Seven Cincinnati Icons To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Indulge your sweet cravings with any of these iconic Queen City treats.

These Cincinnati food icons know a thing or two about la dolce vita.


Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip

The family-owned ice cream company introduced this flavor in the late 1970s, and owner Richard Graeter says it’s their best-seller—more than 1.5 million gallons are devoured each year. What’s the secret to BRCC’s luxurious texture, distinct mauve color, and signature dark chocolate chunks? “Without question, you have to start with quality ingredients,” Graeter says, like local eggs, pure cane sugar, Peter’s Chocolate, Oregon black raspberries, and cream from the same fourth-generation family dairy his father bought from. Then, there’s their signature French pot process. “When our ice cream comes out of a French pot, it’s thick, like peanut butter. Modern ice cream is still very liquid-like and foamy, so that it can be pumped into containers at a high speed.” Sacrificing quality for speed has never been the Graeter’s way. The company still makes each batch 2. Gallons at a time, packing pints by hand. • Multiple locations, and your local supermarket,

Kings Island’s Blue Soft Serve

A day at Mason’s biggest playground isn’t complete without a ride on the Beast, a spin on the Monster, or a stop for a blue Smurf cone. The blueberry-flavored soft serve was introduced in 1982 as an homage to those happy blue Hanna-Barbera characters, and it’s been sold (almost) every season since. When it took hiatus in 1992, fans cried out for the Smurf cone’s return, leading to its permanent reinstatement on park menus. Future generations reap the benefits of their brave stand. • 6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason, (513) 754-5700,

Busken Smiley Face Cookies

Move over, Goldfish—Cincinnati loves another snack that smiles back. Busken’s smiley sugar cookies have taken many forms over the years, like candidate cookies for presidential elections, honoring the seasons and our favorite sports teams, and even custom cookies with your image iced on. Nothing’s wrong with the classic smiley, though, which are tasty enough to eat by the dozen (we’re not talking about the minis, either). • Multiple locations, and local supermarkets,

Holtman’s Donuts

There are simply too many tasty pastries at Holtman’s to single out just one icon, so we’ll say anything that fits in their classic black-and-white box is iconic—from apple fritters to Long Johns, from maple bacon doughnuts to vegan treats, from blueberry cake dunkers to yeast raised glazed. Since 1960, Holtman’s has been serving up scratch-made breakfast treats (delicious at any time, and always best fresh). • Multiple locations,

United Dairy Farmers Milkshakes and Malts

A trip to UDF typically means fueling up, but where else can you top off your tank and grab an old-fashioned milkshake for the ride home? Made with UDF’s Homemade brand ice cream, a special malt base, malt powder, and fresh dairy, any flavor you choose for this signature summer treat tastes like the good old days. • Multiple locations, and your local supermarket,

Schneider’s Ice Balls

On any given summer evening, Schneider’s Sweet Shop has a line around the block for this wonderfully simple combination of snow cone and homemade ice cream. Owner Kelly Schneider-Morgan, who recently took over from her parents and has worked at the family business since she was 13, says there’s a reason people keep coming back: Everything about the ice balls, from the ice cream to the syrups to the ice itself, is made in-house using the same recipes the shop used when it opened in 1939. • 420 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 431-3545,

Photograph by Marlene Rounds / food styling by Katy Doench / prop styling by Emily Cestone

The BonBonerie Opera Cream Torte

This luscious torte is made with delicate opera cream—a Cincinnati creation, in case you didn’t know—layered between rich chocolate cake, studded with chocolate shavings, and decorated with creamy white icing and white chocolate accents. The torte also features on many local dessert menus, and for good reason—you’d be hard-pressed to find a cake more luxurious than this for a special occasion (or a just-because indulgence). • 2030 Madison Rd., O’Bryonville, (513) 321-3399,

Facebook Comments