Today's post is a guest one written by my husband, Joel Finbloom. Check it out below!
For those with a passion for ice cream, Joel just started his own ice cream themed blog called Scoops on Scoops - check out his latest posts at www.scoopsonscoopsblog.com.
Ice cream is my all-time favorite dessert, and I make a point of trying ice cream at local shops whenever I travel. I decided for this post to list the top cities/regions for ice cream based on my experience. Something to note: I prefer creamy ice cream and I prefer flavors like cookies and cream, dark chocolate, and black raspberry, so obviously, these picks are based on those preferences. Next time you find yourself in one of these places, be sure to stop by an ice cream shop for a scoop!
1. Bologna, Italy
This one may be obvious, as Italy arguably has the best ice cream in the world, in the form of gelato. And of all the many many gelaterias that I frequented when I was in Italy, no city had gelato to rival Bologna. My personal favorite place was Lilasu Gelateria, but I’m sure no matter where you go, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Boston and the greater New England region
In my mind, Boston is the city in the US for over-the-top creamy and delicious ice cream. While Ben and Jerry’s may be the most famous of the New England ice creameries, there are many other amazing options all over the Boston area, as well as some awesome roadside ice cream stands all over the beautiful New England countryside. Ice cream places of note in Boston: JP Licks, which to this day has the best cookies and cream ice cream I’ve ever had, and Emack & Bolio’s (try the Moose Tracks ice cream).
Also a top pick for its gelato, Monaco is a fun city to wander through while eating some tasty ice cream. I hit up two different spots in this city while I was there for the day and both were amazing: Gelatorino and L'Atelier du Glacier, which is somewhere between traditional gelato and American ice cream. Gelato pro tip – most gelaterias will allow you to mix two flavors as a single scoop. I normally go with the dark chocolate and the frutta de bosco flavor, which literally translates as fruit of the forest, and is usually a mix of raspberries and blackberries.
4. Anywhere else in Italy
Italy is known for its gelato (duh), so anywhere you go, you’ll be sure to find some amazing gelaterias. Remember to mix your flavors for maximum deliciousness!
5. St. Louis
This may be a surprise for the non-Midwesterners reading this blog, but St. Louis is home to the best custard shop in the world. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is a St. Louis landmark and should definitely be a stop on anyone’s itinerary in the city. Ted Drewes is the birthplace of the concrete, a super dense custard shake which has been imitated many times, the most famous probably being Dairy Queen’s Blizzard. The concrete is so thick, that the servers flip it upside down while uncovered to confirm that it won’t spill out. My personal favorite concrete combo is cookies and cream with hot fudge, although the addition of hot fudge does diminish the integrity of the concrete. If you aren’t in St. Louis, but want to see what all the custard hype is about, try Andy’s, which is a very good custard chain that is found throughout the country. This will give you a preview into the Ted Drewes experience, but is not a substitute by any means.
Portland is home to some very inventive ice cream shops, most notably Salt and Straw, which started in Portland and has since expanded to multiple locations throughout the West Coast. The Portland style (and that of West Coast ice cream in general) involves blending different ingredients together in creative and usually very tasty ways. Sometimes these flavors are a bit ridiculous. For instance, there was a Thanksgiving-themed flavor at Salt and Straw that featured actual turkey and stuffing. But usually these flavors are delicious combinations of ingredients like lavender, honey, and olive oil with cream and chocolate sourced from local vendors. While the ice cream options are a bit pricier at these “artisanal shops”, it’s almost always worth the cost (and long waits).
7. San Francisco and greater Bay Area
The Bay Area has an amazing ice cream selection that I’ve had the fortune of sampling over the last 5 years of living here. Most Bay Area ice cream places are in the same style as Portland (fancy flavors that are usually as delicious as they are interesting). Ice cream places of note: Humphrey Slocombe, Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, Little Giant Ice Cream, and Lush Gelato (my personal top pick for Bay Area ice cream). But the real reason that SF made it on this list is its amazing selection of Asian ice cream shops. Particularly, shops that serve ice cream in Hong Kong waffles or Japanese taiyaki cones. Of note is Uji Time, which offers both options, along with some absolutely amazing soft serve flavors like black sesame, matcha, and green tea, served with red bean paste at the bottom of the taiyaki.
8. Tel Aviv
Israel has a large dairy industry, which means it also has lots of great ice cream options! There’s nothing better than walking around the beaches of Tel Aviv on a hot day while eating some tasty ice cream. My favorite place in the city is at Cafe Yotvata, named after the Kibbutz where the ice cream comes from.
9. New Zealand
New Zealand has a unique style of ice cream, known as “real fruit ice cream”, where they take berries, mango, bananas, or whatever else you want and blend it in with their ice cream to make a soft serve fruit concoction, which is as tasty as it is refreshing. I highly recommend having it with their Hokey Pokey ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream with honey and pieces of honeycomb. Check out this link, which lists the country’s best spots for real fruit ice cream.
10. The Eastern Shore
Growing up in Maryland, I spent quite a few summer days wandering around on a boardwalk or a beach while eating a Dip Cone, which while not unique to the Eastern Shore, is definitely more prevalent there than other parts of the country. For those unfamiliar with dip cones, it is soft serve ice cream dipped in chocolate, which hardens around the ice cream. It is essentially a much much better version of an ice cream bar. You can get a delicious dip cone at Kohr Brothers, with locations in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. While it may be the messiest form of ice cream (I have yet to master eating it without getting chocolate all over my face), it is one of the tastiest.