WATCH: How Sweet Charlie’s in Rehoboth makes rolled ice cream Taylor Goebel, Wochit
You’ve heard of sushi, cinnamon rolls, burritos, Fruit by the Foot: Swirly, edible concoctions are certainly not unknown in this day and age.
Ice cream is newer to the rolled food train, having originated in Thailand in the last decade before making its way to the United States a few years ago.
This summer, you can get your frozen roll on at Sweet Charlie’s in Rehoboth Beach.
The homemade, home-rolled ice cream shop at First Street Station opened in 2016 and is the Philadelphia-based company’s second location. Now, there are nearly 40 Sweet Charlie’s franchises across the United States.
So what sets Sweet Charlie’s rolled ice cream apart from its scooped-up counterpart?
“We do the inverse of traditional ice cream,” co-founder and managing partner Michael Goldberg said. “Traditional ice cream is pre-frozen, and they scoop it out and there’s all these different flavors. The difference is we actually developed our own ice cream base.”
Customers can choose from bases of regular cream, nonfat yogurt or vegan (soy).
“This is an artistic impression of ice cream,” Goldberg said. “Each ice cream that goes out of our store is individualized. If you want strawberry and blueberry ice cream, we can make you that.”
Choose from flavors like Off Duty with coffee and doughnuts (of course); Namaste, a strawberry cheesecake dream; and Smore Please, which is like having a campfire for dessert, with roasted marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker.
Those ingredients are mixed into the base as the temperature drops. Then, small ice crystals form as the cream is flattened to the thickness of a crepe, eliminating the need to add stabilizers, emulsifiers or preservatives.
The thin base is then rolled into its signature shape.
It’s time for more choices: pick some toppings, and whether you want your rolls in a cup or a Tall Charlie, which is an oven glazed doughnut, baked fresh from Pasqualini’s Bakery in Rehoboth. It is appropriately shaped like a hot dog bun.
“No,” Goldberg said. “I think it’s a different take on ice cream. It’s really the freshest form of ice cream you can possibly find.”
The texture itself is truly a wonder, ethereally smooth and creamy, almost surprising in how thick it is. The roll doesn’t turn into soup when it hits your mouth or the hot outdoors, making it a viable summertime treat.
So how did Sweet Charlie’s come to be?
The short answer is the Internet.
Kyle Billig, the founder of Sweet Charlie’s (which he named after his dog), saw a video of a street vendor in Thailand. Swarms of people surrounded the vendor as he rolled ice cream in two minutes flat.
Kyle and his brother Jacob searched the United States for the Thai creation and had no luck.
So they decided to make it themselves.
Forty ice cream shops later, Sweet Charlie’s is rolling in success.
A warning to locals: Sweet Charlie’s is only open during the summer season, so don’t wait until after Labor Day to give rolled ice cream a try.
When you go, be sure to say hello to Ed and Joan Rementer, the new Rehoboth franchise owners.
Their ice cream experience prior to joining Sweet Charlie’s?
“We ate it,” Ed said.
If you go…
Sweet Charlie’s Rehoboth
Address: First Street Station, 70 Rehoboth Avenue
Current hours: Friday: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday: 1 p.m. – 11 p.m.