Big Dipper – Cardamom & Huckleberry
Ice Cream Stand in Missoula, MT
Less of a shop and more of a stand/stall is how I would describe this ice cream business. You don’t really enter the a storefront anywhere. Instead you just order from the outside, and eat it outside at one of the picnic tables surrounding the establishment- kind of exactly like the original McDonalds from the movie The Founder. [Yes, I know that the burger stand is from real life and not just the movie, but I feel like more people will have seen the film as opposed to some random photo of the original McDonalds]. This outdoors quality is a bit of a double edged sword though, with the majority of the blade going against you. Because while I’m sure the outside provides a nice quaint and family friendly feel to it in the summertime, any time before summer is flipping freezing. We went here around 5:30 p.m. and while there was still ample sun out, I was actually shivering while waiting in line. This probably didn’t bode well since I was about to eat a chilled dessert as well, but what the hell, bring it on.
With the weather caveat, the differentiator that makes this place really shine, is the PTQ ratio. The price is regular to slightly less than the national average, but because the size of a scoop is somewhere between a baseball and Softball, the quantity more than makes up for the price paid. Furthermore, because they get all their milk fresh from local dairy farms, they do have a solid traditional ice cream taste and texture. It’s not the creamiest like with gelati, but if you want a solid traditional ice cream, they do it very well here.
As far as the flavors go, I’m not 100% sure why I chose these two to go together. When I asked what their most popular unique flavors were, these were two that were mentioned which seemed like they wouldn’t fight against each other too much. And truth be told, I was right. They don’t fight against one another. That said, I wouldn’t exactly say they help each other either. They just kind of mix into a blend of choices that originate from an inflated royal ego.
Woah, is it that bad?
Hey! I never said it was bad. It’s just that I feel like I could’ve done better, and I let my pride get in the way of focusing on one unusual flavor at a time. Individually, the flavors are pretty average to above average, and while they did have other options that interested me, I hadn’t really had these to alone, or together for that matter, and wanted to review them both.
The flavor of huckleberry is probably done better here than anywhere else I tried. Huckleberries in general seem to be most common from Montana to Minnesota, and maybe into South Dakota as well. For those in areas without huckleberries, they do have the “berry-esque” flavor; which basically means I have no idea how to describe it other than a mix between blueberries with the slightest tart of a raspberry thrown in. In actuality, the way it’s done here makes it taste almost like a jam, wherein it’s sweet, and has a slight little kick that comes from sugars and the fruit congealing… That really doesn’t sound that appetizing as I read that line, but it’s really good.
What is cardamom again? Well it’s this herb kinda thing, that’s similar to ginger in that it has digestive like properties, but kinda tastes like Pixie Sticks or maybe ground up Smarties.
Effervescent pixie stick huckleberries! Kind of a basic description, but as I noted at the beginning of this review, I was shivering, and not thinking straight. In fact, now that I think about it, shivering is one of the stages of hypothermia, so yeah! Of course I didn’t have my descriptive brain power at 100%. I was practically at the body temperature of a human in the actual outer space big dipper!
As you might have noticed, my descriptions became less and less as the review goes on. I was seriously cold, and my notes were minimal to say the least. So while I did appreciate this place for qualities like nostalgia, quantity, and a cute outdoor scene, I would recommend coming here when it’s at least 60 degrees or higher, in order to fully enjoy the ice cream.