Skip to comments.Blue Moon [Ice Cream] Draws Big Prices on Nostalgia Net
Posted on 01/14/2007 12:42:43 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
Tantalizingly sweet with an undefinable flavor and a bright, almost turquoise color, Blue Moon ice cream haunts the tastebuds of those who grew up in the northern Midwest.
Their longing has made the flavor created in Milwaukee a top seller for online ice cream dealers who can charge $10 or more per pint even though Blue Moon is virtually unknown outside the Midwest.
While several Wisconsin ice cream and custard makers produce frozen treats with the Blue Moon flavor, their products are almost exclusively sold at small ice cream parlors in Wisconsin and Michigan.
"I describe it as the milk after a bowl of Froot Loops," said Dave Deadman, co-owner of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, which sold 1,000 pints through an online shipper last year.
His No. 2 Internet flavor, Turtle, sold half as much.
Ann Caron, 44, who grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, remembers the flavor with longing.
"I haven't had Blue Moon in a blue moon," Caron said.
Growing up in Capac, Mich., it was her Sunday treat, chosen each time her family stopped at a now-closed mom-and-pop ice cream shop. The bright color initially attracted her.
"They make it very appealing, that's what my brother the chef would say - presentation is 90 percent of the food," Caron said. "Of course, if it was going to attract anyone, it would be a kid. An adult would not choose Blue Moon."
That's partly because of the stain.
"Your lips would turn blue, and your teeth would turn blue," Caron said. "That was fun."
Milwaukee flavor-maker Ralph Abrams created Blue Moon, most likely in the late 1940s or 1950s, said Andrew Plennert, owner of Chicago's Edgar A. Weber & Co., which now owns the formula.
"It was probably designed for kids because of the blue color and having such a strong color and flavor," Plennert said.
What is the flavor?
"It's a cherry, citrusy, fruity-type flavor," he said.
"I would say more berry than anything, but it just has it's own distinct taste," Caron offered.
"Some people think it has hints of pistachio," volunteered Steve Sauter, founder and co-owner of IceCreamSource.com.
Blue Moon was the longtime No. 1 seller on IceCreamSource.com, which ships more than 42,000 pints per year. Last year, it slipped to No. 2 behind black licorice, a favorite among seniors who remember it from the 1930s and 1940s.
Sauter described Blue Moon as "a kids' favorite" but said he got one call from a California woman in her 90s who wanted to surprise her husband, who was originally from Michigan.
"It's a very Midwestern flavor, and why it's so popular with us is you can't find it anywhere else," Sauter said.
Blue Moon ranked No. 8 out of 110 flavors Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream sold last year. Deadman has tried to export it beyond Wisconsin and Michigan, but with little success.
"It doesn't go over as well the farther south we go," he said. "We have customers in Indiana, and I'll say, 'You definitely have to have Blue Moon,' and they'll say, 'It doesn't sell here.' "
Linda Remeschatis, owner of Wisconsinmade.com, said her online orders tend to come from former residents and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni who remember it from their days on campus.
Her Web site sells a Blue Moon Ice Cream Sampler with eight pints of ice cream and frozen custard from four different dairies for $55 plus shipping. That includes two pints from Babcock Hall Dairy Store at UW-Madison.
Babcock Hall began offering Blue Moon as a regular flavor about five years ago, said Bill Klein, the dairy's laboratory manager. It made it first for a residence hall that wanted a special flavor for a blue moon, or the second full moon in a month.
Blue Moon stayed in the dairy's flavor of the month rotation until the residence hall's manager called Klein again.
"She said, 'I'm just getting killed. The students are demanding it,' " he said. "I was surprised because it's for kids."
Blue Moon fans have tried to guess the flavor mix with recipes circulating on the Internet that call for such ingredients as pineapple, and other companies have made flavorings they also call Blue Moon.
Plennert won't discuss what's in the mix native to Wisconsin. But he did say the taste is more common than people realize. A colorless version of Blue Moon is used in the pharmaceutical and beverage industries to hide bitter or harsh tastes in products such as yogurt, he said.
Caron just wishes she could find some Blue Moon near her home in Utica, Ohio. Her 17-year-old daughter Lisa was crowned Ice Cream Queen by a local company last year, requiring the family to travel the state.
"No Blue Moon," Caron reported. "We went all over the state of Ohio to all kinds of festivals, but I never saw it anywhere."
Food Ping! :)
"Blue Moon" is an ice cream flavor, not a company like Blue Bell.
Cedar Crest makes a great "Blue Moon" ice cream product around here too, though Chocolate Shoppe beats them hands down, IMHO.
oh the boys loved blue moon ice cream at the
jackson all star dairy. i was not fond of the
blue faces and shirts. sure miss that place!
Funny, I remember going there lots, but not blue ice cream.
mr. chris' favorite...prolly just to torture me ;)
**Nostalgiac food ping**
I loved Blue Moon when I was a kid. It turned my teeth and tongue bright blue--cool :)
Our company works on their web site & IT issues:
I feel deprived. I never heard of "Blue Moon" ice cream. But, I certainly had my share of "Moon Pies".
It's those contented cows there in Brenham.
I've never gotten to try it. As far as I know it's not carried in Texas. We have BlueBell Ice Cream which is really good.
I live in Las Vegas. 3 weeks ago, a new gelato store opened up across the street where I live. I was surprised to find out that they sell both Blue Moon and Purple Cow flavored Gelato. Then I noticed that the chain started in Michigan.
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