My husband, growing up in Kentucky, has been a lifelong fan of Graeter’s ice cream. He always swore it was the best on the planet. Being from Minnesota I didn't know what he was talking about.
He made me look at the website, he made me watch shows on the Food Network about how the chocolate chips are made; he was a true die-hard fan.
My first Graeter’s experience was on a trip to Kentucky visiting family. One taste and I was hooked as well. There is nothing like the irresistible, creamy, smooth taste and texture of the ice cream with the softest, melt-in-your mouth amazing chocolate chips ever! I ate it every day on vacation and our short trip came to an end without my Graeter’s ice cream craving satisfied.
Without knowing that we could have the ice cream shipped directly to our door, we came up with the brilliant plan to take it with us on the airplane - an 8 hour trip back to Minnesota with a layover, seems easy enough! Not to mention we were traveling with our 2 children under the age of 2 on a red-eye flight. One or two pints just wasn’t enough – we had to introduce our Minnesota friends and family to the wonder that is Graters ice cream, so we attempted to bring back 12 pints.
The day of our flight we spent the morning on the phone with the airline confirming that we could indeed bring ice cream and dry ice on the plane. YES was the answer, so we sprung into action to execute the ice cream transport. On the drive to the airport we frantically searched for a cooler that fit the carry-on size restrictions. Next step was to find dry ice, not necessarily the most readily available item. After driving an extra 20 miles out of the way for dry ice we were cutting it close to make our flight. Last stop was to pick up the ice cream. We located the nearest Graeters retail store in Cincinnati.
Upon arrival we then discovered that not only did they sell travel packs at the Graeter's store complete with dry ice, but we could actually have this amazing Graeter's ice cream shipped to our door step for less than what this entire carry-on ice cream debacle was costing us! There was no turning back at this point, but the information definitely made my day!
Onward to the airport – ice cream, cooler and dry ice in hand. Cooler packed, appropriately sealed and labeled, we were dropped off at the gate by our family. Upon arrival to the airport we checked our luggage, and clutched our ice cream carry-on. We were in the clear and on our way to enjoying this delicious treat in our own state.
We started the process of preparing the kids to head thru security – 1 child shoes off, jacket off, carry-on passed through – CHECK. 2nd child shoes off, jacket off, carry-on passed thru – CHECK. My shoes off, jacket off, belt off, emptied pockets, carry-on and diaper bag passed through – CHECK. Last but not least, husband’s shoes off, jacket off, belt off, empty pockets, carry-on passed through, ice cream sent through – STOPPED.
It was at this point that it was brought to our attention that although the airline accepted dry ice on the plane, as confirmed earlier that morning via phone call, TSA regulations considered ice cream in its original form a liquid and we could therefore not take more than 3 ounces of ice cream in our carry-ons. PANIC…what could we do? How could this be? Could we check the luggage? We could, however dry ice was considered a hazardous substance and would cost us an additional $150 to check. WHAT?!?! These 12 pints of ice cream were costing us more than $200 to get home, and that didn’t even include the cost of the ice cream! My mind raced – could we eat the 12 pints of ice cream before our plane took off? No. Could we switch flights and take a later flight in hopes of finding another solution to our ice cream dilemma? No – we would have a flight change charge, plus we were already flying red-eye with 2 kids up way past bedtime. Was I going to have to face reality and dump 12 pints of Graeter’s goodness in the garbage?!?!
In a frantic last ditch effort we called our family back to see if they were still close enough to the airport to come back and pick up our beloved ice cream. This was the solution we ended up settling on. All of the hard work, effort, time and money – and I was going back to Minnesota with no Graeter’s in hand. Since this heartbreaking adventure I have yet to experience the delightful taste of Graeter’s ice cream again. I look forward to the day when I will be reunited with my Chocolate Chip ice cream.
-- Jennifer Padgett, MN