It's getting warmer outside and the thoughts of many people are focused on ice cream.  Do you know that you don't have to travel far from Erie to get some of the best chocolate ice cream in North America? 

Katie and Nick Krasa own Krasa's Kove just off the shores of Findley Lake in Chautauqua County, NY.  Last November, they won third place, The White Ribbon, for their chocolate ice cream called Holy Chocolate.  The award was presented by the North American Ice Cream Association at its annual convention.  The Krasa's were shocked that their ice cream was placed in the top three in the entire continent.

"It was very interesting to sit there and see your name on the board. We kind of looked at each other like, 'We had no shot at this," recalls Katie.

The Krasa's were competing against hundreds of entrants, some of them multi-million dollar operations. The judges were Ivy League dairy professors and students from Cornell University.  But, the small business from Findley Lake won the third place prize.

"For a one-location, summertime, seasonal business, for us to be even in that same category as some of the bigger operations, it was an honor,” says Nick.

The Krasa's purchased the shop in 2015 and sold ice cream manufactured elsewhere.  After one year, they decided to make their own, even though they had no experience. They now make 200 flavors including Banana Buckeye, Toasted Coconut, Salted Caramel, and Blueberry Basil.  The recipes were all created through trial and error.

"We roll with them and we try them.  If they don't work, that’s OK.,” says Katie.   “We'll try anything once,” added Nick.

Some of the ideas for flavors come from customers, and the Krasa children.  Although Holy Chocolate is the North American White Ribbon Winner, all of the flavors are fantastic.

"Nobody else in this area has the chocolate, the peanut butter, the caramel we use.  We put a lot of effort in trying to find our ingredients and hopefully we're putting the best out there,” says Nick.

The Krasa's already have their sights on this November's competition and they're not gunning for a White Ribbon. They want to win one, or more, Blue Ribbons.

"We're so excited to enter," says Katie. "We're going to enter some new flavors and categories as well.  We're going to brainstorm what we're going to do." 

Krasa's Kove is now open on Saturday and Sundays only.   They will be open seven days a week starting on Memorial Day.  36 flavors are offered each week.  Some people drove over three hours to be there for opening day two weeks ago.