July 21, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
Craving something sweet? We’ve rounded up the best spots for ice cream, gelato, sorbet and sno-bliz from San Francisco to Singapore.
Al’s Diner – Shanghai
Summer temperatures regularly top 40°C (100°F) in Shanghai. When coupled with the accompanying humidity, it’s all HUNT Shanghai writer Sophie Friedman can do to crawl the few blocks from her place to Al’s Diner. In addition to a menu with all-day breakfast, a Monte Cristo and chicken-fried steak, the store serves Gracie’s Ice Cream. With a selection of 16 outstanding house-made flavors, asking someone to pick a favorite is like asking a mother to pick a favorite child. But, the malt, sea salt and dark chocolate, black sesame and honey, and Hokkaido soft-serve topped with a chunk of honeycomb are all top-notch.
Ample Hills Creamery – New York City
The sweltering night that Ample Hills Creamery opened in Brooklyn, HUNT New York City writer JoAnna Kang walked by the long line and thought they were all just waiting to cool off by any means possible. But when she finally got a taste of the chocolate and salted caramel offerings here, she knew she had misinterpreted the reason for that line. Super fresh organic cream and bold, salt-forward swirls of flavor put this frozen goodness head and shoulders above what you can find in the supermarket, or most other ice cream shops, for that matter.
Azucar Ice Cream Company – Miami
If you ever want to elicit a childlike squeal from any Latinx, bring up galletas Maria. Whether it was a mom, grandma or aunt who proffered them, these cookies are a childhood staple. Susan Batlle’s homemade ice cream flavors at Azucar Ice Cream Company play on that nostalgia to bring unexpected and utterly local flavors like cafe con leche, mamey and flan. The Abuela Maria is her signature and most popular treat, though. She spent a long time working with friends to perfect a recipe that transforms vanilla ice cream with large chunks of galletas Maria, guava paste and cream cheese into absolute ambrosial magic.
Berthillon – Paris
This historic creamery serves up the finest ice cream in Paris and has called the little Île Saint-Louis home since the 1960s. Any Parisian will tell you Berthillon is the best and whatever the weather they’ll turn up to get their scoops here. Why? Because everything, including their nougatine and caramels, is housemade.Get your cone to-go, or sit down inside and order HUNT Paris writer Haleigh Walsworth’s choice, Belle Hélène: a chocolate-dipped pear teetering on a scoop of vanilla, sprinkled with almond brittle.
DelaCrem – Barcelona
According to our HUNT Barcelona writer, Ben Holbrook, it’s the simple things that make life in Barcelona special. He firmly believes that meandering down Passeig de Gràcia with an ice cream in you hand and the sun on your back should be way up there on your bucket list. Where should that ice cream come from? DelaCrem, where owner Massimo Pignato uses fresh fruits, premium quality nuts and artisanal chocolate to handcraft out-of-this-world gelato. Try the pistachio or hazelnut, or freshen up with zesty sorbets. Psst: there are gluten-free and vegan options.
Dolcezza – Washington, D.C.
The love story behind the creation of Dolcezza is one of South American romance and gelato. Owner Robb was traveling through South America when he met and fell in love with Violetta, who hails from Argentina. They visited a gelateria in Buenos Aires, and it was there that the idea to bring the Argentine-style treat (which is thicker, smoother and richer than the Italian version) to the U.S. was born. By combining fruits and herbs from local markets, Robb turns seasonal goodness into frozen magic with flavors ranging from salted caramel to pink grapefruit to orange honey cardamom.
Earnest Ice Cream – Vancouver
In temperate Vancouver, it doesn’t need to be a sunny day in order to crave something cold and utterly refreshing. The HUNT Vancouver writers, The Food Gays, fell in love with small-batch creamery Earnest Ice Cream back when they were supplying their inventively flavored pints to specialty stores around the city. Unsurprisingly, the brand took off and now they have their very own storefronts. Indulge in a double-scoop because it’s too hard to decide when there are the likes of salted caramel, oatmeal brown sugar and vegan maple walnut.
