What is your favorite treat when you travel (mostly) during the warm season? Ice cream, of course! Everyone knows that a visit to Italy is not complete without eating gelato (confession time: I had the best ice cream on Christmas Day in Italy!) but, rest assured, there are plenty other places in the world where your taste buds will jump for joy tasting interesting flavors.
And who gets to taste interesting flavors all the time? Travel bloggers! So I set out to ask some lovely ladies about the best, most interesting (or weird) ice cream they have ever had.
I dare you not to drool!
Ice Cream in North America
Penn State University Creamery, State College, Pennsylvania, USA
Penn State University is home to one of the most prestigious food science programs in the world and since 1865, they’ve been perfecting the science of ice cream! Their milk/cream comes from locally sourced cows and is considered “super premium” ice cream with a butterfat percentage of 14.1%. The creamery is nestled on Penn State’s beautiful campus in Central Pennsylvania (which is surrounded by rolling hills). Since 1892, Penn State has been teaching future ice cream makers how to perfect their craft and their most famous alumni: Ben & Jerry’s (among many others). The line can be long on days with football games, but the portions are huge. Just note that you are NOT allowed to mix ice cream flavors unless you’re a US President (although you can always get a second cup). The flavors change daily with students inventing new flavors weekly, however, there are a few flavors that are permanent, including Peach, Chocolate, Coffee, Cherry, and Vanilla, Roseberry. I’m obsessed with the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor although making a decision won’t be easy. (For those who get obsessed, they ship the ice cream all over the USA!) – Karen from Wanderlustingk / Facebook
Ample Hills Creamery in New York, USA
I really like Ample Hills Creamery because their ice cream is creative, fun, and delicious. Their signature flavor is called ooey gooey, which is vanilla ice cream with cream cheese and house made butter cake. All of their mixins are made from scratch in-house. They make sure to use the best ingredients starting with hormone free milk and cream from grass-fed cows. ‘
They have so many yummy and fun flavors to choose from. I do love the ooey gooey but I want to try the other flavors too. Some of their other regular flavors include snap, mellow pop (which tastes like rice crispy treats), the munchies (pretzel infused), salted crack caramel, and chocolate milk and cookies. They have a sampler which includes six scoops for only $8, which is perfect to share!
The original location is in Brooklyn, New York, which they opened in 2011, but they now have a location inside Gotham West Market and on the High Line in Manhattan. – Anisa from Two Traveling Texans / Facebook
Molly Moon’s in Seattle, USA
As a spoiled European, I love me some Italian gelato. Absolutely nothing surpasses its creaminess, especially if the scoops of Malaga (vanilla cream with rum-dipped raisins) or Tiramisu (biscuits dipped in almond liqueur and coffee surrounded by cream) come in a fresh waffle cone.
However, during my eight years in the US, just when I gave up finding some authentic gelato, I found an ice cream store which remained in my memory – not gelato, but great ice cream at least: Molly Moon’s in Seattle, highly recommended by my cousin as a must-try.
Thanks to its distinct taste and flavors, you can now find this place in eight locations around the city. Each one carries their all-time favorite flavors such as Honey Lavender, Original Strawberry, Maple Walnut (my #1 recommendation), Stumptown Coffee, and more. Seasonal, more daring flavors include Sasquatch, Sour Cream Rhubarb Crisp, RGB Sorbet, and Vegan Scout Mint. To top off your favorite, you can choose from various exquisite ingredients such as candied hazelnuts, lemon curd, or chukar cherries.
