The Bent Spoon adds something extra to its frozen treats.
Gabrielle Carbone and Matthew Errico want to remind you that New Jersey is the Garden State. Their families believed that homegrown foods led to the best meals, so they applied that logic to a larger scale with the Bent Spoon, an “artisan ice cream and good ingredient bakery.” Its good ingredients are purchased from New Jersey and Pennsylvania farms, schools, grocers, breweries, and other small businesses. This interaction between local vendors, their bakery, and customers yields great treats and spreads community awareness and sustainability.
You can find the Bent Spoon, which opened in 2004, nestled amongst the storefronts on Palmer Square West in Princeton, NJ. The bakery’s white exterior is marked by the simple black letters identifying its name above the front window, which uniformly matches the neighboring businesses. The interior, however, reflects the liveliness of your snacking options. Shades of green meet black and orange highlights in the Bent Spoon’s two-table seating area and a mural on the left wall welcomes you with a dose of New Jersey roots and pride.
Approach the display cases and you will find a range of baked goods such as cupcakes, cakes, and cookies. The flavors here include vanilla, chocolate, triple chocolate chunk, oatmeal cranberry raisin and many others, depending on the season. The Bent Spoon’s employees, dubbed Spoonies, will gladly pack your order or pour you a Spoon Soda. They will also help narrow your ice cream selection with samples of any flavor.
The Bent Spoon puts its local ingredients to use by concocting ice cream and sorbet flavors to meet your every interest, including beer. That’s right, there’s beer-flavored ice cream! After sampling some Guinness ice cream, Gabrielle and Matthew discovered that beer could easily be translated to a frozen dessert. The conversion inverts the typical drinking experience: the beer becomes the aftertaste while its flavor is your focus from the very first bite.
Great tasting beer leads to great tasting desserts, which is why Gabrielle and Matthew rely on the high-level craftsmanship of Philly-area breweries. The proprietors believe that they and their customers shouldn’t “settle for mediocrity when Philly has raised the bar for quality.” This stance has led to flavors such as Caramel Insanity, which is Weyerbacher’s Insanity and Madagascar vanilla beans made into ice cream and streaked with the Bent Spoon’s sea salt caramel. They have also created Chestnut 8, a flavor that emphasizes the chestnuts in Flying Fish’s Exit 8. As for sorbets, the shop’s previous highlights have included a pair of Dogfish Head inspirations: Aprihop Sorbet, made with Aprihop and Pennsylvania apricots, and Raisin-Raison D’Etre.
The Bent Spoon isn’t afraid to find great beer a little farther from Philly. For example, Dark Philosophy is a fair trade dark chocolate ice cream that includes Ommegang’s Three Philosophers and Italian Amarena cherries. After receiving a few bottles as a gift, Gabrielle and Matthew transformed the New Glarus Brewing Company’s Wisconsin Belgian Red into Cheesy Glarus Cherry, a flavor that also included Wisconsin cheese and cherries. They also created Milk Chocolate Judgment Day, made from The Lost Abbey’s Judgment Day, brown butter candied pecans, pieces of chocolate covered heirloom New Jersey cranberries, and organic figs and raisins. The Bent Spoon regularly updates its menu based on seasonal ingredients and brews, so check back often to find your latest snacking possibility!