"People love ice cream."
Vincent Marinelli, who along with his wife Danielle co-founded Sweet Pea Ice Cream, was not sugar-coating the truth when he made that statement to FYI Philly for their annual Ice Cream Social special which airs this weekend on 6abc.
July 19th is National Ice Cream Day - July is actually National Ice Cream Month - and the Philadelphia area has numerous spots to celebrate.
If you want to taste the very best in ice cream treats (and more) this area has to offer, we invite you to take this tour of decadence courtesy of FYI Philly. We just ask you to bring your appetite!
You see, not only is July National Ice Cream Month, but the International Dairy Foods Association estimates about 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream were produced in the US in 2013. The cherry on top that sundae, the IDFA says the average American consumes about 22 pounds of ice cream a year!
That's great news for local ice cream shops - and eco-friendly ice cream trucks, in the case of Sweet Pea.
Sweet Pea Ice Cream
In 2008, Vincent Marinelli, was working as an electrician, and his wife Danielle, as a nurse. They were both foodies so they decided to start Sweet Pea with the goal of making premium ice cream and serving it from a silent, eco-friendly vehicle called the Green Machine.
It is, in fact, the very first 100% electric truck on the road today.
"The truck is a magnet. People love it. They've never seen anything like it and then once they try the ice cream, they're hooked," Vincent said.
The truck is a perfect match for the spoons made from bamboo and the cups made from dissolvable sugar cane.
The Marinellis currently have four ice cream shops and eight Green Machines on the road in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas. They are franchising Sweet Pea and adding trucks, this year, in Georgia and Florida.
Their top seller is salted caramel, but Danielle is always experimenting with new flavors including Mexican chili dark chocolate and blueberry cobbler.
"We boil fresh blueberries, put it in 14% buttermilk, lemon zest. And then for the cobbler, we make our own cobbler toppings," Danielle said.
But be warned, Sweet Pea is a no-topping zone.
"We feel enough goes into every bite of our ice cream that there is no need to add toppings to it," Danielle said.
Weckerly's Ice Cream
The Marinellis are not the only couple on the local ice cream scene - Andrew Satinsky and his wife Jen are creating their creamy concoction in an historical building in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.
Globe Dye Works at 4500 Worth Street is home to a collection of artists including the dynamic duo that makes Weckerly's Ice Cream. Their company started in 2012, moved to the building last year, and now they're manufacturing more than 40 gallons of ice cream a week.
"We don't get a lot of sleep, but it's very rewarding," Jen, former pastry chef at White Dog Cafe, said.
Weckerly's works with a French style custard which uses egg yolks. The key to their unique taste is the fact that Andy and Jen pasteurize everything in house.
"We wanted to be able to choose our milk sources and where our eggs are coming from and know exactly what kind of sugar is going in to the ice cream," Andy said.
All the ingredients are from local farms including the seasonal fruits that keep the menu fresh.
"One thing that a lot of people notice when they try our ice cream is that they can taste the milk. We work hard to source really good quality cream and milk," Andy said.
The most popular product at Weckerly's? The ice cream sandwich.
"Two thin cookies, or pieces of cake or brownie, they're all thin with a good amount of ice cream in the middle," Andy said.
The brand is growing so strong, Andy Satinsky might have to change his last name to Weckerly - which is his wife's maiden name.
"Now I'm Andy Weckerly to like everybody and they don't even know my last name," Andy said.
Vincent Amico is another name to remember in the ice cream world. He discovered his love of the cool dessert in his retirement years and now owns his own shop - Vincent's Homemade - in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
"Someone gave me an ice cream maker and I started making ice cream and giving it to friends," Vincent said.
Vincent opened his first ice cream shop in Trenton a decade ago. When he added a second parlor on High Street in Mount Holly this spring, he recruited his fiance, Jackie DiCarlo, to help.
"You want to make people happy. It's a good feeling when people eat your ice cream and say 'God, that's good,'" Vincent said.
Vincent makes his ice cream in small batches, 2.5 gallons at a time, and it's the seasonal farm fresh fruit flavors his shop is known for.
They says the shop's most popular flavor is blueberry.
"It's local. We're on the edge of the pinelands and a lot of the blueberry farms are within five, ten minutes of here," Vincent said.
But it doesn't stop at blueberry. The summer began with strawberry ice cream. Cantaloupe and peach flavors are next. Pumpkin and caramel apple are coming back in the fall.
"People are looking forward to it," Vincent said.
The Lucky Well
Blueberry, pumpkin, and caramel apple are not your everyday flavors, and the same could be said for barbeque!
At The Lucky Well in Ambler you are able to partake in a nice BBQ meal and then stay for dessert.
Chef Chad Rosenthal decided to incorporate his love of Southern barbeque into his ice cream.
The Lucky Well's most unusual flavor is the brisket flat blackberry, a meaty dessert that combines both savory and sweet.
"It's a smoked brisket fat that is at first rubbed with my dry rub seasoning and then smoked for 15 hours and I take the fat off the brisket and I render it down," Chef Chad said.
The rendered fat is then added to a sweet homemade ice cream base. The brisket fat thickens the ice cream and gives it a nutty, toasted taste.
