batches of preserves. Sneak out to Sandy Hook or Island Beach State Park on a bright-ray day and feel like you’re stealing a mini-vacation, far from the madding crowds. Have a picnic in a park, a Saturday evening soiree on the porch, a say-farewell-to-summer fete to which all invited bring that article of clothing or beach read or pair of sunglasses that never got worn, read or used, and have a Summer Swap Party.

I love September. It’s still, after all, an ice-cream-eating month.

Its pending presence stole me away from my beloved ice creamery, Gracie & the Dudes, and my go-to hazelnut-chocolate (the best-best-best flavor, ever; find it regularly at the Long Branch and Atlantic Highlands branches and sometimes at Sea Bright) and made me think of other venues. I need to expand my ice cream scope.

So I was wide-open willing when pals Audra and Barbara told me about Luigi’s Ice Cream in Red Bank. “Rolled ice cream,” Barbara said.

“Rolled? Ice cream that’s rolled? What’s that?”

It’s a way, Barbara explained, of evenly integrating the flavor of add-ins to the ice cream itself. So we went.

Audra, left, and Barbara at Luigi’s

First you wait, then you order, then you watch it happen. Let’s say you order something with banana. A large dab of basic ice cream is spread on an ice-chilled flat pan and lots and lots of also-icy banana is chopped-chopped-chopped into the ice cream itself. It’s intense work.

Chopping accents into the ice cream


The additional accents are then put into play, and the slightly watery-looking ice cream concoction is spread out pancake-style around the chilled pan. The ice cream gets, well, more ice cream-like. Then the mixture goes rectangular, which is all the easier to decorate (squeeze bottles are used to apply, say, chocolate sauce) and subsequently to roll.

Rolling the ice cream

At this point, the ice cream is jelly-rolled, picked up with tongs and placed into cups (or cones), decorated with (for example) berries and chunks of brownies, whipped cream and more sauce.

Rolled and ready

Even if you’ve just had a big dinner, you’ll find your gastric juices flowing again after watching the cold-rolling show. (It takes a while, maybe 5 or 6 minutes that feels like 5 or 6 hours.)

The taste verdict? It’s pretty good stuff. A bit gimmicky, perhaps, and more about the accents than the ice cream itself.

The finished product.

But, you know? It’s cool for the last of the ice-cream-eating months.

Luigi’s Ice Cream, 60 Broad Street in Red Bank. Open daily from noon until 9:30 or 10:30 pm, depending on the size of the crowd. 732-383-7077. Luigi’s is on Facebook.

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