French Vanilla

By Lloyd Graff

Emanuel Macron is the new President of France. He is a political newcomer who saw an opening in a divided dispirited country of 80 million people. He played the election like Bill Bellichek, figuring that the burnt-out leftist and rightist parties would neutralize each other in the qualifying election and he could sneak down the middle of the field. Then he would finish in the top two with the populist with neo-fascist roots, Marine Le Pen. If he could sneak in to face her in the Finals, he figured the losing parties would rally behind him as the anti-Le Pen, and he would have the election for the taking, unless he really screwed up.

That was exactly how it played out. Macron, the Kennedyesque 39-year-old former Rothschild banker, crushed Le Pen 2-1 on Sunday.

Macron wears a paper crown as he tastes the traditional Epiphany cake in a visit to a Paris shopping mall, Jan. 6, 2016. (Beloit Daily News).

One of the most intriguing things about Macron to me is his unconventional marriage. His wife, 24 years his senior, Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux (heiress to the five-generation Chocolaterie Trogneux), was his high school drama teacher and coach when he was 15. They stayed in touch throughout the years and she ultimately left her marriage and three children to marry Macron. She helped choreograph his shocking political career that took him from investment banker to a prominent position in Socialist Francois Hollande’s cabinet, to the landslide President of France. Vive la différence.


We are headed, apparently, for another Battle of the Titans in the NBA Finals between Cleveland and Golden State. This will be the third straight Finals with these two great teams.

The NBA season is an 82-game slog, but the Finals are real theatre, especially with these teams because they are so special and well-matched. LeBron James plays with such heart, such total unalloyed passion for the game. He has amazing court awareness and intelligence, you just have to admire him. His game has evolved in a similar way to Michael Jordan’s—playing outside, picking his spots to drive, and willing his team to victory when necessary. With the addition of Kyle Korver and his 50% 3-point shooting skill to go along with J.R. Smith’s touch, Kyrie Irving’s playmaking and Tristan Thompson’s rebounding knack, the Cavs are a formidable defending Champion.

Golden State has the greatest group of lights out shooters ever assembled. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and now Kevin Durant are just unfair to be on the same team. But the player who is the difference maker, even with those three crazy accurate gunners, is Draymond Green, the 6’5” swingman who plays with the energy of a rabid mongoose with an almost Trump-like unpredictability. Draymond lights up the floor. He may start a fight or kiss the referee in a 30-second flurry. His first step to the hoop is unmatched and his dunks are atomic. LeBron is the best player in the game. Draymond is the most fun to watch. If you love basketball like I do, or even if you think a “pick and roll” is a breakfast pastry, Cleveland versus Golden State will be worth watching.


Blog fans. I am a person who loves ice cream, but as a cardiac patient I cannot eat it to my “heart’s content.” Rum Raisin is my all-time favorite—for me it’s the Michael Jordan of ice cream. I want to know the best ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt etc. that you’ve ever had. It can be smooth or chunky, populist or elite. It’s almost summer, so they say, so tell me about your best ice cream experience ever.

Question: What is your favorite ice cream?

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18 thoughts on “French Vanilla

  1. Vicki Bohl

    There’s a tiny town in Wisconsin called East Troy that I’ve spent summers in since I was a child. A block off the square is an Ice Cream Parlor named Lauber’s, that is old school ice cream. Picture penny candy in a glass case, wood booths, and a juke box playing 40’s and 50’s tunes. Buy the Dusty Road, and you get real vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, a cherry, and the topper, malted milk powder. Really good vanilla beats the others for me, especially Lauber’s Vanilla.

  2. Mindy Mikami

    We have a very good customer (who also happens to be my son’s father-in-law) who brings us gourmet ice cream from Aglamesis Brothers in Cincinnati. When I say “brings,” that is an understatement. Cincinnati to Charlotte is quite a haul, so he has a chest freezer and a generator that he puts in his truck bed for the long drive. And, of course he brings enough for our 200+ employees.

