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Pumpkin ice cream & gelato

Who’s selling it this year and is it good?

The winner so far this year for me is Silberman’s pumpkin ice cream. Great pumpkin taste and spicing.

This is such an easy off of 101 one exit north of the Marin Civic Center (Frietas exit). On the other side of 101 from the Civic Center in the Safeway plaza immediately at the off ramp. Great place.

If you are reading sweet ginger, thanks for the heads up on the pumpkin ice cream and it is as great as you said.

They also make a pumpkin cheesecake which has a nice cheesecake flavor, but no pumpkin taste. The pumpkin colored swirls just taste like caramel, not that it is bad, but is just not pumpkin.

Screaming Mimi’s has some other outstanding flavors, but pumpkin is not one of them. There was no taste of pumpkin or spice.

For the heck of it I tried Baskin Robbins. The ice cream itself was pretty good texture-wise, unfortunately there was little pumpkin flavor and no spice here either.

Sort of ice cream ... the Jack in the Box pumpkin pie spice shake this year was a real disappointment.

In past years Bud’s was my pumpkin ice cream of choice with Marianni’ as a backup. I’m not a Dreyers fan for even one flavor and find the pumpkin just as gluey as all their other ice cream.

Carvel will have pumpkin in two weeks. They also have jack o lantern and ghost Halloween cakes (Fudgy the Whale’s Halloween costume is a ghost).

Here’s a report on Mitchell’s.

No siteings at Bolovo or Downtown Creamery yet.

Saw something pumpkin in the ice cream section of Berkeley Bowl which I thought was called Freestyle, but can’t find info on the web. Anyone tried something with that name at BB?

If ICI is making pumpkin ice cream, someone else is going to have to try it first and be ecstatic. Visiting all the above great ice cream/gelato places makes Ici pale in comparison in both price and flavor.

Any chance Café Fanny might make it?

Anything else?

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  1. Double Rainbow usually makes pumpkin.

    1. The original Swenson's on top of Russian Hill on Hyde. Someone once told me they originated pumpkin ice cream, but I don't know if that's true. It's good, though.

      1. The other night I tried a small taste of the pumpkin gelato at Copa Loca in the Mission. It was really pure pumpkin (no spices added). I didn't like it since it really just tasted like plain pumpkin and nothing else...it wasn't very sweet at all. For some people this might be a plus though.

        Overall I wasn't that impressed with Copa Loca....I thought it was overpriced and not very special. That said, the 'fruits of the forest' gelato I had there was pretty good. I just wished that they could have given a bit more for $1.50 kiddie size. The scoop was very tiny.

        Dave MP

        1. Tucker's Ice Cream in Alameda makes really good pumpkin ice cream!

          They started selling it a few weeks ago. It's available for purchase in half gallon cartons.

          1. Have you tried Mitchell's pumpkin ice cream? That's what we usually buy but I've never done a comparison taste test.

            We use it to make Pumpkin Ice Cream & Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches for Thanksgiving - its quite good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: larochelle

              I tried, but Tay Tah on Solano didn't carry it. Maybe I'll ask them if they will carry it.

              1. re: larochelle

                Ok, I tried Mitchell's today and it just flat out wins as of this post. Better than Silbermann's and Fairfax Scoop.

                I'm not usually a Mitchell's fan, but this was perfect pumpkin ice cream in terms of flavor, color and texture. It is not really spiced but just relies on letting the pumpkin star.

                I had to take the cat to the vet today and knew Marco Polo was somewhere in the area ... never realized till I consulted the Chowhound Guide that Marco Polo was one half block away from the vet.

                No pumpkin at Marco Polo, so had the rum raisin which was good and the best taste of rum raisin I've had today. That being said, it was only equal to, but not better than Haagen Daz rum raisin.

                It is funny but the cat in addition to being a swell car cat ... one of the best pets I've had as far as being a car companion ... the cat is a sort of a gourmet and her taste lined up with mine ice cream wise.

                Marco Polo didn't impress her too much. She ate some but had that look on her face that said 'don't you have anything better than this?"

                We moved onto Joe's which really had an abysmal pumpkin ice cream ... while pumpkin-colored it tasted like Brach's cinnamon candies. I took a few bites and the cat took one bite and tried to cover it up like something in her litter box. I agreed. I tossed both our dishes.

                The taste of rum raisin I had at Joes wasn't very appealing either since it was way too sweet.

                The we got to Mitchells and the cat went crazy over the pumpkin ice cream. She ate half my portion and was looking for more. The rum raisin taste I had was only ok and not as good as Marco Polo' rum raisin.

                As far as another food experience, the cat was also liked her half of Nick's Crispy taco as much as I did. She didn't bother with the cabbage but devoured everything else. That is one tasty fish taco.

                It was a rough day at the vet. We both needed some comfort food.

              2. I tasted a sample of pumpking gelato at Holy Gelato in SF this afternoon. It was mostly sugary and lacked pie spices. Don't know who made it, the possibilities are Classico, Latest Scoop, or Maggie Mudd who supply the place.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  That's the exact description of so many failed pumpkin ice creams ... mostly sugary.

