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Sweet Cream, Maple Walnut, and More Available at Boston's Most Popular Ice Cream Shop

By Kelly Church

Selling homemade ice cream, hard and soft yogurt, cakes, pies and house roasted coffee, J.P. Licks is a "homemade ice cream café" with over 13 locations in and around Boston, MA. The ice cream shop has many seasonal and monthly flavors, focusing on ingredients that are ripe for that time of year. J.P. Licks buys bulk of fresh ingredients and hand cuts them to prep for the season's flavors.

"In my opinion, you can quite literally taste the difference between a homemade product that uses real, quality ingredients (like ours), and something that's been manufactured using chemicals and artificial flavors in a lab," Shelbi Deacon, Marketing Coordinator, says. "For example, this month our production department has been super busy cutting cases and cases of fresh peaches, cucumbers and watermelon for [the month's] flavors. There are pounds of hand-cut fresh produce in each bucket of these flavors and the difference is absolutely palpable."

Because they use fresh ingredients that are in season and harvested at just the right time, many flavors at J.P Licks are seasonal. July's flavors included fresh peach, fresh cucumber, blueberry pancakes and syrup made with real pancakes and blueberries, cherry vanilla chip, fresh watermelon sherbet, raspberry lime rickey sorbet and fresh mojito sorbet. Not all flavors are made with fruit, though. J.P Licks twist on favorite moose tracks ice cream is cow trax, vanilla ice cream with mini peanut butter cups, chocolate chips and homemade hot fudge that is hand stirred into the mix. The pure hemp ice cream uses a dairy-free ice cream base with just hemp added. There is also chocolate coconut, low fat chocolate chip and soy mocha almond ice creams.

J.P. Licks ice cream cakes range from ready-to-go cakes that are available within two hours of ordering, specialty cakes available within 48 hours and custom cakes, also available within 48 hours. Cakes and pies come in many traditional flavors, including cookies n' cream, chocolate chip and cake batter. There are also more unique options, including a brownie layer cake, tiramisu, rum raisin, coconut almond chip and even gluten free options.

"We hand-pack all of our ice cream cakes because it creates a much higher density ? you are getting more ice cream in a hand-packed ice cream cake, quart or pint than you would if they were filled straight from the machine," Deacon says. "Our cakes are surprisingly heavy because of this! You get much more ice cream and flavor in each bite, too."

As for J.P. Licks coffee, it's roasted to address the problem with Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts -- Starbucks roasts too dark and Dunkin' Donuts roasts too light. The company's website says, "it's the best coffee and espresso in 'Bean' town!" The beans are roasted locally at the Firehouse in Jamaica Plain. It's described as dark enough to be a "hearty" cup of coffee, without ever tasting burnt.

Deacon says it's the dream of owner Vince Petryk to bring joy to people through handmade ice cream. Petryk got into the business after working at a local ice cream shop after college, first as a dishwasher and eventually working his way up to manager. After years of working on his from-scratch ice cream recipe, he opened J.P. Licks in 1981, named after the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. With multiple locations all over the state, J.P. Licks continues to grow, earning awards and accolades from many Boston-area media outlets.

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