My job accommodated a fun ice cream experience this week! I spent Monday through Friday in Baltimore, Maryland for a team retreat, which was held in a hotel conference room downtown. While most of our days were highly structured, we had a couple free evenings. On Thursday evening, I was mentally exhausted and still feeling full from catered hotel lunches and lots of snacks. In lieu of going out to a restaurant for dinner, I decided to enjoy the warm October night and take a walk to find some ice cream.
One of my favorite co-workers, who lives in Baltimore, is well aware of my ice-cream obsession and has been urging me to visit The Charmery for a long time. She insisted it was the best ice cream she has found in Baltimore, so I knew it would be a shame to leave the city without a visit.
The Charmery is located in a cool residential neighborhood called Hampden, which reminded me of Seattle’s Capital Hill area. I walked over two miles to get there and planned to take an UberX back to our downtown hotel. Needless to say, the long walk helped build up my appetite for an ice-cream dinner.
The Charmery is very inviting, with its giant ice-cream scoop sculpture above the door and its bright blue decor. It was not very busy at 6:30pm on a Thursday, but I would imagine that the shop gets quite busy on weekend afternoons and evenings. But I enjoyed the lack of crowds and took my sweet time perusing the flavors menu and trying a few samples.
There were 16 flavors posted on the menu, some of which appeared to be permanent (such as Salty Caramel, Malty Vanilla Chip, and the Maryland Mud flavor that my coworker raved about) and some rotating or seasonal options. I appreciated the nice mix of kid-friendly and more adult flavors, as many ice-cream shops seem to cater to one audience over the other. Some of the flavors that caught my eye included: Sunday Morning Cartoons (vanilla base with Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms mixed in), Sour Cream Chive and Potato Chip (sour cream ice cream with chives and chips mixed in) and Old Bay Caramel. As you likely know, Old Bay is a classic seafood seasoning blend made in Maryland. While I adore Old Bay seasoning on crab, fries, and chips, I couldn’t imagine it going well with caramel. The nice gentleman behind the counter offered me a sample of it, and I have to say that it wasn’t as bad as I expected! When the ice cream first hit my tongue, it tasted like complex, spicy caramel. But the aftertaste was all Old Bay, which kind of grossed me out. Needless to say, I went with slightly more traditional flavors: a double scoop cone of Coconut Maple Praline (a vegan flavor made with coconut milk) and Pistachio Toffee. The scoop set me back around $5.50, which seemed reasonable.
The verdict? This cone was just what I needed at the end of a long work trip. The Creamery clearly knows its stuff, and both flavors were well balanced and delicious. My favorite of the two flavors was the Pistachio Toffee, which had a light and natural pistachio flavor with just a hint of buttery toffee. It lacked the traditional chunks of pistachio nuts, but I didn’t mind. The Coconut Maple Praline was nice but was a bit icy, and the coconut flavor overwhelmed the maple and praline. Still, it was very tasty for a vegan ice cream! I enjoyed my cone while meandering down West 36th Street in Hampden, window shopping and people watching in the warm evening sun.
801 W 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211