Owner and former Peace Corps volunteer Neal Gottlieb puts a big emphasis on sustainability: The ingredients for his ice cream are local; all bowls, spoons and napkins are compostable; and the shop's emissions are offset with renewable energy certificates.
Must have: English Toffee ice cream and a handmade waffle cone
“The ice cream has great flavor and mouthfeel, and a large flavor selection that changes with the season. It always reminds me of childhood trips to the ice cream shop,” says 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef Devin McDavid, of San Francisco’s Quince restaurant.
Must have: Salted Caramel or Black Sesame with Sonoma Honey
Almost everything at this excellent ice cream shop is made from scratch, including the marshmallows for the Rocky Road. Marin County's Straus Family Creamery, the first certified-organic dairy in the West, supplies all of the milk and cream for Bi-Rite's ice creams.
Must have: Buckeye Chocolate Chip
Graeter's ice cream, made just two gallons at a time, is slowly swirled and folded into itself in a French Pot so no air gets whipped in. The technique makes for an extra-dense and creamy ice cream—each pint weighs almost a pound. This state icon also ships its rich, custard-style ice cream.
Must have: The Signature "Izzy Scoop"
“It’s a tiny top hat-like scoop of ice cream that you can order on top of any cone, giving you the joy of two flavors in a much more manageable format than a classic double scoop,” says 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef Stella Parks, of Table Three Ten in Lexington, Kentucky. “Plus, it looks adorably jaunty.”
Must have: Black Cherry ice cream
The hands-down favorite of locals. This family-run parlor is on a dairy farm--the deck offers views of grazing cows.
Must have: Banana Split
“I rather enjoy a butterscotch sundae with vanilla ice cream but they have much more than that,” says Bryce Caron, a 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef. “The sandwiches are delicious. Margie’s is the kind of place you visit to forget the fact that you live in a major urban environment. Just grab a club sandwich and a banana split and call it a day.”
Must have: Chocolate Matzo Crack
Victoria Lai, a former member of the Department of Homeland Security, gets creative with milk and cream from nearby South Mountain Creamery.
Must have: Marti's Marshmallow
This Syracuse parlor uses ingredients from central New York in its 30-plus daily options.
Must have: Berkey Brickle
This operation, which owns more than 200 cows, has been part of Penn State for 150 years.
Must have: Peanut Butter & Jelly ice cream
The ice cream at this 1796 farm is made with the super creamy milk from the resident Jersey cows.
Must have: New Hampshire Pure Maple Walnut
This hugely popular shop right on the Portsmouth waterfront serves all-natural ice cream in more than 30 regular flavors, plus rotating seasonal ones.
Must have: Fresh Peach and Coconut ice cream
This Cape Cod institution, housed in a tiny white cottage, has been serving supercreamy house-made ice cream every summer since 1934.
Must Have: Coffee Oreo ice cream
Shawn Gawle, a 2012 F&W Best New Pastry Chef from Saison restaurant in San Francisco, made pilgrimages to this spot as a child, when visiting his grandparents. “I’m a sucker for classic mint chocolate chip and Oreo, and they now do a coffee Oreo ice cream, which is great,” he says. “The ginger is nice, too!”