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Spotted Duck picked for best ice cream in the nation

Spotted Duck CreameryLocal matters.

Sam Solomon says mint picked the day it’s mixed in, milk that comes out of the cow down the road, and other real ingredients that include eggs produced from ducks on the premises are what earned the Spotted Duck Creamery the honor of having the best ice cream in the country’s lower 48 states.

Social media personality and TikTok content creator Cohen Thompson, a Texas A&M student, gave Solomon’s Route 54 establishment top billing, with a rating of 9.7. Thompson, a huge ice cream lover, documented his 48-day trek with friends to find the best ice cream shop in as many states. The winner was announced officially Tuesday.

Thompson and company stopped at the Spotted Duck on Day 22 and, in a video, said the flight of 12 different flavors — technically, it’s custard because it is made from duck eggs — was “with amazing texture and flavor, without a doubt the freshest so far.”

Thompson, who also reviews fast-food restaurants, has more than 227,000 followers on TikTok, but he’s also on Instagram and YouTube. And, when he asked for suggestions for which ice cream stand he should visit in each state for the competition, the Spotted Duck’s fans stepped up, Solomon said.

“They blew up TikTok,” Solomon said, prompting Thompson to choose the Spotted Duck, which as far as Solomon can tell, is the only ice cream establishment anywhere that uses duck eggs to make the sweet treat. Thompson also pointed that out in his review.

On Day 22, which was a Monday about a month ago, right around opening, Thompson and his friends pulled up to the ice cream stand. Solomon said he had no idea they were coming, but one of his scoopers thought it was a little strange when the video camera came out, so Solomon was summoned.

“Luckily, I was there,” he said.

He gave them a brief tour of the farm, where they met Alejandro, the resident peacock, as well as the ducks that produce the eggs.

Spotted Duck Ice CreamThompson and his buddies sampled the ice cream, and Solomon said he asked Thompson how he thought they did. They told him he was definitely in the top four. There were still 26 more stops to make at that point, but it was going to be pretty hard to beat the 9.7 rating, Solomon figured.

The recording of that visit, according to YouTube, has 1.4 million views and 1,035 comments, including one from someone from North Carolina, where the second-best ice cream stop, with a 9.4 rating, was located.

“As a North Carolinian, sad to see us get dethroned, but this place deserves it,” the writer noted.

Thompson came back to the Spotted Duck last week and brought Solomon his certificate and a small trophy for winning the competition. Solomon said thanks to Thompson, people are coming from far and wide — making special trips — to sample his ice cream. On a typical day, the small parking lot is packed. Tour buses have been seen there as well.

Solomon, who has owned the Spotted Duck for three seasons, said that quality comes through in the ice cream, which is handmade because priority is placed on locally produced ingredients such as berries, rhubarb, apples, milk, and everything else that goes into the ice cream. He said regular ice cream may have chemicals and less desirable contents, including things that have been trucked from far away.

“I think the reason is that we have truly amazing ingredients from Finger Lakes farmers and producers,” Solomon said about why Thompson was so impressed with his product. “It’s just freshness.”

Solomon had his wood-fired Pizza Posto food truck at the Spotted Duck when the business was owned by Daniel and Elizabeth Hoover. He said they sold the ice cream business to him because they knew he was as dedicated to using only the best and most local ingredients as they were.

“They weren’t going to sell it to just anyone,” he said. “Like I did with the pizza, I want people to get into real food habits, and I know people want that for their kids. There are not a lot of honest desserts.”

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