HARLINGEN — Two gallons of milk, plus a special vanilla called “La Vencedora,” are some of the ingredients mixed by hand to churn ice cream at Schoolhouse Creamery.
The variety of flavors offered sometimes requires more than just milk and vanilla.
A few include liquor, others an entire tub of Nutella and there’s even one with potato chips.
Haley Olvera, 16, and Jose Gonzalez, 17, from Weslaco were going to the dollar cinema Wednesday when they encountered the shop.
“We saw ice cream and thought it looks really good,” Gonzalez said.
Olvera chose a cup of “Strawberry Bark,” which is just one of the many original flavors.
Before Wednesday’s visit, they both had never stepped into the ice cream parlor, which is set-up to look like a classroom with chalkboard calendars on the walls and a hopscotch game painted on the floor.
Claudia Martinez, 46, has been the owner of Schoolhouse Creamery for three years.
According to her, the idea began with her brother-in-law and a partner who used to work in the Harlingen School District. They offered her the chance to take over the ice cream shop after they moved.
The original location is on 715 N 77 Sunshine Strip, but her family opened the second location on Stuart Place Road, which is closer to their home.
Martinez began working at the ice cream shop when it opened. She is originally from Vallehermoso, Tamaulipas.
Currently, this is her full time job, and she makes the ice cream for both locations.
“Robert, who was the one with the main idea, taught me how to make the ice cream. This was in 2015, and I had never made ice cream before. I started this new adventure,” she said.
Schoolhouse Creamery is known for the unique details its handcrafted ice creams have.
Martinez mentioned that one of her classic flavors, called “Strawberry Fields Forever,” has cooked strawberries with balsamic vinegar.
“It may sound weird, but you cannot actually taste the vinegar,” she said.
For another classic flavor, “Brown Butter Pecan,” she said the butter she uses to roast the pecans makes the difference in the taste.
“I try to give it that personal touch, you know when you are trying to make something for your kids and it is special and made with love,” Martinez said.
“That is how I see it now,” she said.
Another flavor offered that could be unusual to some taste buds, she said, is “Veruca Salt.” This flavor includes a base of pretzels, Ritz crackers and potato chips.
“We do seasonal flavors, too, which we only do during a specific month. In November, we do sweet potato casserole,” Martinez said.
Many of her ideas come from classic flavors she already knows, but she adds her own twist. Others are suggested by clients, who encourage her to try new ones.
“Our classic most-sold flavor is ‘Caliche Road,’” Martinez said.
“It is our version of Rocky Road, but we use Chocolate Abuelita. We had it as a seasonal flavor, but we had to add it to our classics, which we have daily,” she said.
The name “Caliche Road” comes from the Spanish word that means gravel. Martinez said it was used to switch up “rocky” to her own Hispanic version.
Coming up in February, the shop will offer “Peppermint Kisses” to pay homage to Valentine’s Day. It is made with Oreos, peppermint pieces and white chocolate.
“We just recently had several clients request us to do a cookie dough flavor, and we just started to try it,” she said.
Besides these flavors, the shop also offers options for an older crowd called “Teacher’s Lounge,” which is three daily flavors that include liquor.
Currently, the shop offers Fireball ice cream, egg nog and rum raisin.
“Our classic teacher’s lounge flavor is ‘Southern Comfort,’ which is made with bourbon whiskey, pecan pie pieces and chocolate chips,” she said.
“We recently added Rum-Chata, which is made with horchata and rum,” Martinez said.
The original Schoolhouse Creamery will be turning five years in March. Martinez said she is hoping to do a celebration to commemorate the date.
Martinez said the shop has clients from all over the Rio Grande Valley and even Corpus Christi.
“They have asked me to open a location in Corpus, but for the moment we won’t. Maybe later on,” she said.
“For now it is Harlingen-based, and we are very proud of it,” Martinez said.
Two locations: 715 N 77 Sunshine Strip and 101 N Stuart Place Rd.
Monday-Friday: 2 to 9 p.m.
Saturday- Sunday: 12 to 9 p.m.