"Something about the smokiness of the brisket fat and a little bit of salt and the sweetness of the vanilla based ice cream - people love it," Chef Chad said.
It doesn't stop at brisket ice cream at The Lucky Well, the chef also created a cinnamon whiskey pistachio flavor to highlight one of the 150 whiskeys found behind the bar.
The Pop Shop
Whisky ice cream is certainly headline material and if you like to read about ice cream (which it appears you do), then open up the latest edition of the Daily Dish newspaper - it's actually the menu to The Pop Shop, located in Collingswood and Medford.
The Medford Pop Shop recently opened in the former Burlington County National Bank Building. The vault has been converted as working soda fountain.
But it's not only ice cream they sell at The Pop Shop - from pancakes fries to 30 different grilled cheese sandwiches.
"One of the top selling grilled cheeses I would say is the Calvert (Jack cheese, roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, and house dressing on focaccia) and the 5B's (Brie, goat cheese, applewood smoked bacon and tomato on country white)," co-owner 'Stink' Fisher said.
In fact, the the Calvert and 5B's went head-to-head on the Food Network's Throwdown with Bobby Flay show.
Back to desserts, the Pop Shop also created cookie dough poppers and their famous shakes, triple thick. The Shakin' Bacon shake is made with vanilla ice cream, pancake syrup and crispy bacon.
John's Water Ice
Now if you need a break from all that ice cream - still, thinking about that bacon shake, right? - your taste buds may be craving some water ice, a Philadelphia summertime tradition.
John's Water Ice in South Philadelphia has kept it in the family for 70 years. Third generation owner Anthony Cardullo has been serving water ice since he was just 10 years old.
"My grandfather came over from Sicily in the early 1920s. He opened this place up in 1945 and he started a home heating company right next door. He was heating homes in the winter and making water ice in the summer," Cardullo said.
Lemon is Anthony's favorite flavor and he still sticks to his grandfather's recipe, one brought over from Italy. Anthony still offers the same four flavors his grandfather once hand cranked: lemon, chocolate, cherry and pineapple.
"I just love the tradition of it," Cardullo said.
John's has served up water ice to celebrities and even President Obama. On a hot day, they may scoop more than 1000 water ices. And of course you can add ice cream to the water ice and create a Philly original - gelati.
D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats
Still on the water ice beat in South Philly? Look for a Royal Enfield motorcycle for a taste of D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats.
Chris D'Emilio is on the move Wednesday through Sunday nights, posting his whereabouts on Facebook. But just like his look, sometimes he gives updates the old-fashioned way, too.
"[I also] take a piece of chalk and I write down on where I'll be at on that night," D'Emilio said.
D'Emilio was inspired by the old world hokey pokey men who sold treats from their mobile carts.
"They would go around just shouting out 'penny a lump' and basically that's what I'm doing," D'Emilio said.
He's serving old world ice treats with a new spin.
"Our idea is that we combine Italian style sorbeto and combine it with the American flavor ice menu," D'Emilio said. "We have cherry and we have lemon, but we also have lychee rose water, and we have cherry cordial, and strawberry apricot."
South Philadelphia is water ice central, but what happens when an ice artisan from South Philly moves to the suburbs? You get The Icery in Lansdowne.
It's kind of a mashup between ices, ice cream, and a bakery. In fact the name Icery is a fusion of ice and bakery.
Owners Avril and Danny Losacco specialize in artisan gelato and hand-churned Italian water ice, but they create all sorts of icy delights.
"So if it's delicious and it's frozen, you find it here!" Avril said.
The Icery offers the ice shake - a combination of water ice and custard blended together. There's also the ice cake, a frozen dessert made with gelato and sorbetto.
The Losaccos opened the shop a year ago and it is truly a family affair.
16-year-old Calin is already a trained master gelato maker, 14-year-old Fionna makes the water ice, and 8-year-old Alec is the professional taste tester.
The family makes a variety of traditional flavors, but they also invent new ones like mascarpone pomegranate, strawberry basil, and a pomegranate mint sorbetto.
Turkey Hill Experience
If just eating all these tasty treats isn't enough to suffice your sweet tooth, then you may want to try creating some yourself.
In that case, you'll need to visit the Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster County. It is an interactive tour that gives guests a glimpse into the process of making ice cream.
Coordinator Andrea Nikolaus says it's "where all the magic happens."
In the Taste Lab, Turkey Hill technicians introduce the factory process and help guests make their own custom flavor.
There are three steps - flavoring, inclusions and the variant.
There are 15 different flavors to choose from.
But what are inclusions and variants?
Inclusions mean dry toppings, 20 kinds such as cookies, and variants translate to syrups, ten different ones like caramel are up for grabs.
Once you have the final mix, the deep freeze will prepare a pint of your creation in just 10 minutes so, yes, you can have your ice cream and eat it, too.
After you are finished eating all the ice cream treats at at these local shops and carts for National Ice Cream Day, the fun is not over.
National Ice Cream Pie Day is right around the corner on August 18th.
FYI Philly airs Saturdays at 7pm, Sundays at 1pm, and Sunday nights after Action News at 11