Everything that Molly Moon’s produces is homemade, organic, and fair trade, which does, of course, show in a bit of a higher price range, but who doesn’t like to pay more for great quality? – Jennifer from Discovering Legacies /
Eva’s Original Chimneys in Toronto, Canada
Eva’s Original Chimneys is a wildly popular ice cream shop in downtown Toronto, Canada known for its tantalizing Hungarian-style chimney ice cream cones. Videos of the chimneys have gone viral on major media outlets such as INSIDER! The store is named after the grandmother of one of the owners, who grew up in Hungary. As you line up to order, you can watch employees bake chimneys using a traditional open rotisserie grill and enjoy the pleasant smell. Chimneys are pastries that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. At Eva’s there are 16 flavours of chimney ice cream cones to choose from, such as White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Thai Mango Sticky Rice. The chimney cones are coated with different ingredients, such as coconut, cinnamon, or walnuts. At the bottom of each cone, there is a special surprise- a chocolate truffle that will melt in your mouth! Eva’s offers vegan-friendly cones, so everyone can enjoy this wonderful ice cream! – Kat from Memoirs of a Globetrotter / Instagram
Ice Cream in Asia
Macha Green Tea Ice Cream in Oaska, Japan
While wandering around the cherry blossoms at the castle in Osaka, Japan, I started seeing people around me eating a green colored ice cream. I was on a mission to find out what it was and luckily found a small stand outside of the castle! When I typically think of ice cream the last thing I think of is green tea, but sure enough, it turns out everyone was eating Macha green tea ice cream. I knew I had to try it! Let’s just say, while I love green tea, I realized I’m not a fan of green tea flavored sweets. It is, however, very popular in Japan and with visiting foreigners. When you go to Japan, make sure to try it to see for yourself if you like it or not! – Katie from The Traveling Spud / Instagram
Gelato in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
I was surprised to find some truly delicious gelato in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The shop is called Il Tempo Del Gelato. They have a wide array of enticing flavors. I won’t lie, I was there several times over the course of three days. I had to try as many flavors as possible! My favorite was the combination of ginger, lemongrass and dragonfruit. The ginger was clearly made with real ginger…it had that sharp potency to it. The lemongrass was creamy and refreshing all at the same time. The dragonfruit was just sweet enough and had that signature gorgeous color. The wafflecones were incredible too. Basically, I can’t say enough good things about this gelato. I just wish I had more days there to try more flavors! – Cherene from Wandering Redhead / Instagram
Ice Cream in Europe
Gelato in Rome, Italy
Considering gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream, I didn’t really think I could have a “best gelato” store or even city. I was very wrong. I am an ice-cream-aholic; I love ice cream. I am allergic to dairy but I will take the pain if it means I can have that extra scoop of ice cream. Gelato is so much better than ice-cream. The best gelato we have come across is in Rome, specifically at the Old Bridge. Across the street from Vatican City, it was a great way to reward the family for a job well done on the tour. The lines can be long but it was worth it. This was the first gelato I ever tasted in Italy and it set the bar pretty high. The rows of flavours was glorious and the vibrant colours were calling to me. Hubby desperately wanted Mango but the young boy in front of us got the last scoop – but it did look amazing. Every corner we turned, there was another store, selling beautiful gelato. The most I have ever paid was 1.5 euro; anything more is a tourist trap – the prices are high and the quality is low. Walk another few meters and you will find another one (except the Spanish Steps, I don’t know what happened there, but there is one and it is expensive). How do I know Rome is better than anywhere else? Between my husband and I, we have traveled to Italy almost 10 times in the last 3 years – nowhere can you find the same quality, quantity, care and selection, as you can in Rome. – Christine from Tapped Out Travellers / Instagram
Gelato in a brioche in Palermo, Italy
Italian gelato is world famous (and adored for a reason!), however, there is only one place where I have seen gelato served in a brioche! I bought this ice cream from an itinerant seller in a red tuk-tuk – my favorite flavor is definitely pistachio, but all of them are delicious. If you want to try ice cream in a sweet pastry, come to Sicily! Eating your weight in delicious sweets is only one of the fun things to do in Palermo.- Karin from Girl Astray / Facebook
Ijscuypje in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Although you may not expect Amsterdam to have the best creams in the world, there actually are quite some ice cream shops! My favourite place in Amsterdam for ice cream is called Ijscuypje. Back in 2007 the first Ijscuypje shop opened its door just around the corner of my house: I couldn’t be happier! 10 years later, the brand has 14 ice cream shops in the region of Amsterdam. What I like about Ijscuypje is the use of the pure materials. Milk comes from Dutch cows, tap water from Amsterdam and the owners constantly search for the best ingredients.
