There's no shortage of Star Wars product tie-ins on the shelf as the much-anticipated Episode VII The Force Awakens hit theaters this month. Almost any item can be emblazoned with a character from a galaxy far, far away, whether it's cosmetics or coffee creamer. If you're wondering whether that's overkill, then I find your lack of faith disturbing. Perhaps the only downside of being a Star Wars fan right now it that we'll have to wait a long time between the sequels hitting movie theaters, but in the meantime we can binge on one particularly sweet Star Wars treat: Ample Hills Creamery's The Light Side and The Dark Side ice creams.
The Light Side is comprised of a marshmallow ice cream base, with crispie rice clusters and a sprinkling of cocoa crispies to represent the Dark Side lurking in the shadows. The Dark Side is the mirror image, featuring the darkest chocolate ice cream the shop has ever produced, along with espresso brownie bits, cocoa crispies and white chocolate pearls which prove there is still good within even the darkest ice cream. If loving chocolate represents the Dark Side then consider me a Sith Lord. The ice cream comes in a plastic packaging that is washable and reusable, so collectors have something to keep even after gorging themselves like Jabba the Hutt.
Co-owners, and husband and wife team, Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna founded the Brooklyn-based creamery behind the Star Wars flavors in 2011. Smith, a former TV movie writer turned ice cream CEO, was seven years old when the original Star Wars hit the theaters. That experience fueled his desire to write science fiction screenplays, a few of which were produced for television. But his other passion was ice cream, and that turned out to be the ticket to connecting him with the most successful Sci-Fi movie franchise of all time.
Just how did a mom and pop ice cream shop end up getting a blockbuster licensing agreement? "It's been remarkably humbling and exciting," Smith told FWx. "[Disney CEO] Bob Iger reached out after ordering our ice cream last summer, and offered his guidance and support." Iger has since become a mentor to Smith and Cuscuna, and was instrumental in helping them raise equity to expand their shops and open a factory while endeavoring to keep the authenticity and spirit of their original shops in the business.
As the Episode VII release date loomed, Smith said he couldn't help but pitch Iger the idea of Star Wars themed ice creams. "We didn't want to just slap the Star Wars name on the product. With a background in writing and storytelling, I wanted to be able to add to the narrative," Smith said. Iger passed the idea along to Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm, and with their blessing Ample Hills has joined the alliance of official Star Wars merchandise.
You can purchase The Light Side and The Dark Side in combo packs of four pints exclusively on the Ample Hills Creamery website. If you're native to New York, store pick up is available at the Gowanus location but they will ship overnight to anywhere in the U.S. with dry ice, to make sure the product stays frozen (and so you can have a few hours of reenacting those foggy Dagoba scenes from The Empire Strikes Back). These flavors will only be on sale through February, but Smith left the option of ice cream sequels open saying, "we'll see how it goes."
Help us, Ample Hills. You're our only hope.