Sweet experience: Toledo’s ice cream and candy shop offers delicious treats

Tera Johnson’s Gourmet Ice Cream and Confectionery Shop is a cozy place where families can leave their worries at the door and share some quality time over a delicious treat. Tucked away at the end of an unassuming shopping center on Reynolds Road in Bancroft, opposite Red Wing Shoes and a stone’s throw from Schmucker’s, sweet experience specializes in gourmet candies, popcorn and other confections.

After working alongside the previous owners for 18 months, Johnson took over the workshop in 2019. A heavy equipment operator by trade, Johnson has been a lifelong baker. Cheesecake in a jar is
his signature dish.

Johnson has added flavored popcorns and its cheesecakes to the product mix. In a nod to the desserts Johnson’s mother made for the family every Sunday, the shop also offers weekly “Sunday specials” with comfort foods such as fresh apple crisps.

Cheesecakes, chocolates and more
Served in single-serve jars, cheesecakes, the most popular item at Sweet Experience, come in a variety of flavors. Strawberry Cheesecake ($6) comes in a sturdy glass jar labeled with a short list of simple ingredients. Topped with a dusting of graham cracker crumbs, the filling is rich, creamy and filled with chunks of fresh strawberries. When the spoon hits the bottom of the jar, the reward is a tasty layer of graham cracker crumbs to top off the cheesecake.

Examining the options available in the glass display case reveals molded chocolates and marshmallow skewers dipped in chocolate, caramel and sprinkles; chocolate turtles with caramel and peanut butter; and a massive sugary treat that Johnson touts as the biggest buckeye in town.

Sweet Experience also sells naturally gluten-free flavored popcorn, cotton candy and caramel apples in flavors such as Cherry, Cookies and Cream, Turtle, Cheesecake, Buckeye and Butterfinger. Everything is homemade except for the candied nuts.

The Caramel Popcorn line includes several unique alcohol-infused varieties, including Crown Royal Whiskey and Hennessey Brandy. Sweet Experience is a great place to pick up gifts for friends.

Frozen treats
Sweet Experience serves Hersey’s and Chocolate Shoppe ice cream, with a selection including eight vegan varieties that Johnson said he introduced to accommodate lactose-intolerant customers. Samples of the vegan strawberry banana and cookies and cream revealed little discernible difference from traditional ice cream.

The cotton candy-flavored dairy ice cream is kid-friendly, in a single scoop in a cone ($3.50) and/or in a milkshake ($5), stacked with whipped cream. Prices are reasonable, portions are generous. Sweet Experience’s proximity to the Toledo Botanical Garden makes it a great place to stop for a cold, tasty treat on the way to or from the park.

Sweet Experience Ice Cream & Gourmet Treats
2111 N. Reynolds Rd., Toledo
Open Thursday to Monday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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