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  • Writer's pictureBob Thomas

Chef's Best: The Spotted Duck

Did you know the “Yelp, Best Dessert Spot of All Time” in New York State can be found right here in the Southern Tier? The well-deserved honor goes to Spotted Duck in Penn Yan.

I learned about this Frozen Custard destination as most in our area do, from a friend. While nationally recognized, Spotted Duck is also the best kept secret our area has to offer. Now it is my job to tell a friend, you, my SouthernTierLife friends.

Drive, run, walk or waddle to Spotted Duck before their 2021 season ends. The calendar may say fall has arrived, but for only a few more weeks, summer can be found in Penn Yan.

On a late September afternoon, my wife and I rolled the windows down and enjoyed the cool breeze as we drove alongside Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen to Penn Yan. We took advantage of driving through Wine Country to make a quick stop in Dundee, for a flight at a winery along the way.

Fifteen minutes from our wine distraction, a quick left onto Route 54 and we arrived at the frozen custard capital of New York. What is the secret to the award-winning custard at Spotted Duck? Walk behind the store front and you can see for yourself. Rich duck eggs sourced right on the farm out back.

Spotted Duck is the self-proclaimed original farm-to-flight duck egg frozen custard. A flight of ice cream? Yes, you read that right.

Co-Owner and Chief Duck Officer Sam Solomon was ready to fill our flight with all the best frozen custard Spotted Duck has to offer. Not wanting to miss anything we asked him for a Seneca Flight, 1 scoop of 12 different flavors.

Solomon’s first recommended tastes were their seasonal recipes, Apple Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb. These two flavors pack all the punch of the pies that inspire them. In this case you don’t need a slice à la mode because the pie is in the custard.

The Apple Pie frozen custard features apples from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, cooked in brandy from Black Button Distilling, with homemade pie crust and cinnamon. While the Strawberry Rhubarb features the freshest local strawberries, sweet rhubarb and vanilla.

Two flavors down, ten more to go. Trust me, let this be your lunch. Each flavor is exquisitely crafted and has something different to offer. Try as many as you can.

Hot Mud is so cool it is hot, thanks to jalapeno flakes which announce themselves with a hint of heat after a few seconds. The spice is balanced perfectly in this chocolate custard.

When it comes to chocolate, their dairy free Fudgie Wudgie is at the top of my list of any frozen treat. Dark, deep, and dense; like the best undercooked chocolate brownie. This version has an amazing texture as it melts in your mouth.

Eight more flavors were in our flight, each packed with duck egg creamy goodness. From their coffee-hazelnut-vanilla fusion Java Junction to the classic Vanilla Cream. Beer flavored fun with Super Stout, or the absolute essence of cinnamon in; you guessed it, Cinnamon Stick. Another fruit dessert given the Spotted Duck treatment awaits in their Blueberry Streusel.

Flavors do rotate with the season, but you can usually find two fan favorites from our tasting board on the menu, Emu Tracks and Wicked Chocolate.

The last flavor might seem ordinary by name, but it is extraordinary. Real Cookies and Cream, as defined by Spotted duck is “An ice cream sandwich in reverse.” This custard concoction features chunks of the legendary Spotted Duck chocolate chip cookie swirled with their handcrafted vanilla cream base. The best frozen custard paired with the best cookie, say no more.

The Spotted Duck story and history is worth looking up. Visit their website, for more about the farm, the flavors and of course, the ducks. Want the inside scoop? Keep up with current news and featured flavors on their Facebook page,

Time is running to get your Spotted Duck fix. Don’t be a lame duck. Get your ducks in a row this weekend and duck out to… you guessed it, Spotted Duck.

When you dine just ask for the Chef’s Best.

About Spotted Duck

Address: 999 State Route 54

Penn Yan, NY 14527

Phone: (315) 509-3939



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