In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. His proclamation was made in part because this sweet, creamy and cool treat was enjoyed by more than 90 percent of our nation’s population. And according to the International Ice Cream Association, 10.3 percent of all milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to make ice cream. But enough of the backstory—July is melting away and you’re probably wondering where to find the best ice cream shops.
Here’s the scoop.
1. Annabelle’s | Portsmouth, NH
For more than 30 years, this tiny ice cream parlor has been using only natural ingredients to make premium frozen confections. This dedication to excellence has made it one of the best ice cream shops in New England—and earned accolades like the “Buyers Choice Award” from the Northeast Food Service & Lodging Expo. Top flavors include Mint Summer’s Night Dream (mint chocolate chip mixed with white and dark chocolate chunks), Cashew Carmel Cluster (caramel with roasted cashews and chocolate chunks), Mocha Mud Pie™ (Mocha Ice Cream with Hydrox® Cookies and Pure Chocolate Chips), Peanut Butter Fantasy (Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Fudge Swirls and Reeses® Peanut Butter Cups), Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Monster (Super Premium Chocolate Chips & Chunks of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) and Swiss Chocolate Avalanche (Swiss chocolate blended with pecans, walnuts, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chunks and white chocolate swirls).
Visitors to Annabelle’s can choose from 30 flavors of ice cream, four kinds of frozen yogurt, and three types of fruit sorbet. But they are always looking for new and exciting flavors. Those who scream for ice cream are encouraged to see what they churn out next.
Pretty Cool: Brain freeze occurs when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth.
2. The Creole Creamery | New Orleans, LA
Located in the Uptown and Lakeview areas of New Orleans, The Creole Creamery prides itself on a rotating menu of ice cream flavors that might include Drunken Kiwi, Monkey Hill Dew, Scotch Bonnet Citrus, Witch’s Brew, along with staples like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Order fountain classics like sundaes, ice cream floats and malts. Or try the Sky Scraper, Cookie Monster Sundae or Creole Crown—they’re all creamery specialties.
For something truly outrageous, dig into the Tchoupitoulas. This monstrous sundae is made with eight scoops of ice cream, and your choice of eight toppings plus whipped cream, sprinkles, cherries and wafers. It’s a challenge to eat, but those who can finish every last chilly bite without anyone’s help will earn a spot on the hall of fame plaque.
Udderly Amazing: It takes 3 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
3. Sweet Republic | Phoenix, AZ
This cool shop in the Arizona desert has one simple philosophy: start with the purest ingredients and you get the most flavorful ice cream experience. Sweet Republic’s from-scratch recipes use only all-natural local ingredients to make extraordinary ice cream. Be sure to try the Campfire S’more. This sweet sundae is made with two scoops of Belgian chocolate, roasted marshmallow, whip, hot fudge and served in a waffle cone. The Coconut Lime Float comes with two scoops of coconut sorbet dropped into a cup of lemon-lime soda pop.
Grab a hand-spun Java Jolt Milkshake (three scoops of Pearberry espresso—and topped with whipped cream) or try the Toffee Banofi. This decadent treat is made with two scoops of Madagascar Vanilla, almond toffee brittle, fresh bananas, whip & salted caramel sauce in waffle bowl. You can even have Sweet Republic pack up some ice cream to go. Artisan ice cream by the scoop is available in single, double, triple or pint servings.
Totally Cool:The perfect temperature for scooping ice cream is between 6 degrees and 10 degrees.
4. Morgenstern’s | New York, NY
Seeking to satisfy America’s indulgence for ice cream, restaurateur Nicholas Morgenstern focuses on small batch, texture-driven creations. Every ice cream creation begins with a dream and flavor profile before being served in the parlor. Flavor creations include Burnt Honey Vanilla, Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate, Banana Curry, Peanut Butter Picoso’s, Salt & Pepper Pinenut, Cardamon Lemon Jam, Choclate Oat and American Egg. Cool and refreshing sorbet flavors include raspberry currant, apricot and coconut.
Morgenstern’s is always among the best ice cream shops because of its innovative flavor collaborations. In 2015, the shop will partner with chef Alex Raij to create the El Quinto Pino. This delicious concoction is made with Spanish olive oil ice cream, chocolate olive oil dip and sea-salted breadcrumbs in an olive oil cone. Be sure to check the menu for all the flavor collaboration selections.
Udderly Plain: Vanilla is the #1 ice cream flavor in the United States.
5. Tedi’s Old Tyme Ice Cream | St. Augustine, FL
The country’s oldest continuously inhabited city is rich in history—and ice cream flavors. Stop by Tedi’s Old Tyme Ice Cream for tempting selections like Crazy Cake, Whala Whala Monkey, Kappa Kahlua and more. If you like coffee drinks, quench your thirst with flavors that include blueberry parfait mocha, eastern chai latte, double espresso and cappuccino.
Name-brand soft drinks along with fresh-squeezed lemonade, ice tea, spring water fruit-flavored smoothies and mouthwatering milkshakes and floats are also on the menu.