Splitting Debate: How to prepare banana splits

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Splitting Debate: How to prepare banana splits

The Sarris Banana Split filled to the brim with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and strawberries definitely made its mark in our Banana Split taste test, but was it good enough to win? Read to find out!

The Sarris Banana Split filled to the brim with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and strawberries definitely made its mark in our Banana Split taste test, but was it good enough to win? Read to find out!

Maria Cimino

The Sarris Banana Split filled to the brim with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and strawberries definitely made its mark in our Banana Split taste test, but was it good enough to win? Read to find out!

Maria Cimino

Maria Cimino

The Sarris Banana Split filled to the brim with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and strawberries definitely made its mark in our Banana Split taste test, but was it good enough to win? Read to find out!

Since 1904, the banana split has been a staple ice cream treat, with many ice cream shops having their own version on the menu. Since that historic date, there seems to be some controversy about what exactly constitutes a “banana split”. Does the banana have to be split down the center, surrounding the ice cream? Do banana splits have to be made the same at each ice cream shop?

Never fear, your local newspaper editors, (and self-confessed food critics) Maria Cimino and Morgan Kafana, have embarked on a journey to discover which restaurants follow the “proper” banana split making technique and which ones don’t. We tested banana splits from three shops, both local and far away, to provide the masses with the information they need to make an informed decision on proper banana split eating.

Before we begin our ice cream eating adventure, some background information on this American icon should be cleared up. The first banana split was created in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, by an apprentice pharmacist named David Evans Strickler.

In his spare time, Strickler would haphazardly create frozen desserts and sample them. One day, he was challenged by a customer to create a dessert using banana, a fruit that was just being introduced to America. Strickler decided to split a banana long ways and separate it with three scoops of ice cream. He then added toppings like chocolate, nuts, strawberries and pineapple. After that, whipped cream was applied along with maraschino cherries. The customer loved it and has been a favorite ever since.

The banana split has definitely evolved over the years, so it was pretty interesting to see how modern ice cream shops produce their banana splits.

Our first stop was to Dairy Cream Corner, a small town favorite in Fairmont, West Virginia. This banana split was made with two tall scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped topping and a maraschino cherry. One of the major differences with this sundae was the option of what toppings would be used. This ice cream place split the banana around both sides of the ice cream.

Our verdict: Was the Dairy Cream Corner banana split an actual banana split? Though the banana was indeed split horizontally and separated by ice cream, the lack of three scoops of ice cream wasn’t the proper way. Although maybe we can let it slide seeing as how their “small” was not actually that small. Would we recommend going to Dairy Cream Corner to get a banana split? Yes, it’s creamy ice cream, low prices and the quantity of ice cream make it worth it. Our only advice is to bring a friend (or army) to help you eat it.

The second banana split we tested shifted gears a little, moving from a “mom-and-pop shop” to a famous national chain: Dairy Queen. The banana split from Dairy Queen used its creamy vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup, chocolate syrup, pineapple and whipped cream to create its version of the century-old frozen treat.

Unfortunately, our local Dairy Queen was out of bananas when we ordered, so we had to use our imaginations to get the full effect. We were told that, had it been present, the banana would be peeled, have its ends cut off and be cut in half longways before being separated around the three scoops of ice cream.

Our verdict: Was the Dairy Queen banana split an actual banana split? By definition, yes, the ice cream we received checked all the boxes that marked it as a “banana split”. Would we recommend going to Dairy Queen to get a banana split? No, coupled with the lack of bananas available and the quantity of toppings available, the Dairy Queen banana split is not worth it.

Our final stop was a local favorite, Sarris Candies, located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Sarris is known for its delectable chocolates and massive ice cream sundaes, and its banana splits are nothing to ignore. Filled to the brim with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream, and topped with chopped walnuts, pineapples, strawberries, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles and maraschino cherries, this dessert was no small treat to eat.

Prior to chowing down on our dessert, we discovered that, in comparison to the other banana splits we tasted, Sarris does not have one specific way that they must cut the banana. One worker revealed that she cuts a vertical slice down the center but leaves the banana intact in the bottom of the bowl, while another revealed she separates the banana using a method similar to Dairy Queen’s.

Our verdict: Was the Sarris banana split an actual banana split? The lack of consistency between the preparation of the banana makes it difficult to tell, but we have decided to consider it a banana split for our purposes since a split was made in the banana. Would we recommend going to Sarris to get a banana split? Possibly, but only if you can bring a few friends to help you eat it.

So, what’s the final verdict? If you’re looking for a yummy, affordable and properly-made banana split, then Dairy Cream Corner is the place for you!