World's 30 Best Ice Cream Parlors (Slideshow)
“Mac” McConnell’s legendary hybrid French pot is where “universe’s finest ice cream”, accrding to McConnell's, was born. The secret to McConnell’s ice cream is the people who make it, creating classic flavors like vanilla bean and mint chip as well as unexpected ones like the tart-and-tangy Eureka lemon & marionberries, made with Oregon marionberries and infused with Eureka lemon. Peppermint Stick made with organic peppermint and peppermint candy is a customer favorite.
Located in Kingston in the 19th-century-old former home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, the Devon House ice cream stand serves 27 flavors, from the traditional like pistachio to some island-inspired like coconut and Soursop to even a flavor called Devon Stout, whis is flavoed with a local island beer.
Unless a local shows you where to go, it’s tricky to find Il Gelato di San Crispino, one of Rome’s oldest gelatarias, hidden down a narrow side lane just a few minutes walk from the Trevi fountain. But the search is worth the whiskey-flavored gelato and other exceptional flavors you’ll find there.
Sebastian Joe’s — founded in 1984 by three brothers, Tim, Todd, and Michael and named after their grandfather — aims to surprise. Their flavors change daily and the ice cream is packed into a homemade waffle cone dipped in Swiss chocolate and sprinkled with almond, coconut, Butterfinger, or Heath Bar.
18 Smaker founders Danne and Karin serve 18 ice cream flavors that rotate with the seasons and their cravings of the moment. “Mini balls,” which are golf ball-sized samplings of ice cream, are available for those who can’t decide on a flavor and want to try a few.
Specializing in all-natural, rGBH-free ice cream since 1993, Taos Cow mixes traditional flavors with local ingredients, creating southwestern-inspired flavors like Buffalo Chip (vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate-covered coffee beans) and a maple walnut made with real maple extract and walnuts.
Made with little butterfat and sweetener, ice cream at Salt & Straw boasts strong, natural flavors like wildflower honey with ricotta and dandelion sorbet made with actual dandelions and elderflowers.
In addition to organic ice creams and sorbets, Caramello is known for its soy-based flavors and dairy-free options served daily.
Historians tell us that the Chinese invented ice cream, and Chinatown Ice Cream Factory makes a good case for a long expertise in the craft with delicious flavors like black sesame, red bean, and Zen Butter.
Inspired by the recipes of their grandpa Max, an organic chemist, Bruce and Mark Becker of Max & Mina’s made it their mission to create more interesting ice cream flavors. You won’t find their bold and avant-garde combinations like Corn on the Cob and Cabernet Oreo anywhere else.
Max and Minas
From the caramelized peach ice cream made with real peaches to the cinnamon toast sundae, the treats at Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream are extravagant and one-of-a-kind. When opening in 2008, shop founders Donald and Clarissa Morelli's goal was to create the best and most unique ice cream in Atlanta.
Morelli's Ice Cream
The fruity ice cream flavors at Tepoznieves like cactus, pineapple-chili, and passion fruit are inspired by ingredients specific to the region. And for a bit of booziness in your ice cream, there are flavors like tequila and piña colada, made with alcohol.
Whether you ask for one cup, two cups, or three cups, Emporio La Rosa is loved for its creative ice cream sundaes. Its signature sundae, Emporio’s Cup, is made with ulmo honey-infused ice cream, araucanian chocolate, and toasted almonds.
In addition to award-winning ice cream flavors, this Canadian creamery offers a behind-the-scenes tour of its step-by-step ice cream making process and a visit to the sample room to taste the newest “Wowie Cowie” flavors.
Simmo’s Ice Creamery went from a tiny father-and-son creamery, founded in 1993 with just an old Irish recipe and an ice cream machine, to an award-winning shop with over 60 traditional and unique ice cream flavors like “Mango Macadamia,” “Rum and Raisin,” and “Orange Chocolate Chip.”
Serving more than 50 flavors of Italian gelato, including five dulce de leche varieties, and old-fashioned ice cream sodas since 1938, A.M. Scannapieco is still one of the best ice cream parlors around.
For old-fashioned ice cream, Eddie’s Sweet Shop is the place. This sweets shop will take you back to the good old days when whipped cream was made by hand, banana splits were served in metal bowls, and soda jerks could charm the girls right off their bar stools.
James Beard Award-winning chef Jeni Britton Bauer and her crew, who call themselves ice cream explorers, began their search 13 years ago for the “best ice cream imaginable.” Their product, Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams, serves ice creams, frozen yogurts, and sorbets, made from the ground up. Flavors like “Cedarwood Vanilla” and “Hot Toddy Sorbet” are inspired by the seasons, pop culture, culinary history, and world trends.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
“Honest-to-goodness, made-from-scratch, not-your-average ice cream” is what you’ll find at The Creamery, where all the ingredients in the ice cream come from local farms. For adventurous ice cream connoisseurs, every month The Creamery makes three limited edition flavors for its “Ice Cream Club” members. These flavors are special because they’re hard to make, they use ingredients that are available in small amounts, and they haven’t been introduced in the shop yet.
Specializing in excess, Vaffelbageriet’s most popular item is the "Amerikaner," packing up to four scoops of ice cream in a cone and topped with syrup, whipped cream, and a chocolate-covered meringue puff. The more than 100-year-old ice cream shop makes ice creams from age-old recipes.
Whether it’s brownies, peanut brittle, marshmallows, or snickerdoodles, Bi-Rite Creamery makes everything that goes in its handmade ice cream. At this San Francisco staple, ice cream comes in ice cream sandwiches, cakes, pies, and sundaes, and flavors like “Honey Lavender with Sonoma Honey,” “Vanilla with Madecasse Vanilla,” and “Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl” are one-of-a-kind.
Murphy’s crafts simple artisanal flavors that are designed to go together. You might pair chocolate with butterscotch, raspberry with Kerry cream, or sea salt with caramel.
“Architecturally-inspired,” Coolhaus lets customers design their own gourmet ice cream “sammies” —one-layer, two-layer, or three-layer — by mixing and matching cookie and ice cream flavors for crazy-good combinations like chocolate molten lava cake ice cream sandwiched between two carrot cake cookies.
At Molly Moon’s, ice cream flavors rotate with the seasons and ingredients are locally-sourced, introducing unusual, sweet-and-savory concoctions like “Stumptown Coffee,” “Kombucha Sorbet,” and “Cherry Goat Cheese.”
With names like “Salty Pimp” (vanilla soft-serve, dulce de leche, and sea salt dipped in chocolate) and “Mexican Affo'gay'to” (spicy hot chocolate with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cayenne, and shaved chocolate), Big Gay Ice Cream serves up colorful soft-serve ice cream concoctions that almost always incorporate the same main ingredients: sea salt, Nutella, and dulce de leche.
Big Gay Ice Cream
The ice cream sandwich takes an unusual form at Antico Caffè Spinnato, where gelato is served on fresh-baked brioche bread.
Vipiteno Gelateria is known for “The Demoiselle Cup,” a gelato sundae made of dulce de leche gelato topped with pear and ginger syrup, whipped cream, and crunchy burnt sugar. One scoop costs $10, so make it last.
Nowhere else can you find tartufo (truffle) made like it is at Bar Gelateria Ercole. A spoonful of fudge is wrapped in ice cream or gelato, rolled in cocoa powder and sugar, and battered to create a gooey, chocolaty, ice cream treat.
Bar Gelateria Ercole