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Fine living rating boosts St. Clair Ice Cream.

Since its founding in 1987, specialty ice cream and sorbet manufacturer St. Clair has been doing pretty well, with mail order sales of its molded, hand-crafted desserts to wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. But, according to owner Frits Zernike, there's been a big boost in business as a result of the company's selection in August by the Fine Living television program, as the number one mail-order dessert supplier. St. Clair headed a top ten list that included one other ice cream vendor, Blue Bell Creameries at number five, and eight bakery and confectionery suppliers, including such major players as Teuscher Chocolates and Desserts by David Glass.

This was not the first time that St. Clair has found itself so highly rated. In 2001, for example, the company was selected by authoritative New York Times food columnist Marian Burros as one of her all-time top twenty-five mail order picks. St. Clair has also been named by Martha Stewart as a top dessert choice for weddings and by Town & Country magazine as a can't miss choice for summer entertaining. In addition, the desserts were featured in the dinner party scene in the film version of The Age of Innocence.

St. Clair Ice Cream offers its 40 fruit, flower and specialty shapes in 17 ice cream and kosher sorbet flavors. The individually-made pieces are created following centuries-old traditions. The company notes that the practice molding ice cream began to wane during the years of the Great Depression and by the middle of the 20th century, makers of molded ice cream were few and far between.

However, one of the company's founders, Barbara Zernike, grew up in Toronto where she could enjoy the molded ice creams from a shop on St. Clair Avenue. Inspired by her love for these treats, she bought the rights to use the name in the U.S. and set up shop in South Norwalk, CT.

Flower-shaped items include roses, tulips, day lilies, and water lilies, as well as a bouquet of smaller pieces that includes an assortment of carnations, dahlias, morning glories, and roses. Fruit pieces are available in small, medium, and larges sizes in a variety of shapes that include apples, bananas, grapes, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, and strawberries, as well as walnuts.

In addition to its standard fruit and flower shapes, St. Clair's products are molded into swans, bells, and hearts for weddings; seashells and golf balls for summer parties; corn on the cob and pumpkins for Thanksgiving and other autumn events; hearts and roses for Valentine's Day; Christmas trees, snowballs, and Yule logs for Christmas; and Easter eggs and the Easter bunny for Easter. Prices range from $18 for a dozen mini pieces to $5 per item for the larger creations. St. Clair asks a minimum of $60 per order.

The company is in the process of moving to a new facility, which Zernike describes as "nicer" than the company's present location. In addition, it is adding a shopping cart application to its website. Customers can currently view the products on the company's website, but need to call, fax, or email to place their orders. Desserts are packed in dry ice in Styrofoam containers and shipped to arrive within 48 hours. St. Clair ships to all parts of the United States via UPS, and will ship also ship by courier service in the New York Metropolitan area. St. Clair reports that its desserts, if properly stored in plastic containers, will stay fresh in a freezer for up to 3 weeks.
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Publication:Ice Cream Reporter
Date:Sep 20, 2005
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