Purple Mountain Majesty in a Pint: Colorado College Hosts Locally Crafted Ice Cream Partner

An overhead shot of rows of pints of ice cream

Who knew making ice cream could double as an arm workout? The Colorado Springs community asked this very question as they shook plastic bags of heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar, and rock salt back and forth for ten minutes straight to make a classic vanilla ice cream (sprinkles optional).  

A man is seated at a table with a big smile on his face, holding a bag of ingredients for ice cream

A very excited workshop participant!

Making ice cream by hand is more arduous than purchasing a pint from the store, but the outcome was worth it for participants of this workshop. Bon Appétit collaborated with our Locally Crafted partner Josh & John’s Ice Cream and the Bemis School of Art to host the first “Ice Cream and Clay” event. John Krakauer, a Colorado College alumnus who founded Josh & John’s in Colorado Springs 37 years ago, spoke at the event about what makes his company’s artisan ice cream so popular before teaching participants how to make their own version!

Krakauer grew up in the Boston area, where he’d noticed that high-quality ice cream shops were proliferating around the time he graduated from CC. He saw an opportunity to bring artisan ice cream to Colorado and did just that with his buddy Josh – opening their first store in downtown Colorado Springs in 1986. Today, they’re an institution. 

Some of John’s trade secrets? Well, he says the one way to tell a scoop shop has truly good quality product is to test the mint chocolate chip flavor. Is the ice cream green? If so, he knows that they most likely used artificial flavorings and dyes in the product. Mint chocolate chip ice cream should be white if it’s made with fresh ingredients, he says. Mint chocolate chip is a staple on Josh & John’s menu, which also features rotating seasonal flavors and varieties unique to their business, like the Purple Mountain Majesty, made with taro root for a nutty-sweet flavor and vibrant purple color.  

Josh & John’s also slow-churns their ice cream (at the Churn Barn, the central facility where they make the ice cream for their five shops, two ice cream trucks, and wholesale operation), which keeps the ice cream thick and creamy without introducing much air to the mix (pumping in air is a trick used by many ice cream manufacturers to increase volume and fit less ice cream into a pint container).  

These were just two of the bits of ice cream expertise John shared with attendees. And if the allure of meeting a local celebrity wasn’t enough, participants also got to choose a custom-made pottery bowl created by CC artists to serve their ice cream in and take home.  

Every participant was grinning from ear to ear as they tasted their ice cream, and many hung out afterward to learn more about Bon Appétit ‘s Locally Crafted program. At Colorado College, the Bon Appétit team couldn’t be happier to have Josh & John’s as a Locally Crafted partner, and we can’t wait for future Farm to Fork events with the Bemis School of Art! 

-submitted by Cassidy Schnell, community engagement manager at Colorado College