                  Thanks, Melanie.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I concur that their pumpkin gelato was mostly sugary, however when mixed with the cinnamon gelato, makes for a fabulous combination much greater than the sum of its parts.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Hmm, it is Latest Scoop. They also sell it at Alameda Natural Grocery, and Figaro Gelato in the Emeryville shopping center ... too bad, I like most Latest Scoop especially the spumoni and was sort of actively trying to track down the gelato.

                    2. is there such a thing as pumpkin sorbet? i am now lactose intolerant, but i used to love swensen's pumpkin. mitchell's was definetely too sweet.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: artemis

                        I don't know, but I was hoping someone would chime in.

                        1. re: artemis

                          I've never seen pumpkin sorbet; I imagine that pumpkin needs some egg yolk and dairy to round it out. If you made it at home, you could probably sub in some soy milk. Beauty of homemade is that you have complete control of sweetness and spicing since pumpkin spicing preferences seem to wildly vary.

                          Laloo's uses goat's milk and is supposedly easier for lactose-intolerant folks to digest (not sure if it's true). They advertise a pumpkin spice flavor on their website; has anyone tried this particular flavor from Laloo's and know where to find it in the Bay Area?

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            Laloo's sells the pumpkin at the Temescal Sunday Farmer's market. Haven't tried it yet though. It's hard to commit to that $7 pint without a taste.

                          2. re: artemis

                            Gelateria Naia made a Pumpkin Soy last year that was truely delicious. I haven't been by lately to see if they have it. My girlfriend, who usually does the posting on this board, loved their regular pumpkin gelato.

                            1. re: artemis

                              Yeah in Mexico they certainly have Pumpkin sorbet, its pretty good without any dairy or eggs etc., but not as good as Mamey.

                            2. I had the pumpkin ice cream at Lapperts on Bridgeway in Sausalito last weekend. Had a good but mild pumpkin flavor, strong spices and a good texture. I'd definitely go back for it, though I would have liked a stronger pumpkin flavor. In past years, I have really enjoyed the version put out by McConnell's, which is from Santa Barbara and which Berkeley Bowl sometimes carries in the Bay Area. It is less spicy and more "pumpkiny" than Lapperts.

                              1. Sketch says that they'll have pumpkin ice cream in about a week and a half. Ici will have pumpkin candied pecan tomorrow, so if I'm feeling pumpkiny after work, I might stop in and sample some for the team.

                                1. I love pumpkin ice cream. In the past week I've had it from:

                                  1) Rite Aid (nostalgic for the days of the nickel scoop, or a triple scoop for 15 cents when I was wee) but still pretty good
                                  2) Pints of Double Rainbow -- heavy on the spice but still good
                                  3) Naia - a cup with 1/2 pumpkin 1/2 maple. Definitely my favorite so far.

                                  1. I'm so glad you liked it! I was just in that area today & in a hurry so I didn't get a chance to stop in- but definitely was thinking about it. But be sure to go back for a hot fudge sundae!

                                    1. I still love Silbermann's, but Farifax Scoop so far is the best I've tried to date.

                                      Fairfax Scoop – Green Gulch pure pumpkin pleasure

                                      I liked Three Twins non-sweet interesting flavors, I might place it in fourth place behind my memories of Bud's.

                                      San Rafael - Three Twins Ice Cream – Japanese pumpkin pie, butternut squash, kugel & possibly cranberry

                                      1. I had a great pumpkin ice cream at Rick's in Palo Alto a couple weeks ago. As with a lot of the pumpkin ice creams and pies that I like, there's a nice nutmeg flavor here too.


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mdg

                                          I'm a fan of Rick's pumpkin ice cream, too. In general, I think Rick's fruit ice creams (or rather, fruit and vegetable, if you include pumpkin!) are pretty much uniformly tasty.

                                        2. Sketch has pumpkin now, I had some today. It's kabocha pumpkin, and it was great, lots of good pumpkin flavor, and not too sweet.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                            Is Kabocha a squash or a pumpkin? I think we can assume that not all squash are pumpkins, but are all pumpkins squash. Mr. Sketch said he called his ice cream kabocha pumpkin because no one would buy squash ice cream.

                                            Anyway, it tasted moreorless like traditional pumpkin ice cream. It was good but didn't elicit a delighted hmmmm. I think I enjoyed the HD Black Walnut I had after dinner more.

                                            1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                              Interesting fact:

                                              When most people think of pumpkin, they think of pumpkin pie, which is usually made with canned "pumpkin." Canned "pumpkin" almost never contains actual pumpkin. It is usually a sweet squash, often kusha, sometimes kabocha. So, the psychological association most people have with the taste of pumpkin, is actually the taste of "pumpkin", or squash. If you had an ice cream made with actual pumpkin, it wouldn't taste like "pumpkin" ice cream.

                                              When Mrs. Mousse and I were first dating we spent Halloween making pumpkin pies from scratch. We made a bunch with sugar pie pumpkins and another bunch with kusha. The kusha pie tasted much more like "pumpkin" pie than the pumpkin pie did!

                                              I tried Sketch's Kabocha last night and I loved it; pure "pumpkin" flavor, nice blend of spices. It was a perfect pair with the fresh spearmint.

