>> All flavors now made with milk from Clemson University dairy cows.
It’s “Slap your mama” kind of good. But trust us, no one’s mother was harmed during the making of Clemson’s Best’s sixth flavor, Chocolate Rocks!
It’s not actually made with rocks, either but loaded instead with homemade brownie bites that taste just like they came straight out of Mama’s oven. Chocolate syrup and a hint of sea salt add just the right balance of sweet and salty — or so satisfied taste testers commented when the latest flavor quietly dropped in March. “It rocks,” they said, and the new flavor instantly was named.
Like the five flavors before it, Chocolate Rocks! carries the Certified SC seal — Clemson University’s promise to consumers that at least one South Carolina product is found inside the carton, said Scott Pigeon, who manages the college’s dairy brands, Clemson’s Best and Clemson Blue Cheese. The butterfat content in Chocolate Rocks! hasn’t changed, either. It, too, is made with 16 percent butterfat, which puts it in the “super premium” category. That’s more than Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Daz, which have moved to 14 percent or less to cut costs in an extremely competitive ice cream market.
Though news of a chocolate flavor is reason enough to celebrate just in time for National Ice Cream month, brand developers are equally excited to announce that Chocolate Rocks! is made with milk from Clemson University-owned cows that stand sentry over the LaMaster Dairy center, 600 acres of cropland, barns, a milking parlor and hands-on research facility recognized the world over. Robots there milk the school’s 160-cow herd.
Clemson University ice cream hasn’t been associated with LaMaster Dairy in more than 25 years, when ag students stopped using the college’s dairy milk to make ice cream scooped at the Hendrix Student Center, Pigeon said. The university has long been associated with dairy life, though. Treasured course catalogues from 1897 mention dairying, which details how to separate milk for ice cream, and how to make cheese and butter. Clemson’s Best, the university’s ice cream brand marketed to wholesalers, returned to LaMaster dairy milk in March when manufacturers ran the first batch of Chocolate Rocks!
Since then, its sister flavors contain “Clemson” milk, too. They are: Carolina Almond Coffee, Peaches -N- Cream, Caramel Butter Pecan, Vanilla Bean, and Strawberry Shortcake. Pints, 3-gallon tubs and 4.5-ounce cups are sold. Brand developers recently announced a new flavor in cups, too. Retailers are reporting that Tiger Orange Cream, reminiscent of an old school push pop, is making a big slash this summer, particularly at roadside markets.
To find a find a seller near you, visit https://clemsonsbest.com/ice-cream-finder/. Click the link for a printable form that might persuade local store managers to order some.
Taste is not the only reason fans are loyal to the Clemson brand, however. Sure, the iconic paw carries weight, but there’s a much bigger story at play. For every pint of ice cream sold, the university gives some of its profits to the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. Money goes to the CAFLS Advantage program, which promotes learning beyond the classroom. Opportunities include undergraduate research, on-the-job training and participation in summer camps. Students also can enroll in study-at-home programs and travel abroad.
Highlighting South Carolina family farms is equally important to the Clemson’s Best brand, Pigeon said. Three South Carolina farmers contribute ingredients, including McLeod Farms in McBee; and Titan Farms, and Yon Family Farms, both in Ridge Spring. Stone Roastery in North Augusta provides the coffee beans found in Carolina Almond Coffee.