As a traveler, I've always been delighted by age-old traditions that take place here in…
Nothing says vacation like stopping for ice cream.
Grabbing ice cream is always a fun activity when you travel, and every city has its own iconic scoop shop. The good news? Most of these places aren’t seasonal, so even if you’re traveling in the dead of winter, you can still get your frozen treat fix!
Frozen Custard in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is known for its dairy, and when it comes to ice cream, it’s all about frozen custard. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically ice cream made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. Its thick, creamy texture makes it stand apart from regular ol’ ice cream… not that I’m not a fan of both! Wisconsinites argue over who does the best-frozen custard: Kopp’s, Leons, or Gilles. I say you really can’t go wrong with any of them!
Award-Winning Ice Cream.
Voted Food & Wine’s Best Ice Cream in Minneapolis, Bebe Zito Ice Cream offers a variety of unique flavors and gluten-free and vegan options. Bebe Zito is a small batch ice cream company that handcrafts its high-quality ingredients with mix-ins that take you on what they call “a flavor vacation.” A treat indeed!
A Taste of Nostalgia in Chicago
I’m all for an innovative cone, but sometimes I just crave that old-school ice cream parlor vibe. That’s exactly what you do at Margie’s Candies in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Open since 1921, you’ll find tons of knickknacks, memorabilia, and mustard yellow booths perfect for splitting a classic hot fudge sundae with your favorite person. Fun fact: the Beatles enjoyed a sugar rush here, and if it was good enough for John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s good enough for me.
Portlandia-style Ice Cream in… Portlandia!
Dill Pickle Sorbet? Green Fennel and Maple? Avocado and Strawberry Sherbert? Flavors like this could only work in an episode of Portlandia… or so you’d think! Portland-based ice cream shop Salt & Straw dreams up the most insane flavor combinations, and their loyal customer base lines up to try whatever they’re currently scooping. Once you reach the front of the line, you’ll get patient one-on-one service. Try as many flavors as you’d like before committing to a cone. The best part: there’s no rush. Think of it like a wine tasting, but with more calories. And there’s great news for California residents: Salt and Straw operates three locations in LA!
Cool Off in New Orleans
The Big Easy is known for its Mardi Gras, delicious Cajun food, jazz, voodoo, and epically hot and humid weather. That last one can be brutal, but NOLA residents have been beating the heat with a regional frozen treat since 1939. Hansen’s Sno Bliz, still owned and operated by the Hansen family, creates incredible snow-balls (or sno-balls… you pick). Don’t confuse these with those chunky-ice and syrupy concoctions of your youth; the sno-ball is made with shaved ice, which renders a light, fluffy texture. For an old-school sno-ball experience, try the root beer (founder Ernest Hansen’s signature flavor). A little more adventurous? Hansen’s granddaughter and current owner Ashley has created a few flavors of her own—like ginger-cayenne.
Get Schooled in Cape Cod
If you have a sweet tooth and are visiting Cape Cod, there’s no better place to indulge than Sundae School. A seasonal staple since the 1970s, this quaint shop was opened by teachers who wanted to summer on the cape. It was so successful that two years later, they ended up moving to Cape Cod full-time. Not only does this place serve delicious ice cream and sundaes, but it’s also one of those places that makes it a point to hire cheery, ambitious high school and college students.
Keep Ice Cream Weird in Austin
With offerings like Mexican vanilla, coffee, and dark chocolate, it’s not really the flavors that make Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin, Texas staple weird. It’s their ice cream throwing. Here’s the deal: you may opt to have their ice cream scoopers throw ice cream to you. If you catch it in a bowl, it’s free. If not, you pay for it. I say if you have good hand-eye coordination, go for it! Personally, I prefer mine handed to me without bits of dirt and dust. Try one of their cool combos that mix ice cream with all sorts of naughty treats—like brownies, hot fudge, candy bars, and more.
Annabelle’s Natural Ice cream
My hometown ice cream shop! Annabelle’s has been open since 1982. This seacoast gem churns out creamy, 16 percent butter fat ice creams, frozen yogurts, and sorbets. Their Mint Summer’s Night Dream (mint chocolate ice cream with dark and white chocolate chunks) is excellent, but for a little local flavor, try the Pure Maple Walnut, made with New Hampshire Maple syrup and California walnuts.
If I’ve churned your cold cream by not listing your favorite: give me the scoop on the ice cream shop you’re devoted to, AND PLEASE LIST FLAVORS (I have no problem licking my wounds).
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