Sugar Daddies is having its annual Bracketology competition, pitting two customer-chosen ice cream flavors against each other every week.
“Sugar Daddies is made up of two parts, the ice cream is from The Davis Creamery and the cupcakes are from Cupcake Craving in Arden,” said Bradley Santi, Sugar Daddies employee. “Both owners are dads, hence the name.”
This is the second year that Sugar Daddies has hosted the Bracketology competition, with future goals of making this an annual event.
“In December, customers suggested over 200 ice cream flavors; some of them really random and crazy,” said Stacie Hoyt, a manager at Sugar Daddies. “We picked 16 flavor suggestions and paired them against each other, in a kind of parallel to March Madness.”
Once the ideas have been submitted and chosen, the Sugar Daddies crew makes each flavor a reality, creating their perception of the suggestion and letting customers experience their own ideas.
For anyone unfamiliar with March Madness or the bracket system, this means that each of the 16 flavors will be paired off and compete directly, resulting in eight matches. The winners of these eight will proceed to the next round, into four matches. These winners will face each other until there are only two left. These two are the finalists.
This means that there will be a total of 15 matches, and so 15 weeks of competition.
The flavors for the week of Jan. 6 to Jan. 12 were Apricot Rose versus Chili Mango.
“Even the staff has been participating, and last week’s results were half and half for the staff,” Hoyt said.
The most recent flavors were Chocolate Sriracha versus Red Velvet with Cream Cheese.
“I love chocolate and hate cream cheese, so I would probably go for the Chocolate Sriracha,” said Zac Chan, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student and Davis visitor, sitting on the Sugar Daddies porch.
Every week, customers can walk into the shop and ask for free samples of the two flavors. All votes are tallied on a white board behind the counter. This week, Red Velvet is winning by almost twice the number of votes as Chocolate Sriracha.
“Personally, I prefer the Red Velvet with Cream Cheese,” Santi said. “I’m not so into spicy chocolate.”
The Chocolate Sriracha has flavorful elements of both components, but is shockingly not spicy, customers said. Its opponent, the Red Velvet and Cream Cheese flavor, presents a vibrant red hue but a creamier texture.
“I have heard of Sugar Daddies. I think that I would go in and sample the new flavors,” said Karen Ma, a first-year mechanical engineering major, and relatively new to the downtown Davis scene. “If I could make up an ice cream flavor, I would say Hazelnut Milk Tea.”
The setting of Sugar Daddies mirrors the inside of a classic ice cream shop. They make all of their ice cream in the store from regional and neighborhood sources, with a variety of flavors that change seasonally.
“What separates us from other ice cream places is that we try to use local products as much as we can,” Hoyt said. “We work closely with the Davis Farmers Market and in our ice cream flavors, we use what is in season.”
They are known for their Avocado Coconut flavor. Trying this flavor signifies a rite-of-passage into the Sugar Daddies’ family, according to Santi. Other uncommon flavors include Strawberry Lemonade, S’mores (with real marshmallow), Olive Oil, Peach Brown Sugar and Horchata.
“We have had about 300 flavors,” Santi said. “Recently, someone donated a ton of apples to us and we made an apple pie flavor of ice cream.”
Unlike many commercial ice cream companies that keep giant tubs of prepared and pre-determined ice cream flavors in storage freezers, Sugar Daddies is able to keep customers on their toes with options and localized ingredients.
“Everything is homemade,” Hoyt said. “If someone were to ask for a flavor, come back next week, and we will make it in the shop.”
The Sugar Daddies Bracketology competition will go on until the 16 flavors come to one final winner, which will become a permanent flavor.
“The Bracketology competition is an awesome idea,” said Kelly Lima, a fourth-year biological sciences major. “My roommates and I will definitely be visiting every week to try the free tastings; probably on Mondays, too!”
Sugar Daddies is located at 113 E St. in downtown Davis, open daily from 11:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., except Sundays, when it closes at 9:00 p.m.