Claude's Creamery, the new ice cream store along Palmerton's main street, began with an ice cream craving.

"I was driving through town one day and wanted soft vanilla ice cream," said proprietor Mark Masenheimer. "I asked around and found out I had to go far away to get some."

His craving for soft ice cream sparked the idea that would soon turn into Claude's Creamery, named after his grandfather who loved ice cream, specifically, teaberry.

Claude's serves premium gold ice cream, which is a higher quality ice cream than most grocery store ice creams.

Masenheimer said he looked for the ice cream with the highest quality ingredients. In fact, some items took a while to find. He searched for months before the April 25 opening for the best hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles that actually taste like chocolate.

"Thus far, we've received rave reviews," said Masenheimer, of the ice cream.

With over 30 flavors of hard ice cream, three flavors of soft serve, multiple sundaes and other ice cream offerings, Claude's has something for everyone.

The extensive menu features classic flavors such as Minty Mint Chip, the standard mint ice cream with chocolate flakes, and more unique offerings such as Royal Red Velvet Cake, a cream cheese ice cream with chunks of red velvet cake and a creme swirl.

"You don't see red velvet ice cream many places," said Amanda Folk, an employee at Claude's. "The ice cream tastes just like the cake and the chunks are delicious. It's definitely my favorite flavor."

If you're looking for another suggestion, Masenheimer recommends Brownie Batter Extreme, a chocolate ice cream with a chocolate swirl and brownie chunks, for chocolate lovers; and Whitehouse Cherry, a vanilla ice cream with maraschino cherries, for a fruity flavor.

Sticking with its classic soda fountain theme, Claude's has a selection of classic sundaes such as CMPs, Dusty Roads and hot fudge sundaes. Also included on its menu are 12 signature sundaes, ranging from the Berry and Cream Dream, piled high with strawberry and blueberry sauce; and the Brownie Bravado, covered in marshmallow and hot fudge.

"My favorite (offering) is the soft serve vanilla with chocolate sprinkles, but the Peanut Butter Panic sundae is really good," said Masenheimer.

The sundae menu also includes sundaes specifically for kids. One of which features the Playdough ice cream, a bright yellow vanilla ice cream with pink and blue cookie pieces, which is one of Claude's biggest sellers.

But that's not all: Claude's also has milkshakes that can be made from any flavor of ice cream, ice cream sodas complete with soda made from pure cane sugar and its unique offering: the Claudehopper.

One part ice cream, two parts toppings, the Claudehopper is a concoction similar to a flurry. A layer of CrunchiCreme, which is vanilla soft serve mixed with one of eight possible mix-ins, is sandwiched between any two toppings to create the Claudehopper. Looking for an example? How about Snickers on the bottom, a layer of caramel, CrunchiCreme with mini chocolate chips, another layer of caramel and then topped with more Snickers.

Claude's also offers ice cream cakes, pies and sandwiches, made with Claude's hard and soft ice cream. Currently, Claude's is working on a menu of signature cakes and pies. How does a strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie sound?

Quality is of the highest importance at Claude's, which is why Masenheimer insists on using only the best products. To ensure a high quality, many of the products are freshly made in the shop.

"We make our own brownies, waffles, waffle cones and whipped cream," said manager Cassie Borrell.

And it's the quality that keeps the customers coming back.

"About 80 percent of our customers are returning," said Borrell.

But that's still not all. Claude's has specials each week: the flavor and sundae of the week. This week's flavor is Roadrunner Raspberry, a white chocolate ice cream with raspberry swirls and raspberry-filled chocolate cups, and the sundae of the week is the Waffles and Ice Cream Sundae, with vanilla ice cream, waffles, strawberry sauce, whipped cream and a cherry. With each order of the flavor of the week, the customer will receive an extra scoop of ice cream. A customer who selects the sundae of the week will receive a dollar off the sundae.

The flavor and sundae of the week are posted online at the Claude's Creamery Facebook page and the website, http://www.claudescreamery.com [1], as well as in the store.

Claude's Creamery is located at 289 Delaware Ave., Palmerton and is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Call (610) 826-CONE (2663) for more information.