Want the scoop on a great new place to grab dessert in Bossier City? Sweetport, an artisanal ice cream truck owned and operated by Nicole Jeane Spikes, recently introduced its second flavor inspired by a Bossier landmark. Blackberry: A Frozen Bomb (or BAFB for short) celebrates the arrival of blackberry season in Louisiana while saluting the long history of Barksdale Air Force Base in the region.
“It’s an appropriate time to introduce the flavor because summer is right around the corner and the wild blackberries are starting to pop up everywhere,” Spikes says. “It’s a really delicious, rich and creamy blackberry flavor, and it just tastes like summer to me.”
Spikes, who grew up near Fort Polk and moved to Northwest Louisiana in 2001, has always had a tremendous amount of respect for Barksdale Air Force Base. While working night shifts at her first job in Bossier City, she would often stop to admire the B-52s passing overhead.
“Bossier City wouldn’t be the same without the B-52s flying over every once in a while,” she says.
The new blackberry flavor isn’t the only Sweetport flavor inspired by a Bossier landmark. Bistineau Campfire Nights, one of Sweetport’s signature flavors, is a take on traditional campfire s’mores. Made with real toasted marshmallows, homemade chocolate sauce and crushed graham crackers, the Bistineau Campfire Nights flavor was inspired by family campouts on the scenic bayous of Lake Bistineau, which winds its way through Bossier, Webster and Bienville parishes.
“I toast loads of marshmallows and they get ground into the ice cream mix. The flavor is exactly what you’d expect from a night around the camp fire at Lake Bistineau,” Spikes says.
If hand-toasting lots of marshmallows, grinding them and mixing them into ice cream sounds like lots of work – it is. That’s the kind of effort that sets a local, artisanal ice cream maker apart from large name brands. Spikes believes that the “small-batch” approach, combined with an appreciation for regional and seasonal appetites, makes her small business special. Other popular Sweetport flavors are inspired by local music history, landmark buildings, Mardi Gras celebrations and more.
The Sweetport ice cream van itself is every bit as unique as the ice cream that it carries. Nicknamed “Miss Sweetie,” the van is a lovingly restored 1956 International Harvester Metro Van that always attracts a crowd during appearances at local festivals. “Miss Sweetie” has made appearances at the Bossier Night Market – a local makers’ fair held each fall at Pierre Bossier Mall – and at numerous festivals and events throughout the region. The best way to keep track of upcoming Sweetport appearances is by following their Facebook page. Spikes is currently exploring more opportunities to sell ice cream in Bossier City, including an in-the-works appearance at Barksdale Air Force Base.
“Whether it means pumpkin in the fall or blackberry in the summer, our flavors will always be small-batch, seasonal and inspired by local tastes,” Spikes said.