                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                I had the Kabocha on Friday with the burnt caramel -- excellent! Very "pumpkin".

                                                1. re: The Dive

                                                  I enjoyed the burnt caramel on Saturday. The Kabocha was good but I enjoy my pumpkin ice cream with more of a pumpkiny taste.

                                          2. I had a Berkeley Farms Pumpkin ice cream shake at Val's in Hayward. It was a little on the sweet side but certainly seasonable. The shake was huge, more that I could drink.

                                            1. Taylor Refresher's at the Ferry Bldg had a pumpkin milkshake when I went last Fri 10/20/06. I didn't try it because it was $4.99, think I remember they use Double Rainbow ice cream.

                                              1. Taylor Refresher must be using Double Rainbow vanilla with pumpkin flavor because the pumpkin is pumpkin pie with big pieces of crust in it. This was so close to greatness and was ruined by oversweetness. Double Rainbow has the deepest color like a baked pumpkin pie, excellent pie, nice texture but the sugar overwhelmed any pumpkin taste in there.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Double Rainbow must be making two versions, then, because what I bought at TJ's was "Perfectly Pumpkin" (not "pumpkin pie") and didn't have any chunks of anything in it.

                                                2. I wonder whether Tango Gelato on Fillmore in SF has it? Has anyone looked?

                                                  1. Kabocha is a cross of a pumpkin and a squash (Cucurbita maxima and Cucurbita moschata).

                                                    Butternut squash is often the main ingredient in canned "pumpkin". I'm not finding much about kusha squash (aka kusa) other than that it is a thin-skinned summer squash similar to zucchini and is light green or white in color. Morton, is this what you're referring to?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                      I didn't know that about "pumpkin." Next thing you're going to tell me that there is no Santa Claus! I had never heard of Kabocha referred to as a pumpkin and thought I had only had it in savory concoctions.

                                                    2. Have you tried The Olde San Francisco Creamery in Walnut Creek on Locust Street? They have a really good Pumpkin Pie ice cream as a special right now.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: girls inc

                                                        Thanks. I'll give that a try if I get to Walnut Creek.

                                                        Adding to my list is Carvel's which was surprisingly good with pure pumpkin flavor, little spice and almost a soft-serve texture and creaminess. It was better than my memory of Bud's which I like.

                                                        Not that I haven't tried to buy a single scoop of Bud's. I struck out at the four nearby shops that sell it ... the two on Solano Ave, the donut shop on 23rd & Cutting and the Kensington Ice Creams shop where I finally gave up because the day I chose to stop by it was closed with a handwritten sign that said sorry for the inconvenience of being closed on a day they were usually open.

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          Bud's is now just a brand name used by Berkeley Farms. Look for it in supermarkets.

                                                      2. If you are still doing pumpkin ice cream research...the new Faletti's (SF Broderick between Fell and Oak..behind the DMV) has some from Marianne's which is made in Santa Cruz...haven't tried it so I can't offer an opinion....

                                                        1. Tried Ici's Pumpkin Caramel Swirl last week and was not overly thrilled. However, they apparently have taken certain criticisms to heart as the portions were considerably larger than my first taste. The flavors were actually pretty good, with the pumpkin not overwhelmed with the usual nutmeg overload of other spiced pumpkin versions and the caramel was not overly sweet. The real issue seems to be an ongoing one of consistency of the ice cream. The mouth feel is just not quite smooth enough. Every flavor I've tried, has been pretty good, but with the same slight gritty/icy characteristic. I really want them to succeed since they're just about at the goal line, but Sketch still trumps them in my mental scorecard.

                                                          BTW, it does my heart good to see that there are so many fans of pumpkin ice cream. I've always like it, but been the dissenting opinion in the family. Thanks to Chowhound, I found the support group to continue on :)

                                                          a sante,

                                                          1. I tried Milano's zucca sorbetto last night. Pure butternut squash, no pie spices, not even any dairy. If you like intense squash flavors, check it out.

                                                            1. Had Ciao Bella's pumpkin gelato last week at the Ferry Building. Tastes like fresh pumpkin, not canned, with just a bit of spice and barely sweet. Intense and clean, the best flavor I've had there in a long time.

                                                              1. Stopped at Bi-Rite Creamery yesterday for the first of many to come punches on my scoop card. I loved the tastes of salted caramel and the spicy chai milk chocolate. I was also taken with the pumpkin. The people behind the counter were smiling and generous with samples.

                                                                The featured seasonal sundae has gingerbread, pumpkin ice cream, candied pumpkin seeds, caramel sauce, and whipped cream, so I went with that. The two scoops of ice cream seemed bigger than what I saw going out in plain cups or cones. Loved the candied pumpkin seeds, almost like a nutty brittle. I think the caramel sauce was fine, but it was such a scant drizzle, I could never get more than a little scrape of it to taste, let alone a puddle. Beautiful, luscious whipped cream. Low spot was the gingerbread base, nothing wrong with it, just not gingery at all and more like a generic, moist spice cake.

                                                                Image of Pumpkin and gingerbread seasonal sundae -