Here’s the scoop: Holy Cow wins national contest

It was a sweet victory for Holy Cow Ice Cream Cafe at a national ice cream competition earlier this month.

The ice cream maker, which operates storefronts in Gloucester, Peabody and Salem, took home the top award and several others at the North American Ice Cream Association contest in Fort Worth, Texas, on Nov. 10.

Not only did Holy Cow’s “Ritzy AF” salted butter cracker ice cream that’s loaded with house-made Ritz Cracker Toffee Bark win national flavor of the year and Northeast flavor of the year, but its lemon curd ice cream stuffed with homemade lemon bars came in third place.

The business also earned a blue ribbon award for its chocolate flavor, and red ribbon awards for its vanilla and strawberry flavors — all made by owner Mike Schifino and his team.

“It’s pretty cool because this was the biggest turnout they’ve ever had for this,” Schifino said. “There were more submissions, more samples to judge, so it’s exciting that we’re able to come out on top with great ice cream.”

The frozen treats were judged by food scientists from Cornell University. They conducted microbial testing and scored the desserts based on flavor, body texture and color. Holy Cow polled its Instagram followers on which flavors to submit ahead of the competition, with “Ritzy AF” taking the cake (or, in this case, ice cream).

The shop snagged runner-up titles at the competition in the past for its non-dairy lemon cookie flavor ice cream and Millionaire Shortbread flavor that was created in coll