    So, what’s my favorite? Technically it’s not “ice cream,” but my favorite is their strawberry sorbet. Cool and creamy… it’s a dream. I had the privilege of visiting the Aglamesis shop, and it’s super quaint and old school, kind of like what my friend Vicki describes above.

    Wow, Lloyd! Trump (from your last post) or ice cream… you really know how to start a conversation, huh? Love it! Keep up the good work.

  3. David

    Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in and around Pittsburgh, PA – Chocolate Raspberry Truffle is unbelieveably delicious!

  4. rick

    over in the Pocono’s area of Pennsylvania is a family run ice cream shop.

    They look for suggestions for new flavors, and one that has stayed on the menu is maple bacon ice cream!

    Don’t knock it until you try it, anything is better with bacon!

    Remember, woman are just like bacon;
    They smell great, taste great, and they kill you S L O W L Y . . .

  5. Lloyd Graff

    Ice cream is synonymous with joyful feelings. The Dairy Queen line after softball games, the banana split with the family during summer vacation, or the run to Baskin Robbins during a pregnancy. My father regaled me about his celebratory chocolate milk shakes via room service when he was scouring the Midwest for machine tool bargains when he was starting up in business in the 1940s. I know his milk shake stories were the impetus for me to try the used machinery business as a kid. The power of ice cream is in its ability to imprint delicious happy indelible memories .

  6. Ed B

    My favorite of all time is Lemon Custard from 31 Flavors. It is now rarely in stock and seasonal but if you can find it and try it you are in for a real taste treat.

    1. Noah Graff

      Baskin is less quality ice cream than others but still the Rocky Road is awesome. Nobody else’s stands up to it.

      I was crushed one time recently to go to a Baskin Robins that actually didn’t have Rocky Road!

  7. Lloyd Graff

    Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in the Columbus North Market across from Convention Center is really, really good.

  8. Steve Jones

    Braum’s – Pecans Pralines & Cream
    Braum’s makes or grows all it’s ingredients including the cows for their milk
    They even make their milk jugs build their furniture & their stores
    They have about 300 stores, third largest dairy in the world.

  9. Jerry Levine

    Mitchell’s in downtown Homewood, IL had magic chocolate malts that got my non-student son through high school. I bribed him every night with one of those malts, if he got all his homework finished before they closed at 10. Somehow that usually worked, and more miraculously, something eventually clicked for him in college. He grew up, got his act together and is now the general counsel of a mid-sized Chicago company.

  10. Noah Graff


    Blue Moon flavor from Sherman’s or Oinks in South Haven/New Buffalo MI. The flavor is hard to describe. It seems as though you are are a Blue Moon person or not a Blue Moon person. It’s special, unique, and beautiful.

    Most recently a gelato from place called Gelaaati Di Marco, in Barcelona, Spain. My favorite flavors included Chocolate, Coconut, Raspberry, and Pistachio.

  11. Jeremy

    Hank’s Frozen Custard in Conneaut Lake PA.
    – real frozen custard, machines are amazing to watch – real old school!
    (They have a USA map that folks put a pin in each state until all 50 states are marked…
    Usually gets completed by June 1st…)

    Yes Lloyd, it is older than you…

  12. Lloyd Graff

    Jeremy, a low blow.

    I want to give a shout out to the Black Cow. Vanilla ice cream and Root Beer. You don’t want to drown the ice cream with the root beer. Use just enough to flavor it. Must use a quality vanilla base. Sip the root beer and slowly spoon out the white goodness. Ahhhhh.

    1. Noah Graff

      Why go light? I like to go heavy on the Root beer! I keep a bottle or can next to it to keep adding on to keep it nice and drowned! Then I go for a straw. You can always add more ice cream!

      Damn I want one now.

  13. Stephanie Herzfeld

    I must say, I’ve never met an ice cream (brand or flavor) I didn’t like, but the current flavor I’m smitten with is a coconut gelato I discovered while in Barcelona, Spain. Nothing fancy, just simple, creamy coconut. It was so delicious I ate it nearly every day for an entire week, and I’d go back to Barcelona in a heartbeat just for this gelato!


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