If you’ve never met someone whose freezer has more ice cream than actual food, then welcome to meeting ME! Everyone who knows me knows my love for ice cream, so here’s a post dedicated to my favorite dessert.
Here are some of my all-time favorite Fancy Ice Creams…
Jeni’s Ice Cream—My love for Jeni’s goes back to six years ago when she opened her first Los Angeles shop, and we took a trip to visit her. When you hear Jeni talk about ice cream (in person, on social media, or in interviews), she sounds like the ultimate mad scientist of ice cream. She’s so passionate about ingredients, how ice cream flavors are made, and she always stays true to herself. My only regret is that all of my favorite flavors are seasonal and don’t last all year! Of the on-going flavors, I also love Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks and Texas Sheet Cake (which is dairy-free).
Wanderlust Creamery— I love this brand because they specialize in Asian-inspired flavors and unique pairings. Wanderlust always has unique flavor twists on the classics. My favorites are: Sticky Rice and Mango and Vietnamese Rocky Road.
Van Leeuwan—I used to visit the Van Leeuwan ice cream truck in NYC back in the day. They were one of the first brands to focus on vegan options before vegan ice creams were more readily available. They recently launched ice cream bars, and I am OBSESSED. My favorite is the Triple Chocolate Swirl (made with Oat Milk so it’s vegan!).
Carmela (not shown)—Carmela was probably the first fancy ice cream shop I visited after moving to LA in 2010. They used to have a truck at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, and it was such a treat for me to get when I would visit the market. My favorite flavors include their Salted Caramel and Frozen Grape Sorbet.
Salt and Straw—Salt & Straw works with local makers, farmers, and chefs and on any given day, they are scooping at least 36 flavors. I first encountered Salt & Straw when we were invited to their shop to try a special Thanksgiving collection which included a Thanksgiving Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and a bunch of other experimental (but surprisingly good!) flavors. Their seasonal flavors change regularly but one of my favorites is Salted Caramel Cupcake (one of their OG flavors).
McConnell’s— McConnell’s is one of the first luxury ice cream brands, and it’s a family brand on its third generation! Compared to some of the others listed here, you can find more classics amongst their flavors. My favorites by them include: Turkish Coffee and Salted Caramel Chip.
Malai (not shown)—Malai means cream of the crop, and includes South Asian ingredients, and aromatic spices from the founder’s upbringing. I’ve tried a few flavors including Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds (which I didn’t expect to like and LOVED it) and Masala Chai (which is a favorite!).
Ben and Jerry‘s—Ben and Jerry’s is probably the first of the fancy ice creams that I ever knew about and became obsessed with when I was a kid. You can now find them everywhere in their own shops, in grocery stores, and convenience stores and are an easy to-go when you want fun ice cream. (Plus, they do great work and have an unmatched commitment to social justice. Ice cream never felt more guilt-free!)
If any of these are not available at your local grocery store, many of them can be shipped. They make great birthday or “I miss you” gifts for friends and family you may not have seen in the past year. There is no better way to say, “Can’t wait to see you when this pandemic is over!”
If there are any others you love, please share here. I’ll keep adding to this list as I try more!