By | Erin Chessin
It is unusual to see snow in Eureka. Thanks to Vampire Penguin Shaved Snow and Desserts, the business has brought a unique treat for HSU students, families, and locals to enjoy. Since their grand opening on Feb 13, 2015, Vampire Penguin has made it possible for people to enjoy the taste of ice cream in a low calorie and non-dairy way.
Sophia Linklater is the supervisor at Vampire Penguin.
“It’s the perfect combination of ice cream flavor and freshly fallen snow,” Linklater said. “Customers enjoy the taste and how the desserts are served to them as a work of art.”
Vampire Penguin is a popular chain restaurant created by two brothers according to Linklater. There are seven Vampire Penguin locations in California. The first one opened in October of 2013 in San Luis Obispo. Because it opened on Halloween, the brothers found the name Vampire Penguin suitable.
It’s not shaved ice, nor is it ice cream. The dessert is ice cream tasting, however it doesn’t weigh heavy in calories and the flavor of the snow is derived from non-dairy cream. The snowball is decorated with toppings such as fruit, condensed milk or candy. Then either chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce is drizzled over.
“Once you have your first bite, it melts in your mouth just like fresh, powdery snow would,” Linklater said.
Prices of the shaved snow ranges from $3 to $9, depending on how elaborate the dessert is. Customers can either order a small or a large size, which differentiates in price too.
Vampire Penguin’s most popular dessert is the Strawberry Cheesecake, which is strawberry and vanilla shaved snow, decorated with fresh strawberries, raspberries and graham crackers. Strawberry and white chocolate sauce is draped over the dessert, the last step to decorating the snowball. Other customer dessert favorites include the S’moreos and the Twix.
The process of creating the shaved snow takes time Linklater said. Scott Merriam, the owner of the Vampire Penguin Eureka location, comes in once a week to take the pre-made ice blocks and infuse the different ice cream flavors. The flavors Merriam makes are just like regular ice cream flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, coconut, green tea, taro, cookies and cream, and coffee.
Linklater learned how to make the desserts from Merriam along with her co-worker Becca Scholte who is an HSU alumni and supervisor at Vampire Penguin.
“Each of us have our own creativity, and the job allows our inner-artist come out,” Scholte said.
Once the ice blocks have been infused with the flavor, the ice is shaved down to a snow-like consistency, then put into smaller individual molds. The ice is then taken out of its mold and put on a plate when ready to be decorated with dessert sauce or other toppings.
When a customer walks into the store, they have a large menu with many different dessert options to choose from. From the menu, a customer can pick a Menu Special or create their own. If a customer creates their own dessert, they pick the flavor and get one free topping when they order a small size or two free toppings if they order a large size dessert. Customers also have the option to buy a thai tea boba drink on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Mia Pambianco, a freshman at HSU and a Humboldt County local, said Vampire Penguin is one of her favorite places to go for a treat. “I go every time I have a chance,” Pambianco said. “I think it’s an awesome place for dessert because it’s unique.” Pambianco suggests the Coffee Crush, which is made of coffee flavored snow, topped with crushed pretzels, and cocoa powder with chocolate and caramel sauce drizzled all over.
Vampire Penguin is located on 3144 Broadway Suite C5 in Eureka, CA. They are open Tuesday through Sunday and are closed on Mondays. Tuesday through Thursday they open at noon and close at 9 p.m. On the weekends they stay open till 10 p.m.
You can visit Vampire Penguin’s website to check out their dessert menu and hours at http://www.vampirepenguin.com.
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