Food & Drink

History collides with tasty treats at Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets

Susan Glidewell, co-owner of Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets, makes an affogato while employee Kaeli Sweet, left, looks on.
Susan Glidewell, co-owner of Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets, makes an affogato while employee Kaeli Sweet, left, looks on.

How about a little history with your ice cream?

Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets is in a building that dates back to the 1860s in a historic small town on the east side of Stanislaus County. Here’s a quick summary, offered by a reviewer on Yelp:

“Cool old building, super quality ice cream, large portions, good prices, and friendly employees.”

The building, which is owned by the local historical society, also houses a museum, a library and a makers store, said Susan Glidewell. She and her daughter, Heather Voortman, co-own the creamery.

“In the 1980s, it was condemned,” Glidewell said. But the historical society bought the building and fixed it up, salvaging wood from other buildings that date back as far as the creamery’s.

“You can see that’s why some boards are fat and some are skinny,” she said.

While they’re waiting for their treats, folks can wander through the library and pick out a book to borrow – there’s no formal check-out process. “You just read a book and return it when you’re done,” Glidewell said. Or they can step into the shop in the next room, which features soap, crafts and other items, all made by people who live in Knights Ferry.

The ice cream’s shop’s customer base ranges from tourists who come to visit the town with its famous covered bridge and flour mill ruins to rafting enthusiasts who come for a trip down the Stanislaus River to the schoolchildren who come down the hill on Friday afternoons for the creamery’s happy-hour specials.

Ice cream is available in a variety of flavors and in sizes that reflect the area’s Gold Country roots – small is “Dust,” medium is “Nugget” and large is “Eureka.” It comes from a producer in Oregon that Glidewell said they settled on after trying several.

The “sweets” part of the shop is varied and interesting, with old-fashioned candies and baked goods from Voortman.

“We’ve experimented on things,” Glidewell said. The successful experiments become products offered at the shop – Oreo cookies dipped in chocolate with various toppings, pretzels dipped in peanut butter and s’mores bars with salted caramel.

A banana split is among the most popular orders, said Glidewell and aptly named employee Kaeli Sweet. Also popular is a homemade brownie with ice cream and hot fudge. The warm apple pie sundae is made with pie crust and homemade apple-pie filling.

A freezer holds a variety of made-in-store treats to go, including Wagon Wheels (ice cream sandwiches), frozen bananas and peanut butter bites. There also are some nondairy items available.

Coffee fans will find a lot to like here, too, with the typical lattes and frozen confections. An affogato, which is two shots of espresso poured over ice cream, is also available. Espresso over Kona coffee ice cream is particularly delicious, if not the best choice at 4:30 p.m. “You’ll be up all night,” Glidewall said, laughing.

Knights Ferry Creamery and Sweets

Where: 17631 Sonora Road, Knights Ferry

Hours: Open Thursday through Monday, noon to 5 p.m.

Phone: 209-881-3099

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