Have you ever planned a road trip around gelato? You’ll want to after learning about Cows & Co. Creamery in Carrington, North Dakota, roughly two hours northwest of Fargo.
Owned and operated by Maartje Murphy and her charming mother, Conny van Bedaf, the contemporary creamery churns out some of the richest, smoothest gelato we’ve ever tasted. Maartje’s family, which operated a 50-cow dairy farm in the Netherlands, moved to North America when she was 7 years old. They spent years in Edmonton, Alberta, running a 120-cow dairy farm; today they have 1,500 cows in middle-of-nowhere North Dakota. (Maartje’s older brothers, Piet and Dries, look after the herd; this truly is a family affair.)
Maartje studied nursing at the University of North Dakota but always dreamt of making artisanal gelato. Eventually she launched Duchessa Gelato using raw milk from the family farm, selling it by the pint and at country weddings. She uses a traditional “hot process” from Italy that highlights premium ingredients that are both locally sourced (rhubarb, for instance) and painstakingly imported (pistachio that actually takes like pistachio).
Cows & Co.’s other claim to fame is Conny’s gouda—as good as anything you’d find in Holland. The wheels are soaked in a salty brine bath and waxed before being aged anywhere from six weeks to two years on pine planks that the family imported from the Netherlands. The younger gouda is soft and buttery, but gets harder and sharper as it loses moisture, giving the aged wedges a nuttier, more caramel-like quality.
Beyond gelato and gouda, Cows & Co. also makes cheddar cheese curds, poutine with a Dutch-style fry sauce, “Aunt Tina’s famous gouda mac-n-cheese”, and chewy, homemade stroopwafels. There is indoor and outdoor seating, plus a small play area for children. (Sometimes Maartje’s baby, Shepherd, makes cameos.)
Note: The creamery keeps very limited hours, so always check in before heading out. For more of our favorite things to eat, see, do, and buy in North Dakota, read our Minnevangelist Guide to Fargo and Grand Forks.
Cows & Co. Creamery
7321 1st St NE, Carrington, ND; 701-650-0153.