Like many in the food and beverage industry, Caitlin Howington was laid off last month. But instead of wallowing over her lost catering job, she took the lemons the coronavirus crisis has given her and churned them into lemon meringue pie ice cream. With her newfound downtime, the former pastry chef opened the frozen dairy dessert business she’d been dreaming of for years, launching Pint’s Peak, a small-batch, hand-crafted ice cream brand.
“Pastry chefs always have a favorite thing they like to make, and for me, it’s ice cream,” she says. “You can turn it into any flavor you want. It doesn’t get boring.”
Case in point: Howington’s opening roster of creative flavors. The five current varieties, which will change monthly, are lemon meringue pie, with shortbread cookie pieces and toasted meringue in lemon curd ice cream; vegan coconut almond stracciatella (Howington promises a vegan option will always be available); coffee doughnut, a bittersweet blend of a Novo coffee base and bits of glazed, sprinkled yeast donuts; sweet and spicy Mexican chile chocolate with a dulce de leche swirl; and burnt honey ginger, shot through with local honey.
“All of the flavors walk the line between the flavor combinations that people already love and pushing those boundaries,” Howington says. “You’ll never see me doing plain vanilla bean. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s plenty of that out there in the world. I get to make whatever I’m inspired by, which I think is a beautiful thing.”
Besides exploring more complex flavor combinations, another bonus to a former pastry chef switching gears to ice cream is that all the mix-ins—from cookies and donuts to sauces and jams—are made from scratch. And to align with Howington’s personal values, every ingredient she uses is hyperlocal and seasonal. So, look for more local bounty and brand collaborations (we hear Queen’s Eleven coffee will make an appearance in the May cold brew flavor) to pop up in upcoming spring and summer flavors.
Currently, you can only get Pint’s Peak ice cream by delivery, which is free if you live within Denver city limits (and $10 for the rest of the metro area); Howington drives the pints for drop off at your door every Tuesday and Friday. In the future, she hopes to offer pick-up pints, but for now, she’ll bring the ice cream to you, which means you can immediately start eating it out of the carton in the privacy of your own home. No cone required.