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Mooresville Ice Cream Co. debuts race-inspired flavor at Charlotte Motor Speedway

By Caroline McMillan Portillo
cmcmillan@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/16/11/35/NcT1M.Em.138.jpeg|209
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Employees made the first large-scale batch of the ice cream this week at the production plant at 172 N. Broad St. in Mooresville
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/16/11/35/1qLJPM.Em.138.jpeg|209
    PHOTOS BY JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Mooresville Ice Cream Co. production manager Mike Warren, right, tastes a sample of Burnout Blast, being made by, from left, Kevin Grady, Wayne Farr and Craig Lyons.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/16/11/35/UvTMl.Em.138.jpeg|320
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    The custom flavor, commissioned by Charlotte Motor Speedway and named via a Facebook competition, is a creamy vanilla infused with chocolate-covered peanuts, chopped salted peanuts and sugar-cone pieces, all laced with a chocolate swirl.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/16/11/35/18kRqT.Em.138.jpeg|448
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Kevin Grady artfully packages Mooresville Ice Cream Co.’s newest flavor, Burnout Blast, as it is blended at the production plant in Mooresville.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/16/11/35/1kOR2b.Em.138.jpeg|246
    JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
    Kevin Grady artfully packages Front Porch Ice Cream’s newest flavor, Burnout Blast, as it is blended at the Mooresville Ice Cream Co.

The rising temperatures and anticipation surrounding Charlotte’s race weeks should make the debut of Mooresville Ice Cream Co.’s latest creation, “Burnout Blast,” all the more sweet.

The custom flavor, commissioned by Charlotte Motor Speedway and named via a Facebook competition, is a creamy vanilla infused with chocolate-covered peanuts, chopped salted peanuts and sugar-cone pieces, all laced with a chocolate swirl.

“We sat down and said, ‘Hey, we can develop any custom flavor you want. Wouldn’t it be fun if you branded it?’ ” said Glenn Patcha, chief operating officer for Longitude 80 Dairies, a holding company that encompasses Mooresville Ice Cream Co. – celebrating its 90th year – and Statesville-based Origin Food Group, which makes yogurt.

So on its Facebook page, Charlotte Motor Speedway gave followers the ingredients and asked them to toss out their best ideas for naming the flavor.

Suggestions ranged from the alliterative (“Skid-Mark Sundae”) to the mechanical (“Lug Nut Delight”) to the triumphant (“Bruton’s Victory Lane”).

Burnout Blast took the lead and won.

And this week, Mooresville Ice Cream Co. employees made the first large-scale batch at the company’s production plant at 172 N. Broad St. The facility is adjacent to the Mooresville Ice Cream Parlor, which serves up the company’s classic treats and latest creations.

Production manager Mike Werran, 49, watches and tweaks while his employees transform sweet milk into a thick, creamy delicacy swirled artfully into a 3-gallon barrel. Motown tunes blast from a stereo in the corner.

The mixture starts in a 50-gallon vat, which runs through a hose into a barrel, as a pump injects small doses of air into it. Werran said that, generally, the cheaper the ice cream, the more air has been injected. That’s why lower-quality ice cream tends to dissipate in your mouth quickly, he says. The best ice cream is almost chewable.

For a taste test, Werran dips a small cup into the vat of sweet milk, before it moves through the pump. He smiles, then pours in another helping of fresh vanilla.

The sweet milk then moves through a barrel that cools the mixture, and as it solidifies, a scrape-plate gathers it to transfer through another series of hoses. Employees in white aprons then steadily mete out the solid ingredients – the chocolate-covered peanuts, the chopped peanuts, and the cone bits.

Next, the ice cream travels through a final hose, where it meets a steady stream of liquified chocolate. The combined mixture plops out of a pipe and into a 3-gallon bucket an employee moves in a circular motion to create a swirl.

They’ll make at least 300 buckets of Burnout Blast in a day, Werran said.

Then the buckets are sealed and loaded into a commercial freezer, which – at 12 degrees below zero – is a shocking jolt to the system for most North Carolinians. But Werran, a Minnesota native, said it’s a taste of home.

Mooresville Ice Cream Co. will have stands set up throughout the Speedway during the races and at the many race-related events, selling Burnout Blast, as well as other flavors in its DeLuxe line and newer Front Porch series, introduced in 2012. Front Porch flavors, which you can find in pints at Harris Teeter, have a higher butter fat content.

Werran likens the difference between DeLuxe and Front Porch to the difference between Breyers and Häagen-Dazs. And with names such as Nana’s Banana Pudding, Scarlett Red Velvet and My-Oh-My Peanut Butter Pie, Front Porch lives up to its tagline: “Ice cream so southern it has a drawl.”

McMillan Portillo: 704-358-6045; Twitter: @cbmcmillan
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