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FrostBite: Ice cream made the old way but with some new flavors

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2011 - John Clopton, 40, makes homemade ice cream in the comforts of his Lafayette Square home. That alone wouldn't be too exceptional, but his ice cream comes in some rather unusual flavors and it's for sale. He is the founder of FrostBite Gourmet Ice Cream LLC, and the flavors range from candied bacon to basil mint to chocolate.

When asked what he does for a living, Clopton never replies that he is a web designer for a major company in St. Louis. Instead, "I tell them I make ice cream and about the wooden churns I use to make it and sometimes I get the response, 'My grandma used to make it like that!' "

When he was a kid, Clopton's father used to make vanilla ice cream, but Clopton didn't appreciate the process until later. Then, Clopton begged his father, who lives in Mississippi, for the recipe. When Clopton finally got his hands on the family secret, he went to work with a White Mountain ice cream maker, a company that has been around since 1872. The process of making ice cream himself is something Clopton enjoys.

"My first taste testers were my coworkers. I brought in champagne ice cream. It was very alcoholic. I realize after I was sitting at my desk and then stood up and thought, 'Wow, this is not quite right'."

Clopton went on to experiment with other flavors. "Probably the strangest was tomato. I'm not sure I'll be making that one again." FrostBite is all made with honey as the sweetener and lactose free milk. "Milk and I never got along, but I always liked ice cream, I had to figure out a way to keep eating it."

Frostbite ice cream is made with as many local products as Clopton can get his hands on. He uses cinnamon from the Soulard Spice Shop and coffee from the Chauvin Coffee because they roast their own beans. His chocolate ice cream is made from Askionsie Coco Beans.

"If I ever went global with my ice cream, I would have to ensure that local products were still being used, the biggest responsibility would be to make sure that everything is gathered from the region I was distributing in."

FrostBite Gormet Ice cream newest flavors can be tasted at coworking spaces around town including Nebula Coworking on Cherokee Street and Saint Louis Coworking downtown. Clopton drops off his newest creations and lets coworkers in these office spaces -- where he uses space for FrostBite meetings -- be the first to give him feedback on his Facebook page for FrostBite.

For example, Hiliary Smith, 23, wrote a review in February on the Frostbite facebook page: "I loved the Hot Chocolate. The extra spiciness at the end was unexpected but delicious! The Sweet Basil had a good taste, but I don't think I would choose it for a bowl or a cone." Clopton takes this feedback and alters his flavors.

At the moment, FrostBite ice cream can be found on the menu of Six Row Brewery, which carries FrostBite's Strong Porter flavor. And Clopton has catered many events. He will be handing out ice cream samples at the Third Degree Glass Factory's open house on Friday, June 17 at 6 p.m. For more information about FrostBite or to inquire about getting a party catered, contact John Clopton at: john.clopton@getfrostbite.com

Rosa Dudman Mayer is a freelance writer, who works with the coworking offices.

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