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Best Ice Creams in New York

With summer in full swing, sweets of the frozen sorts are in high demand. While we’d eat ice cream all year round, this is the perfect season to discover new shops, trucks and flavors. Wasabi or Guinness gelato anyone? Leave it to il laboratorio del gelato to push the flavor envelope. Shake Shack’s custard calendar calls for heirloom tomato come Sunday and Blueberry Coffee Cake every Friday. With so many gelato labs, ice cream parlors, and sorbet concoctions to consider, we suggest getting a move on and fast. Afterall, it’s August. There’s goat’s milk soft serve at Victory Garden, gelato with an American twist at Stellina and alcohol-spiked ice cream the likes of chocolate whisky at Screme. And we’re just getting started.

Address: 2030 Broadway, btwn 69th & 70th Sts.
Phone: (212) 362-2111
With 61 branches worldwide, Screme knows a thing or two about gelato. There are 5000 flavors to boot. (That’s right, 5000!) The selection is constantly changing, ranging from classic to curious and even alcohol-infused.  If you’ve never had Chocolate Whiskey, Bloody Mary, Vodka Orange, or Margarita gelato, now’s your chance.  There’s more, including Laffy Taffy, Nutella Toffee, Cookies and Screme, and Capt’n Crunch.   No matter what you choose, opt for your gelato over a hot Belgian waffle.

Address: 95 Allen St., btwn Delancey & Broome St.
Phone: (212) 274-9555
Don’t expect to find traditional Italian gelato at Stellina. This is a hybrid of the best of both worlds — Italian gelato and American ice cream.  What that means is American flavors with a creamy gelato texture.  Think Coconut Straciatella, Raspberry Buttermilk and Peaches & Cream. One of our favorites is aptly  named, A Bee Named Elvis with honey gelato, crunchy peanut nougat and banana caramel.  If you’re craving salty and sweet, try the Chunky Sorella, composed of salted caramel gelato, chocolate-covered pretzels and fudge swirl.  There’s a new flavor every month.  This month there’s two flavors: Butterscotch Gelato with cookie dough and Chocolate Mint.

Phone: (347) 252-6660
In case you haven’t noticed, ice cream trucks have come a long, long way.  Don’t get us wrong: We love the Mister Softee and the Good Humor Man, but the Coolhaus ice cream truck pretty much blows them away.   Where to begin?  There’s Nutella Almond, Gingerbread and Chocolate Chipotle ice cream with ancho chilies and cayenne.  For summer, they’ve dreamt up a creamy strawberry jalapeno gelato.   If you’re really up for a new experience, try the Fried Chicken and Waffles. (Yes, really.)   Coolhaus’s Chicken and Waffles comes with brown butter maple ice cream, maple candied chicken skins and caramelized waffles — a curious combination that happens to be delicious.

The Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
Address: 513 Henry St. btwn Sackett & Union Sts. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 522-6260
Nostalgia runs deep at this adorable family owned business in Carroll Gardens.  Tucked inside a restored pharmacy, the “farm” (as its known by locals) has played a major role in reviving the American soda fountain, right down to the classic ice cream floats.  What’s more classic than an ice cream float?  Farmacy offers 14 float flavors, including the Dalmatian with lemon soda and mint chocolate chip ice cream and the Pink Poodle, a blend of hibiscus soda and vanilla ice cream. There’s stellar ice cream sundaes, too. One spoonful of the “Mr. Potato Head” yields vanilla ice cream,housemade peanut butter, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and North Fork potato chips. There’s even egg creams! For those of you who’ve never had an ice-cold egg cream…well, you’ve got to experience for yourself.

Victory Garden
Address: 31 Carmine St. btwn Bleeker and Bedford Sts.
Phone:(212) 206-7273
Soft serve and summertime go hand and hand.  But just when we thought we’d seen it all, Victory Garden brings something new to the table with their Goat’s Milk Soft Serve.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but our first bite has us hooked.  It’s tangy, creamy and incredibly easy to digest.  Year-round,  we love the salted caramel soft serve, but right now we’re also obsessed with Victory Garden’s rose hibiscus sorbet. Toppings include housemade marshmallows, chia seeds, cake crumbs, wheat germ, pistachios, and more.

Shake Shack
Address: SE corner Madison Square Park, near 23rd St.; 366 Columbus Ave, at 77th St.
Phone: (212) 899-6600
The lines at the Shake Shack are notoriously long this time of year, but well worth the wait, particularly when it comes to the custard.  You can never go wrong with the Concrete, essentially ice cream with the works –  a blend of fudge, chocolate chunks, cookie dough and all other kinds of candy mix-ins.  Perhaps the best strategy is to eat according to the Custard Calendar.  There’s a different flavor for every day of the week and they calendar changes monthly.  For August, you’ll find Caramelized Peach, Derby Walnut Pie, Blueberry Lime, Boston Crème Pie, Beer Nuts, Cherry Chip, and Sweet Corn.

L’arte del gelato
Address: 75 7th Ave. at Barrow St.
Phone: (212) 924-0803
Mid-day affogato anyone?  Forget Starbuck’s and head to L’Arte del gelato for an afternoon espresso with vanilla gelato and whipped cream.   L’arte del gelato raises the bar on the fine art of gelato making with daily batches of handmade gelato and sorbetto, made with the freshest ingredients – we’re talking vanilla straight from the pod – and no artificial or processed ingredients.  They make a killer fig, chocolate raspberry gelato , and olive oil gelato.  If you’re craving a gelato sandwich, you can get a flavor of your choosing tucked into a brioche roll.

il laboratorio del gelato
Address: 188 Ludlow St. at Houston
Phone: (212) 343-9922
How often do you find a gelato lab in New York, nevermind one that open to collaborating and creating flavors for chefs and restaurants?  Or one with over 200 flavors, for that matter?  The result is an impressive list of flavors that rotate daily, including Guinness, rose petal, cheddar cheese, sweet potato, cashew, Mexican cinnamon, peppercorn, sage and wasabi.  There are even five varieties of fig flavors. Rice, sour cream, and butternut squash gelato… we could keep going.  But that’s not all. The sorbet line-up is equally enticing with tangerine, yuzu, champagne, celery, and more.  Pick up a few for your next picnic in the park.

Address: 233 Bleecker St. at Carmine St. 
Phone: (212) 206-1738
This time of year, it’s typical to find a line trailing down the block of locals and tourists alike, waiting for their gelato fix.  Plenty of gelaterias boast quality ingredients, but at Grom, the strawberries, melons, apricots, peaches, raspberries, and figs are grown on their Italian vineyard. It’s pretty hard to top that.  And the flavors taste just like real fruit. Year-round, Grom offers 20 flavors, with staples like chocolate, cream, nougat, hazelnut, and pistachio. Right now, we’ve got our eye on the flavor of the month, peach sorbet with amaretti and chocolate chips.

Address: 5 Carmine Street at 6th Ave.
Phone: (212) 255-4874
Come this time of year, we start to wish we were in Italy, eating prosciutto, freshly spun mozzarella, and of course, gelato.  When you find yourself grounded in New York for the summer, you can always take solace in the gelato popsicles at Popbar. Their gelato and sorbetto come on a popsicle stick and are made daily with fresh fruits and ingredients sourced directly from Italy.  Even better, all of the pops are kosher, preservative-free and gluten-free. Our favorites include pistachio, vanilla, coconut and mint.  As for sorbettos, there’s apricot, kiwi, lemon and grapefruit.  But we’re most partial to the “myPop option”, which allows you to mix-and-match flavors and “poppings” — their version of toppings.  I like chocolate-covered mixed berry sorbetto and banana gelato.

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