Even with the changeable New England temperatures going up and down like a seesaw, few can forget the recent climb to a smoldering 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen treats were one form of relief from the omnipresent heat, and the Harvard community sought them out wherever they could be found.
In the summer, Annenberg Hall is the only place on campus where students can indulge in soft-serve frozen yogurt from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. (During the academic year, all the dining halls serve it up.)
“Students really love it,” says Martin Breslin, director for Culinary Operations at Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS), noting that vanilla is the most popular flavor, although the selection can range from graham cracker pie to cookies and cream to red velvet cake. Frozen yogurt makes way for the real thing on Sundays, when an ice cream sundae bar serves up Richardson’s ice cream with a full complement of toppings. And for those with delicate constitutions, frozen lactose-, dairy-, or soy-free alternatives are available upon request.
But since none of the campus retail locations sell ice cream, many Harvard folk venture into the Square to satisfy their cravings. J.P. Licks, Pinkberry, BerryLine, and Yogurtland are all just steps away, as are Ben & Jerry’s and Lizzy’s. And while a lot of ice cream and frozen yogurt is consumed on the hot, sunny days of summer, according to Breslin, consumption on campus is high year-round, with an increase during exam time.
Bob Florio has worked at J.P. Licks for six years, and said it’s busiest in May, at the end of July, and August. Oreo cake batter is the store’s most popular flavor, and fudge the most popular topping. “We have the best fudge topping,” Florio said. He added that it’s busy all year, and people still order ice cream when it’s 10 degrees below zero outside.
As July — National Ice Cream Month — winds down, the National Weather Service shows Cambridge’s temperatures going back up, so chances are you’ll find someone from the Harvard community dipping into a frozen delight. For Harvard University Information Technology’s Jaime Bermudez it will be frozen yogurt, because it’s “healthier than ice cream,” he said as he topped off a cup with Cap’n Crunch at Yogurtland.
Ali Almossawi, a former research associate at Harvard Business School who was back in town for a conference, had already been to J.P. Licks twice during his stay. “I miss it,” he said over a cup of chocolate brownie ice cream, confessing that he’d probably be back a few more times before he returns to San Francisco on Monday.