There has not been a food-related business in recent memory to generate such buzz and excitement in the Jersey Bayshore area. I was first made aware of Nicholas Creamery in December, when a friend brought pints of Chocolate Bailey’s and Egg Nog ice cream to a Christmas party we were having. I thought they were excellent, but did not want to post a review based solely on that. Last night, however, I was finally able to visit their Atlantic Highlands location, so now it is time for a review.
The place was hopping at about 9 PM. There are only three or four tables, but none were occupied. It seemed people favored grabbing their ice cream and eating it outside despite the blistering heat experienced this past weekend. To say there were consistently 20-30 people on line at all times while we were in there might be a low estimate. In any event, it gave us time to ponder the variety of one-of-a-kind flavors available for purchase. I have followed Nicholas Creamery on Instagram for quite sometime. They have done something unique with their product in the sense that they incorporate local restaurants into what they are churning. They did a strawberry-based ice cream using jam from My Kitchen Witch in Monmouth Beach a few weeks ago. A current coffee flavor boasts Booskerdoo, which has several locations ranging from Asbury Park to Holmdel. There is honey-lavender, using products from Sickles Market in Little Silver. Perhaps the most buzz was drawn with lemon-Ricotta, using cheese made at Porta in Asbury. These are just a few of your choices. All ice cream is handmade, small-batch, and organic.
Following a dinner filled with spicy Thai food (a lethal Pad Prik Khing in particular) at Kunya Siam across the street, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try Nicholas Creamery. My mouth needed cooling after all. Both my mom and Justin made up their minds rather quickly: she went with homemade chocolate brownie and Valhrona chocolate while he chose blackberries and cream and Hudson Trail, which is peanut butter-based and contains all kinds of bits of goodness throughout. I tried the Hudson Trail as well, and a scoop of cotton candy to go with it (I was torn between that and Swedish Fish). They both had hot fudge on theirs, which was real fudge and made me wish I had some on mine.
Much like the two we had in December, these were all delicious and there were no complaints from anyone. There is a much different mouth-feel and temperature with ice creams from Nicholas compared to what you would expect. It is softer, lighter, does not shock the palate, and actually tastes organic. I’m not sure I have ever said that—there is a distinct, noticeable difference which sets this apart from other ice cream. The brownie chunks in my mom’s order were ample and the chocolate flavor itself was rich and velvety. Justin’s blackberries and cream was gone so fast I did not even get a chance to try it. The cotton candy was surprisingly satisfying (and like the egg nog version, actually tasted like the real thing!). As they say in their description, it is nice to be able to enjoy such flavor without the sticky mess that comes with it. There was a pleasing aftertaste and an overall refreshing sensation with each spoonful. Meanwhile, the Hudson Trail blend was a masterpiece of ice cream-making: perfect ratio of contents to the whole, the right size and consistency, and the right amount of peanut butter to melt in your mouth.
Normally, even an outstanding experience with such a limited sampling at a dessert place or coffee shop would only garner a 3 or 3.5. However, I am inclined to do something I rarely ever do, which is go with a 4 out of 5 stars. Due to the freshness, variety, uniqueness, cross-promotion of other businesses, and an unmatched organic quality, Nicholas Creamery is deserving of it and all of the accolades they have received. There is a reason why their popularity has exploded. The prices are also more than fair (our mediums were $4.25 and toppings are only 50 cents each). There are an innumerable amount of Jersey Shore eateries that do not live up to the hype. Nicholas is not one of them. Give it a try if you have not already. Make sure to follow them on social media for the latest in their flavor rotation, which they change quite a bit.
Nicholas Creamery has locations in Fair Haven and Atlantic Highlands. This location is at 1290 84 1st Avenue in Atlantic Highlands. Please note this business is cash only.