The scene of the crime - best ice cream shops?
Okay, I have to admit it - my foodieness stems from my love of dessert and ice cream, and I can't get enough of the stuff. I have been known to plan my vacations around it, and I'll even admit to ice cream being a factor in where I went to school. Hell, I've dragged friends on trips to cities with good ice cream without them knowing it, until we landed at my pre-mediated destination and the "a-ha!" look alighted on their faces. I could blame the ice cream, but I'm the criminal here.
So I want to find out what my next target should be. Tell me what ice cream store you think is the best in the United States (hey, let's even include Hawaii and Alaska.) What ice cream shops can't escape from your memories? I travel a lot, so who knows where I might go. Plus this will be a handy dandy primer for other ice-seeking travelers like myself.
I'll start with Capogiro in Philly and Kopp's in Milwaukee. Although these are 2 very different types of ice cream, and purists would say neither is actually ice cream, these 2 are what I think of when I think of the ideal ice cream - but at two different ends of the spectrum.
At one end, Capogiro is heaven spun into gelato - aromatic vanilla and the most delectable fruits turned into luxury delicacies using Lancaster dairy. Flavors like blood orange, pomegranate, bacio, dulce de leche that have bouquets of odors, tastes. Each bite is like sipping a fine wine, heady and expensive, popping with the bright precision of now and the memories of the past and the day the fruit was harvested.
On the other end, Kopp's is rich, heavy and fatty and it coats my tongue like the sweetest form of suffocation. It also uses top end ingredients, but the smoothness of the soft custard is one very fulfilling meal (skip the forgettable burgers - all you want is sweet rich creamy custard, and a nearby place to pass out afterwards, diabetics be warned.)
If these were fine fabrics, I would say that Capogiro is silk and Kopps is cashmere. So what ice cream shops would you name as unforgettable culprits? Tell me - I want to visit the scene of the crime and leave no evidence.
I would the very best are Jeni's in Columbus, Young's dairy farm in Yellow Springs, and Hartzlers organic, and Woo City in Wooster. There is a place in Cinci that I am leaving out, but I am sure someone will chime in.
I live in the Wooster area, and have to admit that I prefer Hartzlers over Woo City.
Graeters is the place in Cincinnati. Excellent, creamy ice cream in lots of flavors. Classic American style. There are several locations in the area.
Another option would be to visit the land grant colleges with dairies--Penn State, Washington State and Michigan State all have creameries with good reputations.
Does anyone remember the name of that homemade ice cream place in downtown Jersey City? It's walking distance from Grove Street PATH station. Anyway, the place is fabulous.
I think a trip to the SF Bay Area is in order. At a minimum, you could try Sketch and Ici in Berkeley, and Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco. There are many more fine ice cream choices, as well.
I'm going to charitably assume that if AK and HI are fair game, then so is Canada. But first: If you like Kopp's you have GOT to head west to Madison, which is a great place in all respects but especially for Michael's Frozen Custard.
Canada is relevant because the gelato capital of North America is Vancouver, and among the many options there the best IMHO is Mondo Gelato, especially their Denman St location.
The Candy Cone in White lake NY for decadent Frozen Custard
Hoffman's in Spring Lake NJ- sublimely creamy true flavored ice cream
Bumgarts in Englewood NJ just because they have the best coffee ice cream...Ever
(And they have to be the only old fashioned Ice cream parlor/Asian restaurant!)
Candy Cone 3407 State Route 55, White Lake (845) 583-6232 ...