What is the difference between custard, ice cream, and frozen yogurt and why does it matter? Is it not all the same? Looks may deceive us, however the taste buds do not lie. “What many consider real frozen custard is simply custard ingredients run through a frozen yogurt machine,” explains the owners of The Meadows. The science of a true custard creation requires specialized equipment, and that equipment is just the baseline to start a great custard operation. The ‘truth is in the custard’ by blending the science and equipment with the art of hand-crafted batches. The delicate balance creates enough of a subtle difference which sets The Meadows Original Frozen Custard in Williamsburg apart from the competition.
Historical documents describe egg yolk – the key custard ingredient – included in ice cream in the 17th-centrury, yet modern-day frozen custard dates to the 1920s. The key difference between ice cream, frozen yogurt and true custard is the air quantity, or density, within the product itself. Specialized equipment receives the ingredients through a hopper on top of the machine. The ingredients are blended into a dense consistency by removing, or whipping out, the ice crystals and thus the quantity of air within the product. Custard is then held in a unique container where the product is scooped and served to customers at about 18 degrees, whereas ice cream is generally served at 0 degrees. Custard is traditionally less that 20% overrun, meaning, more quality product as a percentage of ingredients used. The lower the percentage the better. Overly sugary and fatty ice cream can exceed 100% overrun, as an example.
So, what makes The Meadows Original Frozen Custard so unique? The addition of art and innovation. Of course, The Meadows maintains the stalwarts of the frozen treat genre - vanilla and chocolate. However, the team at The Meadows gets innovative by creating a menu of monthly rotational flavors that are hand-crafted and small batch tested with their staff. “We routinely create small batches before each month to make sure our ideas taste as good as they sound.” The artistic touch comes from inventing with the staff members. The whole team participates in trial and error, feedback sessions, and are given autonomy to make on-the-spot adjustments that increase the palatable pleasure for every customer. “Our focus is always on experimenting with fresh new flavors and unique combinations that appeal to our customers, much like our innovative lavender flavored custard.” The Meadows team recently fashioned a sensational hit by incorporating a special-order lavender extract, from Sweethaven Lavender farm, to create their lavender custard.
The original Meadows location, and family-owned custard recipe, resides in Duncansville, Pennsylvania. The Meadows family committed to a superior custard, friendly and timely service, and a “sparkling clean store” when opening the first location on July 4th, 1950. Over fifty-years later, The Meadows maintains this standard of excellence, which you will consistently find at the Williamsburg location that opened in 2019. For example, the industry standard is to rotate the custard every two hours. The team at The Meadows rotates the custard every 30-mintues to maintain the fresh taste and consistency they are quickly becoming famous for in our area. Each customer can expect a made-to-order treat. The Meadows prides itself on delivering a special experience to each patron. The wait may be a few minutes more than most ice cream locations, but the rewards are worth the time it takes for The Meadows team to hand-craft each order. The mountain of captivating custard will delight anyone indulging a sweet frozen treat. With the goal of providing real custard, fresh ingredients, and unique and delightful flavors, The Meadows is excited to expand to future locations in Richmond, Newport News, and Virginia Beach, along with a food truck for pop-up events. Check them out at 1222 Richmond Road for dine-in or drive-thru service. Also, stay up to date on new flavors via Instagram @meadowscustard and Facebook at The Meadows Original Frozen Custard – Williamsburg, VA.