They Love the Garden State

Upon entering the Bent Spoon in Princeton (35 Palmer Square West, 609-924-BENT), sweet-toothed customers are greeted by a hand-printed sign proclaiming We Love NJ.

The sign says everything about the shop’s owners, Gabrielle Carbone and Matthew Errico, two New Jersey kids who fell in love and decided to open a gourmet ice-cream shop. “We still have a difficult time understanding why so many people are anti–the Garden State,” says Carbone, the sign’s author.

She and Errico use eggs from local farms, hormone-free dairy products from a nearby co-op, and herbs grown just down the road. And besides serving rich “Euro-style” hot chocolate and “artisan” ice cream, the Bent Spoon also sells (for $15) I NJ T-shirts. Customers who snap a picture of themselves wearing the Ts can redeem the photos for a free ice cream, cupcake, or the aforementioned hot chocolate. The sign in the shop implores customers to “unabashedly show your NJ pride,” and so they have. Photos of T-shirted patrons atop Machu Picchu in Peru, underwater in Cozumel, and riding elephants in Thailand flank the sign.

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