This is an odd entrant for the Southern Sweets Showdown, I know. It’s not a specific flavor of ice cream, but a brand name. How does that work, you might ask? Because Blue Bell Ice Cream is awesome; that’s how.
I think I must have been in my early 20s when Blue Bell made its first foray into Alabama markets. Until then, we had store brands, a few designer brands and the products of the regional dairy. Blue Bell was like a revelation.
It wasn’t a quirky, high-priced entry with lots of crazy flavors and hippies on the carton. It wasn’t some Dutch-wegian import that made you feel uncultured when you ate it. It was real, comforting, homey. It was, in a word, Southern.
Few outside the South will even know what we’re talking about – because Blue Bell can only be found in a few states outside the region. Founded in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery in Brenham, Texas, Blue Bell describes its products this way:
We proudly make Blue Bell Ice Cream the old-fashioned,
traditional way, so it tastes just like it was hand-cranked.
That may sound like so much boasting, if it weren’t completely true.
In 1996, Blue Bell opened a creamery in nearby Sylacauga, and tours of it have become a regular field trip for local kids. If you’re passing through Alabama, Texas or Oklahoma, stop by and check out some Blue Bell for yourself.