The Meadows opened its first frozen custard store in America during the summer of 1950. Since then, the company has expanded to 30 stores on the East Coast of America. A franchise opened in the Canberra suburb of Franklin, the first in Australia, on 5 January 2017.
It is with regret, that I, as a self-confessed ice-cream/gelato/concrete/frozen custard addict, make the announcement that I made my first visit last week. I admitted this fact to the staff when I walked in and was immediately asked if I would like to taste their signature vanilla and chocolate custards. Of course, I said yes. And, to my delight, the chocolate custard is reminiscent of a frozen hot chocolate. These two custard flavours, together with the flavour of the day, form the base for all desserts.
The concept of Arctic Swirls was explained next. This is a frozen custard base customised by swirling through one selection chosen from a range of toppings on display in a cabinet next to the serving counter. I was advised that the best ones are caramel bites, cookie pieces and Ferrero. Then the menu listings for favourite combinations of flavours in the form of swirls and sundaes were pointed out. These are ideal for customers like me who are overwhelmed and unable to make their own decisions about flavour combinations. The staff are also happy to help with recommendations on flavour combinations.
And even this was a hard choice.
Looking for guidance in my decision, I was advised that the staff favourite is the decadent Death by Chocolate Sundae. This is a combination of chocolate frozen custard, chocolate fudge, Oreo cookies, fudge bites and choc chips. With 19 flavour combinations in these sections of the menu, it was difficult to settle on a choice but eventually, the warm apple crumble sundae won out.
Layered onto a warm apple crumble pie base, this sundae begins teasing your tastebuds with a layer of caramel sauce, then two scoops of premium vanilla frozen custard scooped on top before more caramel sauce is drizzled over it. The dessert is finished with whipped cream and a glaced cherry on top to make it a hard-to-beat delight.
Suresh, the current owner, explained that the two signature flavours of vanilla and chocolate are adored by customers in a ratio of 60 to 40 per cent. The custard is made fresh every hour and bacteria are killed as part of the processing method to leave the custard pasteurised and homogenised. A third custard flavour is prepared every day with this “flavour of the day” made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. On the day of my visit, this happened to be mango. I was told this goes well in an arctic swirl when combined with nuts, such as macadamia, or chopped pieces of fresh fruit like mango and strawberry.
The busiest times to visit are on weekends, during the day and in the evenings. Suresh advised that the quietest times to visit are between 5:30 and 7 pm during the week.
Suresh mentioned that he receives challenges and client requests to experiment and create the flavour of the day. Some of these have been chilli hot chocolate and pandan. Pandan is created by extracting juice from the leaves. Suresh also recommended the brownie sundae, which like the apple crumble, has a warm chocolate brownie as its base. I think that will have to be sampled on a future visit as I will definitely return to work my way through the menu.
THE MEADOWS is located at Shop 127, 3 Clare Burton Crescent, Franklin, ACT 2914.
Mon – Thur: 2 pm – 10 pm
Friday : 2 pm – 11 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 10 pm