Ice Cream So Good It’s Illegal?


Maryland Dairy at University of Maryland

Earlier this week, my dad and I drove down to the University of Maryland in College Park to pick up my brother for the summer. It probably took a half hour to checkout from his dorm and pack his things in the car— much shorter than any time I moved out for summer break.

Since we had time to spare, we walked around campus a little.

Did we walk around sightseeing for the health benefits?  Not so much.

Our real destination was Maryland Dairy, an ice cream parlor in the UMD student union. Although the shop has only been located in the student union since 2014, it got its start back in 1924 when it was called the Dairy Salesroom.

Any place making ice cream for over 90 years, I’ve got to try!

Besides its long history, what makes Maryland Dairy special are its creative handcrafted flavors. While folks with vanilla personalities can stick to their titular flavor, the more adventurous patrons can grab a scoop of Cafe Norita (coffee ice cream with Kahula, salted pecans and caramel) or Fear the Turtle (vanilla ice cream with triple sec salted, pecans, caramel swirl and a white chocolate truffle ribbon.)

As if that wasn’t good enough, Maryland Dairy introduces a new flavor every so often named after a member of the University’s faculty or staff.

Recent releases include Terpin Durkin Crunch (Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream with shaved bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate covered pretzels and a caramel swirl) named for football coach D.J. Durkin and IT Delicious (orange ice cream with triple sec, orange zest, chocolate chips and a raspberry Melba swirl) in honor of Dr. Catherine Carr.

(In case you were wondering, Dr. Carr is a biology professor who studies interaural time difference. I originally guessed the flavor’s name was a play on the information technology field, which would have been cute too.)

The flavor I ordered was mislabeled but I think it was Brenda’s Peanut Butter Frese (brownie batter ice cream, crushed peanut butter cups, brownie dough, chocolate liquor and peanut butter fluff swirl) named after UMD’s women’s basketball coach. Mine had crushed Reece’s Pieces and was light on the fluff swirl but whatever flavor it was, it was pretty good.

What does swirl around this ice cream though are rumors that the fat content is too high for the FDA to approve for sale outside the campus.

At 14% milkfat content, Maryland Dairy does produce an ice cream with a higher fat content than most brands you can buy at the grocery store but it’s not illegal.

Maryland Dairy Ice Cream

Brenda’s Peanut Butter Frese certainly was rich and very filling. I appreciated the creaminess but I still enjoy lighter frozen confections like gelato and frozen yogurt. Although it’s tasty, Maryland Dairy’s ice cream is incredibly heavy so a few spoonfuls is enough.

Even without eating beforehand on a day that began at 5am, I wasn’t able to finish the entire scoop by myself. (This is one of the reasons why I love eating with friends or family who don’t mind sharing my food )

Under the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations: Title 21 Part 135 Frozen Desserts (yes, such a thing exists), ice cream must have at least 10% milkfat and less than 1.4% egg yolk. It must also weigh no less than 4.5 pounds to the gallon, amongst other restrictions.

While Part 135 doesn’t address the difference between premium, super premium and regular ice cream, the general consensus is premium ice cream has 12 to 14% milkfat and super premium ice cream has 14 to 16% milkfat.

So why can’t Maryland Dairy sell its super premium FDA-approved frozen treats off campus? Simple. According to food service manager Daniel Robertson, Maryland Dairy doesn’t have license necessary to sell its ice cream outside of UMD.

So I guess if you’re a huge fan of Maryland Dairy’s ice cream, you could say…
Maryland Dairy Ice Cream— so good, it should be illegal.  Except it’s not.



It takes many shots of ice cream to get a non-blurry photo.  Or at least it does while you’re walking with rapidly melting ice cream in one hand and a camera in the other. 

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