The Scene

Discover pure decadence at ice cream parlors in Kane County

Nearly a decade into their unlikely career change, Brook and Clint Carey haven’t grown tired of scooping out a bit of cold joy nearly every day.

Now, they will even drive it out to you, in their own specially outfitted ice cream truck.

But one thing the owners of the Milk House ice cream shop in Pingree Grove will not do, is post the full list of their 50 flavors online - a step, they say, is for your protection, as well as their peace of mind.

Brook and Clint Carey, owners of the Milk House in Pingree Grove share a laugh.

“We’ve got room in our cabinet for 16 flavors at a time,” Brook said. “And we’ve got people coming from all over, sometimes over an hour away.

“So, we don’t want anyone showing up, and being disappointed, because they were expecting one of our amazing specialty flavors, and we didn’t happen to make it that week,” she added with a laugh.

Since 2015, the Careys have been serving up frozen creamy sweets and treats at the Milk House, ever since unexpected medical issues forced Clint to surrender his career as a jeweler and learn the ins-and-outs of making, scooping, blending and selling ice cream.

Brook decided to join him, giving up a career as a lawyer.

“We had this family farm that had been in my family for 150 years,” she said. “The land has since all been sold off, but we kept the milk house and the barn, and now, we make and sell the best ice cream.

“It sounds crazy, right?” she said, with a laugh.

Orange & Cream ice cream cone from the Milk House in Pingree Grove.

But tucked away in that old barn and milk house at 230 Reinking Road, near Kane County’s northern edge, the Careys have grown their shop into a favored destination for ice cream in the region.

Now, the shop serves as many as 250,000 scoops of ice cream every year, with customers coming from throughout the region to tiny Pingree Grove, even as far as Arlington Heights or even Wisconsin for a taste of their expertly made ice cream, churned up from scratch on site 5 days a week.

“But we tell people to call first, and we’re happy to tell you if we have your favorite flavors that day,” Brook said.

While the Milk House may be high on the list for ice cream lovers, Kane County has no shortage of quality stops for frozen sweet goodies.

In downtown St. Charles along the Fox River Trail, near the Illinois Street pedestrian bridge, ice cream lovers can find what they seek at Kimmer’s, 1 W. Illinois St.

Founded in St. Charles in 2010 by owner Kimberly “Kimmer” Yates, Kimmer’s has established itself as a premier ice cream shop stop, said Patrick Anderson, shop manager at Kimmer’s St. Charles.

Anderson said the key has been Kimmer’s “focus on quality and abiding by 4 pillars of ice cream making,” namely “Rich indulgence; Dense and creamy magic; Premium flavorings and vanillas; and Crafted with love.”

He noted the ice cream “boasts a ... velvety texture that’s pure decadence,” thanks to 14% butterfat content, and a “low overrun process.”

Anderson said all the ice cream is made at Kimmer’s location in Wheaton, and customers can choose from 20 different flavors, served up by “incredible staff” focused on making “sure our guests are happy with their selection ... whether that be offering samples, giving suggestions or answering any questions.”

Anderson said customer favorites include Parent Trap, which is cookies n cream with a peanut butter swirl, Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Blue Moon, which he said, “is a staple with the kiddos.”

Anderson said his personal ice cream preferences lead him “to tell guests I’m an old soul, as my favorite flavors are butter pecan and plain ol’ chocolate.”

At Milk House, Brook Carey said her favorites include the Salty Honey Pie - a blend of chopped up custard pie mixed into a honey ice cream - and the Bake Sale Lemon Bar, which is also their top selling specialty flavor.

Other customer favorites include their watermelon sherbet, and more basic ice cream varieties, including cookies-n-cream and butter pecan.

“We tell people we try to find a way to either make everything in house, including our pies and mix-ins, or buy them from a local producer,” Brook said. “And we’ve found a way to do that with everything.

“Except Oreos,” she added with a laugh.

Both Kimmer’s and Milk House said they also offer a large assortment of traditional ice cream treats, including sundaes, floats, ice cream sandwiches, special order ice cream cakes, and more.

Across Kane County, a few other top spots for ice cream, as recommended by local tourism promoters and other sources, include:

- Batavia Creamery, 4 N. Island Ave., Batavia. Located along the Fox River Trail in downtown Batavia, the local favorite stop offers “an ever-changing rotation of over 150 unique flavors,” according to its Facebook page. On a day in late April, for instance, the Creamery touted flavors including Peanut Butter Bullseye, which includes creamy peanut butter and chocolate ice cream with peanut butter buckeye candies; Eskimo Kisses, featuring coconut ice cream, with chocolate truffles and fudge; and dark chocolate raspberry truffle, among others.

- La Gran Michoacana, 1350 E. Chicago St., Elgin. On hot summer days, there is always a line out the door at this local favorite, according to a blurb on the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau site. The shop specializes in ice cream and “all the historical favorites of innovative paletas,” or Mexican frozen treats, including Coolstix, which are traditionally known as bolis, and vasitos, or treats in a cup.

- Fanny’s Thai Roll Ice Cream, locations at 7 N. State St., Elgin, and 615 Randall Road, St. Charles. For those seeking a twist on classic ice cream, Fanny’s Thai Roll Ice Cream may be your stop. The ice cream isn’t churned in advance, but rather created on freezing cold pans, offering not only a tasty treat, but a bit of a show, as well, as they make it to order, using unique combinations of flavors and toppings, right in front of customers.

- Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream, 302 S. 3rd St., Geneva. A local favorite since 1987, Graham’s not only serves up a large assortment of handmade chocolate treats and confections, but also homemade ice cream, made in shop. Graham’s offers 31 flavors, including such favorites as butter pecan and salted caramel, which have enjoyed rave reviews on sites like TripAdvisor.

- Colonial Cafe, 1625 E. Main Street, St. Charles. No list of ice cream destinations in Kane County could be complete without including Colonial, which has been scooping up frozen treats for customers since the 1930s. Throughout Kane County and beyond, cars, cork boards, office walls and other highly visible spots have been adorned for decades by red bumper stickers declaring “I Ate a Colonial Kitchen Sink.” And why not? The massive banana split, featuring six scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce, pineapple and strawberry, whipped cream, almonds and a cherry, served in a miniature “kitchen sink” has stood as one of the main attractions for ice cream lovers in the region for decades.