Jeff Regan makes more ice cream than he could possibly eat. “If I ate all that I made,” he says, “I’d be a pretty big fellow.” After his wife gave him an ice cream maker four years ago, Regan set out to perfect the old-fashioned custard style of ice cream. “You take the milk and cream and you temper it, bring it up to temperature, add your yolks and sugar to it, and you make a custard out of it. It’s a two-day process. It takes one day to cook the ice cream, another day to cool it down for at least four hours. That’s the creamiest ice cream you can get, but it’s a lot of work. That’s the one grandma used to make.”
Regan makes so many batches that he gives away most of what he makes. And as a national sales manager for ERICO, he makes his clients pretty happy with his icy confection. He’s also won top honors at the Texas State Championship Homemade Ice Cream Freeze-Off.
He was surprised to learn that there wasn’t an ice cream competition in Louisiana, much less a statewide championship — so he created the Louisiana State Homemade Ice Cream Freeze-Off Championship. Last year’s inaugural event in July drew 27 entries to Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette, and more than 700 people showed up to sample Louisiana’s best homemade ice cream recipes.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, and representatives from Blue Bell will also be on hand to scoop up samples from their line of ice cream. (Last year, they served 50 gallons of ice cream.)
There are two divisions for the Freeze-Off — “Lil’ Dippers,” ages 6 – 12 and “Big Dippers,” for ages 13 and up — with two different categories in each division — one for chocolate, vanilla, and fruit flavored ice creams and another for “unlimited” flavors, where anything and everything goes. Last year, Suzanne Meaux won first place in the Big Dipper category and took home the People’s Choice award and the Grand Champion title, with her Old Glory recipe, an ice cream spiked with cream cheese, blueberries and raspberries.
“It’s a nice family event,” Regan says. “There’s no alcohol there. It’s just a nice clean event you can bring the kids to.”
The Louisiana State Homemade Ice Cream Freeze-Off Championship takes place at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette, this Saturday, June 9, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. The public tasting of entries starts at 5 p.m. Admission (which includes samples) is $3 for adults and $2 for children aged 12 and under. Registration to compete is $5 per entry. For more info on the Freeze-Off and for a registration form, visit www.laicecream.com. For more info on the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, visit www.childrensmuseumofacadiana.com.