Ice cream has an extensive, storied, and international history. While its place of origin is unclear — everyone from the Arabs to the Chinese to the Quakers has been credited with its creation — we know ice cream was reserved as a luxurious treat for the elite up until the 1800s, when insulated ice houses were invented. But once ice cream production became a bona fide industry, its popularity soared, prompting the boom of ice cream parlors and decadent ice cream creations.
Why do we love ice cream — and its counterparts sorbet, gelato, frozen custard, and ices — so much? Perhaps because nothing captures pure joy and innocence like an ice cream cone dripping down your arm. Ice cream is a universal obsession, even more so now that the days when plain vanilla cones were the sole option are long gone. From ice cream sandwiches to floats and sundaes, the spectrum of what constitutes ice cream continues to expand across the globe. At the same time, ice cream makers are experiencing a return to their wholesome roots, often sourcing their cream closer to home from dairy farms that raise cows hormone-free. And while some toppings are so off-the-wall there’s no way they could be natural, many shops are opting for organic garnishes, resulting in unobstructed ecstasy in every lick.
We’ve got the scoop on the best parlors to satisfy your creamy cravings worldwide. While competition was fierce in the ranking of these ice cream spots, we’re confident these parlors will live up to all your expectations. Venues were selected based on critical acclaim, quality ingredients, original concepts, exceptional service, and customer experience.
So go ahead and renew your passport, hop a flight, pick a flavor, and treat yourself!