Ijscuypje is innovative as they keep on testing and adding new flavours. Of course they sell classic ice cream flavours such as chocolate, yoghurt ice, vanilla and pistachio. But what make Ijscuypje unique and the best are the unique Dutch flavours: elderberry and rhubarb, apple pie or ice cream with cookies. That’s where my favourite taste comes in: Kletskoppen ice cream. A thin Belgian crispy cookie made of mainly butter and sugar. – Maartje from Quokka Travel / Instagram
Ice cream in Portugal
I have a monstrous sweet tooth and am always on the lookout for sugary delights whenever I am traveling. This means bakeries, ice-creameries and gelaterias are often on top of my list of must visit places. I visited Portugal two years ago to attend my friends’ wedding and while doing some research on places to grab a bite, I stumbled upon Gelateria Nannarella in Lisbon, considered one of the best in the city to grab a traditional Italian gelato. Made with the freshest of ingredients and handed out by the friendliest of staff, this gelato was an absolute treat on a sultry, hot afternoon in May. – Paroma from Year of the Monkey / Instagram
Black licorice ice cream, Finland
Finns love licorice. And more specifically, Finns love salted licorice, known as salmiakki. You can get just about anything in this unique flavour: chewing gum, cream cheese, donuts, oh… and ice cream!
After having lived in this country for so long, I thought it was about time I’d give it a try. It’s so common every single ice cream stand you’ll come across will have it on sale. I had mine at the Turku market square, from Ratikka, an old tram wagon which has been converted into an ice cream parlour.
So don’t worry about availability, but worry about the flavour. I had always hoped that the taste would be worse in my imagination than in reality. Boy, was I wrong. It’s way worse. How could 6 million Finns enjoy this abomination? At 3 Euros per scoop?! Nonetheless I’m truly glad I tried it, because it is a really characteristic flavour of the country I have come to love so much. – Jacky from The Nomad Epicureans / Facebook
Ice-cream in Girona, Spain
Designed as a window into the cuisine of the 3 Michelin star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca (in Girona ), which also won The World’s Best Restaurant award in 2013, the Roca brothers opened Rocambolesc for the general public to savour freshly churned ice creams made with the finest natural products at a reasonable price (3.30€ each).
They serve six flavours of ice cream that change with the seasons. There are also different toppings you can choose to add if you wish. We tried the Baked Apple, Chocolate and Coconut and Violet Sorbet and they were all good! The Baked Apple Ice Cream tasted like it was the warm baked apple dessert served at a restaurant, just that this was cold and soft.
The ice cream parlour was decorated like it literally jumped out of a fairy tale, mostly inspired by Tim Burton’s film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. We had a feast for both the eyes and our tummy! – Dariel from Where’s Dariel / Instagram
Chin Chin Labs, Camden Town, London
Chin Chin is my favourite ice cream place in London. I particularly like their classics, caramel or chocolate. But they all taste incredible, very creamy texture. And while you enjoy it, you can see how it’s being made, there is no wall to the kitchen. They make liquid nitro ice cream. I don’t understand much of what’s happening there, but it looks cool. The place itself is very small and looks innovative, more like a lab. The staff is friendly and with a good sense of humor. No wonder there is always a queue! – Daniela from The Lost Romanian / Facebook
Künefe with ice cream in Hatay, Turkey
All over Turkey, the city of Hatay (Antakya) is famous not only for its ancient architecture but also for a special cheese dessert named künefe. This “cake” is made of thin strings of cheese coated with sweet sauce, topped with Turkish ice cream and sprinkled with pistachio powder. The sticky consistency of the local ice cream makes it last a tiny bit longer before it melts on the hot cheese – long enough to take a photo at least! While I have tried delicious künefe in Istanbul as well, it is only in Hatay that I have seen it topped with ice cream.- Karin from Girl Astray / Instagram