I first had Kilwins ice cream last summer when my parents visited Asheville over the 4th of July weekend. We’d spent the day driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, shopping in Brevard, and arrived in Black Mountain around 4:30. Nobody told us that everything in Black Mountain closes immediately at five on Saturdays, so we essentially walked around a dead town until we stumbled upon Kilwins. Since it was the only thing open, and we didn’t want to waste our trip, we decided to get some ice cream. Editor’s note: My father and I also don’t need an excuse to get ice cream. If we’re near an ice cream shop, we’ll stop to sample the product.
I can be something of a hard ice cream snob (soft-serve vanilla with sprinkles in a cake cone is the same everywhere and is perfect everywhere) and thus far hadn’t been super impressed with any of the local, hand made ice cream offerings in the Asheville area (this still stands today…I’ve found that all the local ice cream I’ve tried here has a strange, crumbly quality), which is a shame, because as I’ve mentioned above, I love ice cream (the Ingles down the street from my apartment does stock Turkey Hill Butter Pecan though, which is my favorite brand and flavor). I got two large scoops of Praline Pecan from Kilwins and was an instant convert. I think I drove out there three or four times last summer before realizing that they have a downtown Asheville location.
I started taking anyone who visited to Kilwin’s, touting it as this gem of a local ice cream chain I’d discovered, thinking in the back of my mind that anyone revisiting would beg me to take them back to Kilwins because it was “that good ice cream you could only get in Asheville.”
Readers, I am an idiot.
In a full-circle moment, when my parents were visiting last month, we were once again shopping in Brevard and were delighted to see a Kilwins opened there. My father and I got our ice cream and enjoyed it on an outdoor bench while my mother shopped when he turned to me, showed me the Kilwin’s napkin displaying all their national locations, and pointed out that there is a Kilwins in King of Prussia.
Kilwins is a Michigan chain, and the most embarrassing thing is that they have locations in places like King of Prussia, Gettysburg, Cape Cod, and f**king Ardmore…places I’ve been multiple times.
I still believe it’s the best ice cream shop in Asheville.