Eispatisserie Hokey Pokey – Berlin
There is often a line snaking down the sidewalk from Eispatisserie Hokey Pokey, but that doesn’t deter anyone. The unbelievably mouth-watering homemade treat is well worth any wait. The array of extravagant and creative flavors is updated regularly, though the namesake Hokey Poke (rich vanilla studded with golden honeycomb toffee bits) is always on hand. The banana-chocolate-peanut butter is luscious and the Sicilian pistachio? To. Die. For.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – New Orleans [Lizzy Caston]
It may not be ice cream, per se, but these sno-balls aren’t your average sno-cone. No mere flavoring of crudely crushed ice, Hansen’s treats are more like the shaved ice popular in Hawaii. It was Ernest and Mary Hansen who pioneered the treat back in 1939. Mary dreamed up endless flavors made from simple syrups, fruits and condensed milk or whipped cream. Now in the hands of granddaughter Ashley Hansen, the stand is a hallmark of imaginative combinations and superior quality. Families, hipsters, local dock workers – the crowd at Hansen’s is always diverse and appreciative. Try the Brown Pelican, a cream of root beer that will chill you to the bone.
IJscuypje – Amsterdam
For the past six summers, HUNT Amsterdam writer Ali Ronca has survived without a freezer. How? IJscuypje. The offerings are ultra rich and endlessly creamy, and the flavors rotate often. Though they’re only open between March and October, on any given day you could find crunch caramel cookie, strawberry cheesecake, hazelnut and a variety of fruity sorbets.
Kurt Farm Shop – Seattle
Kurt Timmermeister’s farm shop at Chophouse Row in Seattle is a dairy lover’s dream of pastoral paradise. Not only is there New York Times-heralded fromage, but also his frozen goodies. The ice creams are laced with Triple Crown blackberries, bay laurel and lemon verbena, all of which are grown on his Vashon Island farm.
Lab Made – Hong Kong
Watching ice cream whipped frozen right in front of you in under two minutes, surrounded by a magical mist, is mesmerizing. A pair of professional pharmacists, Ronnie Chung and Jenny Siu decided to swap their lab coats for liquid nitrogen and KitchenAid mixers to open Lab Made, Hong Kong’s first ice cream parlor freezing scoops at -196°C. Flavor options change bi-weekly and include almost anything, from HK crispy toast (a play on the local snack of toast, peanut butter and condensed milk) to sticky toffee pudding, purple glutenous rice and lemon meringue pie.
Lick – Austin
While big cities usually lead the way in trendy eating, it’s a small town mentality that inspired Lick. Co-owners Chad and Anthony grew up eating ice cream from local mom ‘n’ pops, where fruit was farm-fresh and the milk practically walked itself over. Inspired by their childhoods and Austin’s abundant locavore scene, they launched Lick with a simple mission in mind: to create unique flavors with the highest quality ingredients available. The result? Wildly creative flavors such as goat cheese, fig and honey, candied tomato, basil and balsamic, and cardamom pear cake – all without a drop of high fructose corn syrup
Mil Frutas Café – Rio de Janeiro
Mil Frutas translates to “one thousand fruits” – though the ice cream shop doesn’t have 1,000 flavors, there are over 200 that are all made with all natural ingredients. On the more obscure side are Amazonian fruits such as cupuaçu, which tastes of melon, pineapple and vodka, and the sweet-and-sour bacuri; herbal aromatics like jasmine and chamomile; and alcoholic options like absinthe, Champagne and sake. Take your time to browse the options and use all three of the provas (tastes) they allow each customer before making your final decision.
Piccolina Gelateria – Melbourne
When Sandra Foti realized she couldn’t buy anything similar to her father’s creamy, all-nature, homemade gelato, she decided to open Piccolina Gelateria. Armed with secret family recipes, Sandra went to Italy to hone her skills in preparation for her new venture. There are now more than 20 gelato, sorbetti and granita flavors here, but the pistachio and the chocolate brownie are killer.
The Ice Cream Bar – San Francisco
SF has no shortage of artisanal creameries, most of them scooping flavors for shock value (Boccalone prosciutto, anyone?). But sometimes, all you want is a classic sundae, one without controversy or bits of cured meat. Pastry chef Juliet Pries’s 1930s-inspired The Ice Cream Bar is all about a time when chocolate tasted like chocolate and soda fountains looked more like bars, but everything is organic and made in small batches. Yes, there are rows of botanical extracts that the soda jerks mix into tonics, but the splits and tall floats are sweet enough to bring back memories of simpler times.
Tom’s Palette – Singapore
Make no mistake: it’s damn hot in Singapore, year-round. Luckily, Tom’s Palette scoops up homemade ice cream year-round, too. Although they make traditional flavors like coffee and butter pecan, they also have a plethora of unusual options, such as the super tasty salted egg yolk, black sesame, “savoury crunch” made with salted milk cream, potato chips, pretzels and cereal, and even alcoholic sorbet.
For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Guides on gatehousepublishing.com.