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Enjoy Refreshingly Cold, Delicious Hand-Made Ice Cream at Kellerhaus

Christine Randall - July 16, 2012





“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” I’m sure everyone is familiar with this old saying, which apparently is a line from a song performed in the late 1920s, and it is probably safe to say that this time of year just about everybody, young and old, is “screaming for ice cream!”

July being National Ice Cream month (yes, this is really true), I thought it would be prudent to investigate the homemade ice cream treats available at Kellerhaus on Route 3 in Weirs Beach, which recently received the honor of being voted the “Best Ice Cream in the Lakes Region” for the second straight year by readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

During the warm summer months, ice cream reigns as one of the most sought after cold sweet treats, and Kellerhaus, established in 1906 by Otto Keller, is well-known as the oldest continually operating candy and ice cream store in New Hampshire, and they have been satisfying the demand for ice cream with their homemade selections since the 1920s. The ice cream sundae buffet, the first to be offered in the area, was added to the store by Otto’s son, Seth Keller, in the early 1970’s, and it has proven over the years to be very popular with tourists and residents alike.

“All the ice cream is made here!” says Mary Ellen Dutton, who along with her husband Dave has owned Kellerhaus since 2004. “The ice cream is still made in the original 1930 York ice cream maker that was used by Otto, Seth and Pitman Keller.”

Kellerhaus serves ice cream year-round, but during the summer the ice cream is made twice a week due to high demand. “Dave makes over 700 gallons of ice cream per week during the summer months,” says Mary Ellen. “After it is made, the ice cream goes into the hardening freezer (20-30 degrees below zero) for 24 hours and then it comes up to be served.”

According to Mary Ellen, the ice cream is served in a scooping station that the Kellers used in the 1960’s, which holds 12 of the 18 flavors available. Flavors include the usual – “Keller” vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, black raspberry, and maple walnut – as well as the more unusual – “Cookie Monster,” “Cherry Chocolate Chunk,” “Dough Boy,” “Cookie Coffee,” “Chocolate Chocolate Chip,” Moose Poop,” and “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.”

Kellerhaus also makes sugar free coffee ice cream and sugar free vanilla ice cream, and they offer three varieties of soft serve ice cream. Around Christmas time, you can also find peppermint stick ice cream (which happens to be my personal, but hard-to-find, favorite!).

“Because people top their own sundaes at the buffet, Keller Vanilla is still the #1 flavor choice,” notes Mary Ellen. “The favorite flavor for most children is the Cookie Monster – it is blue vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookies. My favorite is Cookie Coffee, which my son calls “Grownup Cookie Monster,” or just plain coffee ice cream because it is made with real coffee and has a nice rich flavor that I like. Dave’s favorite is the Cherry Chocolate Chunk.”

The ice cream can be served in cake cones, sugar cones, and homemade waffle bowls and cones. Or you can opt to enjoy one of Kellerhaus’ famous “make your own sundae” at the ice cream smorgasbord, starting with a base of your favorite flavor of ice cream and finished with a variety of toppings.

“There are fourteen different toppings at the ice cream smorgasbord,” says Mary Ellen. “The hot fudge, butterscotch, chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, marshmallow and whipped cream are all made here daily from the original Keller recipes. The marshmallow is very light, and it is truly an old-fashioned recipe. I always say it is the homemade version of “fluff” without all the preservatives.”

Other toppings include strawberries, pineapple, banana chips, chocolate brights (such as M&M’s), jimmies, rainbow sprinkles, peanuts and walnuts. If that weren’t enough, you can also have bananas and brownies with your ice cream. Mary Ellen says that the favorite topping with customers is hot fudge and the homemade whipped cream, but her favorite is cold chocolate sauce, “because it is more chocolatey…and I’m a chocoholic!”

You can put any number of toppings on your sundae at no additional charge, but prices for the sundaes vary depending on the number of scoops of ice cream you select, from $3.95 for one scoop to $12.95 for the 10-scoop Colossus.

You can also order frappes and root beer floats at Kellerhaus. The floats are made with Squamscott Soda, which is made in New Hampshire and is made with cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, according to Mary Ellen. She adds that the large dining area, which features old-fashioned ice cream parlor chairs, can accommodate up to 120 people at a time, and it is very busy on hot and rainy days.

“Most people eat in our ice cream buffet because they like to listen to the Nickelodeon and try to catch a glimpse of Lake Winnipesaukee through the trees,” Mary Ellen notes. “We do have picnic tables on the lawn out in front, and on nice days, those fill up as well.” If you prefer, you can choose to take your ice cream treat to go, and individual half-gallon containers of ice cream are also available for sale.

Continuing a tradition started during the 100th anniversary celebration in 2006, Dollar Cone Days are held every Wednesday. “It is still a very popular day to visit,” says Mary Ellen. “Although it doesn’t include the smorgasbord toppings, it is still only a dollar a scoop for our fresh haus-made ice cream and includes sprinkles.”

Another tradition, re-started last year, is the free sundae on your birthday special. “For our 105th year, we decided to return to an original Keller’s Confections tradition of offering a free two scoop sundae if you come in your birthday,” explains Mary Ellen. “We said we’d celebrate our birthday by celebrating yours!”

Of course, Kellerhaus is known far and wide for their hand-made chocolates and candy, and no visit to Kellerhaus would be complete without a visit to the candy room. There are 101 different varieties of candy made fresh daily on the premises, with a large multi-sided display case in the center of the candy room area that is full of several different types of chocolates, allowing you to pick and choose your favorite mouth-watering dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or assorted chocolate with a variety of centers.

Other traditional favorites in the candy room include cashew and pecan turtles, fudge, nut clusters, butter crunch, peanut brittle, jelly beans, and maple sugar candy. There is also a good selection of sugar-free candies. Gift baskets, both ready-made and custom-made, as well as assorted varieties of pre-boxed candy, are available.

Other edible products include jams, relishes, and jellies; nuts; and maple products, such as maple syrup, maple sugar candy, and maple mustard. During your visit, you can also browse through a number of interesting gift rooms, which, in addition to the candy rooms, include a baby room, a holiday room, a card and candle room, a toy room, a room featuring women’s accessories, a room referred to as the Senator’s Room, and a room specifically catering to gifts for men.

During the summer season, Kellerhaus has extended hours, Monday – Friday from 10am until 10pm, and Saturday and Sundays from 8am until 10pm. Breakfast is available on weekends from 8am until Noon. Kellerhaus is located on Route 3 in Weirs Beach. For more information, call 366-4466 or toll-free at 1-888-KLR-HAUS (1-888-557-4287), or you can log on to www.kellerhaus.com. 

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