Despite the schizophrenic weather today (grey blanket of clouds to cheery sunshine to twenty-minute DOWNPOUR to sunshine to persistent drizzle to sun again) the Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party went on. The Party is sponsored annually by the International Dairy Foods Association, visiting Washington to win political favor for all the dairy farmers back home.
As with most parties on Capitol Hill, the Congressional Ice Cream Party is something that receives a lot of hype but isn’t that much fun once you get there. It was not, as I hopefully imagined, a place to mingle. It was, however, a place where the ice cream was served quickly, in GIANT portions and in seemingly endless supply. The members had their own roped-off area in which to schmooze. A sound system (hilariously) blared the uncensored version of Katy Perry’s “Hot ‘n Cold,” which I imagine is all the rage among the senators and representatives nowadays. Countless interns bustled back and forth to their offices, toting cafeteria trays and even box lids piled high with bowls of ice cream.
Five inventive ice cream flavors by Jack & Jill Ice Cream were served: cinnamon, peach, black raspberry chocolate, birthday cake, and a pomegranate/lemon sorbet hybrid. Vanilla was available exclusively at the tables serving root beer floats. The ice cream appeared to have been super-frozen to withstand the DC heat, and was almost too creamy. The birthday cake ice cream was a standout, though Coldstone still does it better (and costs you five times the calories, I might add.) Peach was simple but tasty. Black raspberry chocolate, which looked like a lavender mint chocolate chip, had a very strong flavor. The pomegranate/lemon sorbet was a valiant try, but for all its mainstream popularity right now, I wonder how many people know what a pomegranate actually tastes like. It’s a tough flavor to pin down. Cinnamon needed to be paired with chocolate sauce (available along with caramel sauce and others at scattered round tables.)
Really, though, the point of this party isn’t to wax analytic on the consistency and flavor of ice cream. It’s a chance to get out of the stuffy old office, stretch your legs a bit, breathe, and indulge in a free summer treat. I may not have been bowled over by this party, but the contented smiles on a lot of members’ faces would suggest that they feel otherwise.