Straight from the cows: Best ice cream and cheese

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Straight from the cows: Best ice cream and cheese

ADDY FORTE | Evergreen reporter

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Ferdinand’s Ice Cream offers many favorites, but Tin Lizzy was voted the best. 

Russ Salvadalena, WSU creamery manager, said a lot of Ferdinand’s ice cream flavors have been around for years and they rarely change them.

“It’s sort of a nostalgia thing, when alumni come back to campus they like to see what they had when they were here,” he said.

The winning flavor, Tin Lizzy Classic, has a caramel swirl and pieces of chocolate covered toffee in vanilla ice cream.

When they experiment with flavors, they make a small batch for employees, and if that goes well, they introduce a larger batch to the shoppe, he said. Some trial flavors like black licorice or maple bacon didn’t appeal to enough people, or appealed to men only and weren’t popular enough to keep around, he said.

Although additional cream sometimes has to be purchased elsewhere to meet volume demands, the creamery gets most of its milk from the WSU dairy.

A lot of people come into our store and say, “Oh it’s so rich and creamy,” Salvadalena said.

One of the reasons Ferdinand’s ice cream tastes better than store-bought ice cream is because it’s made in-house and never shipped, he said. When ice cream is shipped it can thaw and refreeze a number of times, forming large ice crystals in the ice cream and affecting taste, he said.

When it comes to best cheese, voters stuck with the original: Cougar Gold. 

Russ Salvadalena, WSU creamery manager, said cougar cheeses are unique not only in their taste but also in their name. For instance, they are the only people in the world to refer to a Monterey Jack cheese as “Viking,” he said. Originally, the cheese was developed as part of a class, and the students who created it wanted to appeal to their professor, who was of Scandinavian heritage, he said.

Salvadalena said Nial Yager is a cheese professional who works with the WSU creamery. There are only 200 or 300 certified cheese professionals in the country, he said.

Yager said many of the core cheeses WSU makes are the exact same as they were 25 years ago. The creamery does its best to use the exact same kind of ingredients and spices as when the cheeses originally came out, he said. Cougar Gold cheese easily outsells every other kind of cheese the creamery makes, Yager said.

“80 percent of the cheese we sell is Cougar Gold,” he said.       

As far as favorite cheeses among the staff, everyone has a different opinion of what the best Cougar cheese is. Even people who like cougar gold like it for different reasons, he said. Lately, the store has been selling Ghost Pepper cheese, which is extremely hot, he said. Ghost pepper is what people put in hot wings and the like when they want to make something almost inedibly spicy, he said. However, there is just enough cheese in the cougar cheese to make it edible and delicious, he said.​