Review by: Michael Stern

We don’t normally recommend chain restaurants and big national brands, but we’ve known Graeter’s since it was a relatively small outfit in Ohio and northern Kentucky; and we would be remiss in our devotion to the gods of ice cream if we didn’t pay homage to its outstanding chocolate chip ice cream and to its sundaes, turtle sundaes in particular. So here’s one outlet we like. Visit the Graeter’s website to find others … or look in the grocer’s freezer to get it by the pint.

We eat a turtle sundae almost every opportunity we get, and as lovers of the perfect combination of caramel, chocolate, and nuts, we can tell you with certainty that Graeter’s turtle sundae is one of the best. As we observed the confectionery artist at the store in Cincinnati’s Western Hills do it, the caramel and chocolate sauce were blended together before the sundae was built. Into this syrupy bog was folded an immense measure of toasty-crisp pieces of pecan nut, and this entire mixture was spread all around the base of a mountain of vanilla ice cream, which was then crowned with a cherry. While most turtle sundaes are topped with chocolate and caramel and nuts separately, the combining of those three elements gave this one a heavyweight flavor punch impossible to resist.

The turtle is one of Graeter’s “fancy sundaes” (a few others include the Cherry Cordial, the Persian Nut, the White Tower, and the Swiss Chocolate), and sundaes are but one of the ice cream parlor’s specialties. Also on the menu are some dazzling “signature sodas” – Nectar (vanilla-almond), Chocolate Mint, Root Beer, etc. – as well as frappes, malts, phosphates, banana splits, parfaits, coolers and cones (single or double dip, regular or waffle cone).

Sharp-eyed ice creamaholics will note that the flavor selection is dramatically tilted towards chip flavors. At least half the available flavors include chips (black raspberry chip, mocha chip, peanut butter chip, toffee chip, etc.). These are no ordinary chocolate chips, let us tell you. In fact they are less chips than they are chunks, made by pouring molten chocolate into ice cream as it’s being churned in small batches (which Graeter’s calls the French Pot Process). The chocolate chills, shatters, and spreads throughout the mixture in great lopsided pieces.

What To Eat

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Black Raspberry Chip


Turtle Sundae


Graeter’s Recipes


What do you think of Graeter’s?

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