Goleta and Santa Barbara have a lot of ice cream shops to indulge in when you’re craving something sweet, but only recently has a rolled ice cream shop been introduced with the opening of Choppa in Goleta.
Choppa offers both a wide variety of flavors that can satisfy any sweet tooth and decent prices, especially considering the amount of ice cream the establishment gives you. The shop has only recently opened and is still trying to establish itself, but it has the potential of becoming a popular local hang out spot to get ice cream.
For those who have not heard of rolled ice cream before, it is essentially ice cream that has been rolled up rather than scooped up. Rolled ice cream also distinguishes itself from traditional ice cream by coming in different Asian-inspired flavors. For example, Choppa has several different flavors of ice cream, including taro, matcha green tea, the familiar vanilla flavor, and more. Unfortunately, they do not have any vegan or dairy-free flavors yet, though their menu suggests that they will provide those options in the future.
There are also a large variety of toppings you can get on your ice cream. You can get fresh fruit, Oreos, Pocky sticks, and other cookies and biscuits. You can also get chocolate syrup, caramel, and even condensed milk on your ice cream. For $7 you can get a cup of rolled ice cream and three different toppings, which is an understandable price.
When walking into the shop, the layout was a bit confusing, with the ordering area in the back of the store rather than the front. After ordering, I had to wait a few minutes until a staff member was able to prepare my ice cream because of the amount of people there (the store is still new, having just opened at the beginning of April).
The staff was generally pretty friendly, but they were clearly overwhelmed by the amount of customers. Some of them have only started working a few days ago, but that didn’t inhibit their ability to prepare my ice cream.
Watching someone prepare rolled ice cream is the one of the best experiences of getting the ice cream next to actually eating it. The location was obviously designed to ensure that you can watch your ice cream be prepared before your very eyes.
It begins with the liquid ice cream base being poured onto an ice grill before it is stirred and chopped with ice cream scrapers, cooling and solidifying. The ice cream is then smoothed out into a perfectly flat square, scraped into rolls, and placed into a cup. It’s an aesthetically-pleasing process to watch, largely explaining the appeal of ordering rolled ice cream.
I ordered the “Take me 2 paradise” flavor, which is Thai-tea flavored ice cream. It was a unique flavor that was actually similar to Thai iced tea, with the boldness of black tea mixed with the creaminess of condensed milk. There was an odd bitterness to the ice cream, likely because of the tea, but overall the ice cream was pleasant.
I also tried out the “Matcha-cha” flavor, which is a green tea flavored ice cream. Although I’m not a huge fan of green tea, it was still pretty tasty. The toppings added extra flavors and textures to keep the ice cream, which kept it from getting too boring. I would suggest sharing an ice cream with someone because it can get overwhelming, but you can definitely eat it all in one sitting if you have the appetite.
Choppa is a unique take on traditional ice cream parlors and I would suggest it to anyone who wants an entertaining ice cream experience. The shop still needs to figure out its capabilities and flexibility, but ultimately it will likely develop into a fine ice cream institution.
Choppa is located at 7060 Hollister Ave., Goleta.