The first time I tried Vic’s craft ice cream, formerly known as Fountain and Co., was through the Stock Culinary Goods’ window on Hope Street. I didn’t realize that Victoria Young, the woman who founded Fountain and Co., and now the new owner of Vic’s Hand-Crafted Ice Cream in Barrington, was one of the masterminds behind Stock’s pop-up sliding window. “Jan [the owner of Stock] and I were brainstorming ways to host pop up events,” Young said in an interview with YCDIDI podcast. “At the same time our eyes went to the back corner window, and we both said, ‘Are we thinking the same thing?’”
Thus, the pop-up sliding window was born, and with it, the genesis of Vic’s craft ice cream, with inventive flavors such as white chocolate lavender and blueberry basil sorbet. But don’t get too attached to any one flavor: with the exception of vanilla, which happens to be Young’s favorite flavor of ice cream — topped with rainbow sprinkles, of course — the flavors at her store are constantly going to rotate.
For example, during her soft opening, which took place the second weekend of May, I fell in love with her matcha coconut ice cream, and when I met with Young a couple weeks later she told me it’s already off the menu. “People have asked about it, and it’ll come back … but I’m tweaking it,” she said. “I think it could be better.”
She gets her matcha from Michelle Cheng of Leafy Green Teas, one of the people she loves collaborating with. “We came together to make a Cheese Tea Float. I remember asking Michelle, ‘Are you sure you want to call it that?’ and she said, ‘Yes, that’s its name.’ I thought it would turn people away, but we sold out immediately. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tried. We pair a cream cheese ice cream with black tea that has a sweet potato aroma — she draws a lot of her inspiration from China when she visits — and the combination of flavors works so well. That’s the kind of thing I want to do more of.”
And she’s got plenty of exciting collaborations on the horizon, with Knead Donuts, Sydney in Portsmouth and Rebelle Artisan Bagels (go now and try a pop tart sundae!). Traditional ice cream floats are also coming to Vic’s menu, paired with RI’s own Yacht Club soda. And for caffeine drinkers, Nitro Cart coffee will soon be served on tap. Located on Maple Ave in Barrington, this is the perfect place for anyone traveling along the East Bay Bike Path to stop for a re-charge.
The store itself is darling, and it reminds me of a 1940s ice cream parlor: white, black and red — or is it pink? — interior. After searching color swatches on Google, I determined it’s “Amaranth,” a reddish-rose color that pops the moment you enter the space. There are splashes of white, lavender and green from potted flowers on the tables and pink trim on the windows. It feels both clean and welcoming, the kind of place that will imprint on children as the quintessential ice cream shop and that will harken a sense of nostalgia in adults.
As we sit together two weeks after her grand opening, Young is both happy and exhausted. “I was up until 3:30am at the kitchen,” she told me. “I went to bed an hour before my fiancé woke up to go fishing.”
If you’ve been following Motif for a while, you may remember when I went quahogging with Davy Andrade last fall. We met at the ungodly (but beautiful) hour of 5:30am and watched the sun rise over the East Bay. He spent half of that boat trip talking about his girlfriend — how strong and driven she was, with a passion he found inspiring — he was, of course, speaking about Young, whom he proposed to a few months later.
“He’s been so supportive throughout this process,” she said. “Every time I feel stressed out, or frustrated because we haven’t seen each other, he reminds me, ‘This is what it looks like to build our future, and it’s all going to come together soon.’”
When I was on the boat with Andrade I spent time analyzing his tattoos, so it’s only fair I inquired about Young’s tattoos, too, since she has a fun assortment on her arm — most notably an ice cream cone and, farther up, a duo of cherries. “I actually got the cherries before they became my trademark!” she said, speaking of the gummy cherries she’s known for adding atop her ice cream. The candy, she says, fits her personality and style.
Just a few short years ago she was in Denmark working at Noma, aka, the best restaurant in the world, through an internship with JWU, and before that she was a pre-med student at Rutgers. “I must be equal parts left and right-brained,” she said, speaking of her formulaic approach to ice cream creation. I can envision her in the kitchen like a mad scientist, her apron splattered in heavy cream, recording quantities and ingredients in notebooks whose pages stick together with each new round of experimentation. “I have so many notebooks,” she confirmed, “and the pages do stick together.”
So, why ice cream?
“I love the challenge of it,” she said, speaking of the business as a whole and the day-to-day of creating new flavors. “I don’t ever want to get bored with what I’m doing,” she said.
Although getting bored is the least of my worries, I know that with Vic’s Hand-Crafted Ice Cream, we will always have something fresh and exciting to look forward to, just beyond — and perhaps including — the rainbow sprinkles.
Vic’s Craft Ice Cream: 74 Maple Ave. Barrington, RI