The origins of rocky road ice cream are a bit murky, but it’s generally agreed that sometime in the late 1920s in Oakland, either the proprietors of Dreyer’s or Fenton’s ice cream decided to mix nuts and marshmallows into chocolate ice cream. After the stock market crash in 1929, the name took on extra resonance. “People were bummed right about now,” according to a company timeline on the Dreyer’s website. “Dreyer’s wanted to help. So we created a flavor with a name everybody could relate to: Rocky Road. Take life one scoop at a time and the sweetness will follow.”
There are still plenty of reasons to be bummed—or rather, plenty of reasons to seek out ice cream to soothe the savage beasts that lurk within us. And there are plenty of bumpy roads in Chicago. But, as astute gelato makers at Chicago-area grocery chain Mariano’s have realized, the reason the shocks on your car get an extra workout here, especially in the winter, is not so much rocks as potholes.
Kudos to Mariano’s for embracing the darkness and despair of a Chicago winter.