The day we have been waiting for has arrived – the first day of summer. With cold winters and unpredictable springs, it is no wonder we are in countdown mode until the warm and reliable weather arrives in the northern hemisphere. As the days grow longer and the patios start opening, many of us need a pick-me-up in the afternoon between meetings or while out exploring. Besides water, ice cream and variations of this age-old dessert tops the charts in popularity and is usually the treat of choice in the hot weather. It has become so popular that Good Humor trucks circle the streets to attract school children (c’mon, you have heard their music playing miles away) and theatres now include it on their refreshment menus.
The evolution of ice cream is quite incredible. Dating back to the 5th century BC, Ancient Greeks used to indulge in frozen snow mixed with honey for a sweet ending to a delicious meal. Since then, cultures have adapted the dish to suit various tastes and traditions. China created their own version of the sweet by freezing milk and rice to create a tartufo-textured dessert, while the British created a recipe back in 1718 which we have adapted over the centuries to what we now enjoy today.
The British created their variation of ice cream by taking a tin pot of cream, mixing it with sugar, eggs and a flavouring of choice, letting it freeze and thicken. Sound familiar? After the British recipe was tried, tested and widely replicated, variations were developing, allowing for the creativity floodgates to burst. By the 19th century, chefs began experimenting with this basic recipe and expanded the variety with such delights as floats and sundaes.
The ice cream craze expanded worldwide in the 20th century once it was possible to freeze food at home. The boom followed with keen entrepreneurs taking this trendy treat and opening parlours worldwide. The first two companies were Howard Johnson, a hotel chain bringing the traditional family values to the dinner table and advertised an impressive selection of 28 flavours, and Baskin Robbins who went one step further with 31 flavours, and now, still scooping today, boasts the development of 1000 varieties.
Later in the 20th century soft-serve was developed. Shops including Dairy Queen and McDonald’s introduced the soft ice cream swirl cones to customers as an alternative to the scooped texture.
As history indicates, everything in life evolves and we are constantly attempting to improve the current market. As summer is in full swing, I have compiled a list of 10 incredibly satisfying ice cream parlours, based on personal experience and reputation, that are worth a stop on any foodie’s itinerary:
1. Slickers Ice Cream – Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada
Visitors of this parlour rave that this ice cream is hard to beat. Chefs make the ice cream from scratch in small batches with local ingredients. With any ice cream parlour nowadays, in order to compete a large flavour selection is necessary, and Slicker’s doesn’t disappoint with a large variety. Local favourites include burnt marshmallow and apple pie.
2. Scrumdiddly’s – Dublin, Ireland
If a sundae is your indulgence of choice, Scrumdiddly’s is the place for you. It is situated slightly outside the city centre, and for €2.50 your sundae will include two hearty scoops, your chosen filling from their varieties (chocolate bars, cake pieces, candies…possibilities possibilities!)
3. Morelli’s – Broadstairs Kent, England
A family run business since 1932, Morelli’s has remained a favourite for gelato and unique ice cream flavours for decades.Chef Giuseppe Morelli is world renowned and has been featured on BBC’s “Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites,” They have expanded to London, accross the UK, The U.A.E, Bahrain, Malaysia, and the Philippines, but the original location on the boardwalk in Kent will delight any visitor.
4. The Creamery – Capetown, South Africa
The creamery has prided themselves in making delicious artisan-quality ice cream in Capetown since 2011. They are continuously developing new flavours and are proud of their unique hot cross bun flavour.
5. Gelato and Coffee Lab – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rated the #1 eatery in Siem Reap on Trip Advisor, this little gem of a parlour boasts delicious gelato and a variety of flavours including the fan favourite coconut.
6. Four Winters – Amman Jordan
Truly a magical experience, this ice cream parlour presents customers with a masterpiece of sublime flavours since 2013. The Jordanian company has now expanded to London, England and serving up ice cream using the latest of technologies.
7. Serendipity Cafe – New York City, USA
This cafe became a household name and major attraction in New York after being featured in the blockbuster film of the same name, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Visitors flock to the cafe and order their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate, big enough to feed three guests.
8. Ristoro Della Salute – Rome, Italy
With the Colosseum as your backdrop, stop in to this patio restaurant and have a gelato. This little eatery has delicious flavours and serves your dessert in a cute touristy Colosseum cup. Delizioso!
9. Gelato Messina – Sydney, Australia
Boasting revolutionary ice cream flavours and dessert offerings, Gelato Messina has been the Achilles heel of every dieter’s sweet tooth since 2002. Visit their parlours across Australia to delve into a gelato cake shaped like a Super Mario Mushroom, one of five weekly flavours, or to learn their techniques at one of their classes.
10. Sorveteria – São Sebastião Brazil
Considered an ice cream haven in South America, Sorveteria has been serving delectable frozen treats since 1947. Family run, Sorveteria has been delighting customers with its original 61 flavours since its grand opening. Visit today and enjoy a delicious sundae complete with acai ice cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, and hot fudge.
This list is not exhaustive and thousands of other shops will cross every nomad’s path as each travels the world. Drop me a line and tell me about the ice cream artisan/parlour you discovered and why it left a lasting memory!
Stay cool out there!