Anthony Ciotti looks over the 16 flavors of ice cream in the freezer of his Poplar Street shop. "How about Mexican chocolate with candied bacon?" he asks.
Bacon is a breakfast staple so having ice-cream-with-bacon at 8:30 a.m. seems perfectly acceptable. The ice cream has a hint of cinnamon which perfectly complements the pleasantly bitter chocolate, and the candid bacon adds the perfect finishing touch — a bit of salty-sweet.
Ciotti and his wife, Lee Anne, opened Antney's Ice Cream, located just off Noblestown Road between Green Tree and Crafton, in April. They had sold franchise-variety "frozen desserts" for about 10 years but when the parent company changed hands, they decided to strike out on their own. Ciotti took a course in ice-cream production at Penn State University, set up shop in a former Blockbuster video store and began to experiment.
"We took flavors we liked and started putting different combinations together," Ciotti says of his all-natural ice cream. "Our customers also offer suggestions." Besides the Mexican chocolate, he also puts candied bacon in salted caramel. The burnt-chocolate flavor is made by using caramelized sugar.
Antney's offers standard flavors but some of the non-traditional flavors include tiramisu, pound cake, lychee, key lime, lemon poppy seed, hazelnut with Nutella and caramelized banana. It also serves a traditional flavor, less seen these days — spumoni.
"We have 16 flavors every day," Ciotti says, "and you never know which 16 are going to show up."