The University of Wisconsin has a beautiful campus that offers fun for non-students. You can have a beer at Der Ratheskeller in the Memorial Union and sit out by Lake Mendota. Even better is the Babcock Hall Dairy Store, which acts as an outlet for the agricultural program’s dairy science curriculum. While the store’s kitchen makes all sorts of dairy products, including cheese, it is best known for ice cream, a campus favorite since 1951.
At The Daily Scoop in the Memorial Union, Babcock Hall ice cream is served from a tiny scoop kiosk, seven days a week. It was founded in 1980 to give students quicker, more convenient access to Babcock Ice Cream. Crucially, unlike the Dairy Store, the Daily Scoop is open during evenings. Any time of day, this casual scoop shop is worth braving campus crowds to taste some highly-educated frozen treats.
Every scoop that we had is the ideal consistency and the perfect level of sweetness. There is no doubt that the highest science of frozen treats is practiced in each batch. Most of the ice creams are made with sophisticated scientific methods for producing creamy textures. That means stabilizers, enzymes, and gelatin, so it’s not kosher or strictly vegetarian, or by any means “all-natural.” Those of us without dietary restrictions, who care about the taste of a product rather than it’s ethos, are rewarded with incredible ice cream.
Raspberry Sherbet is silken, and bursting with the essence of juicy berries. Pumpkin Marshmallow is a clever seasonal twist on what could have been just another boring pumpkin spice product. Its gooey marshmallow ripple evokes sweet potato casserole and helps to mellow the baking spices. Perhaps the most accessible flavor of all is Union Utopia, a simple swirl of caramel and fudge embedded in a creamy vanilla base. The harmony of the flavors is indeed utopian. No matter what the world looks like outside, life feels pretty perfect when you’re eating great ice cream.
Orange Custard Chocolate Chip is our absolute favorite. The eggy custard has an even silkier texture than the ice cream, and orange and chocolate just go so well together.
Babcock Hall ice cream earns straight As. It’s worth transferring schools for. Although the tuition might get you, the ice cream is affordable. Its only demerit is that you have to brave campus crowds to get your daily scoop.