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Fosselman's Ice Cream

I'm going to travel to LA, and I'm going to make a special trip to SGV for dim sum. While I'm there, I'll stop by Fosselman's Ice Cream since I've heard so much about it. Is it really one of the best places for ice cream, or is it one of those places that are popular because its already popular?

When you think Fosselman Ice Cream, what flavor or speciality do you think of? What are they famous for, or better yet, what's the best thing I can order? Is it one of their seasonal flavors like peach or one of their asian flavors like taro or a classic like vanilla?

I know I won't get a lot of chances to try Fosselman's so I want to make sure that while I'm there, I get their best stuff.

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  1. I especially like their Asian flavors: Taro, lychee, and ube. The green tea is also fantabulous.

    They make especially great milkshakes. My usual vice of choice when I visit Fosselman's is their lychee milkshake.

    1 Reply
    1. I love Fosselman's, but I usually don't tell out-of-town visitors to make a trip there. It's great ice cream, but I feel like a lot of the country has a local ice cream parlor that does that region's favorite style. I'd rather take someone to Carmela or Scoops. The quality of the ice cream itself isn't as good, imo, but the flavors are a little more interesting... especially for CHers.

      But if you're going to Fosselman's, some of the different stuff that I find good are the watermelon sorbet, lychee ice cream, and taro. I definitely wouldn't just get the vanilla. It's delicious, but it's still vanilla ice cream.

      2 Replies
      1. re: andytseng

        I recently did a mini-ice cream crawl with 4 friends (one from out of town)... we hit Carmela and then headed to Fosselman's. While there were aspects to be appreciated about Carmela (organic, intense flavors, artisan), Fosselman's overwhelmingly won as the favored location. The location certainly isn't much to speak of - but the ice cream is outstanding. They had also done Bulgarini the night before - but we didn't include it in our voting, as I consider gelato a totally different category.

        1. re: andytseng

          But, how many of those local ice cream parlors in this country will have all those asian flavors for ice cream?

        2. We love almost all of their flavors; have not tried the lychee or green tea, but the ube and taro are stunning. Their high fat content can blunt some fruit flavors, which is why I'm not crazy about their peach. It's very good, but peach to me requires a bit more acidity than comes through here.

          This is a business that's been run by several generations of one family. One of the charms of going to their store for the ice cream is there's usually a family member behind the counter. And it's a cool little place, though it can get really packed in there sometimes.

            1. I'd characterize Fosselman's as a sentimental favorite. It has authentic old school patina, but it's best flavors are more recent ones like ube and taro. Personally I prefer Bulgarini (in Altadena) and Carmela (in Pasadena) over Fosselman's, but they're a piece of SGV history and while maybe not destination worthy, not disappointing either.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Peripatetic

                Gelato is not ice cream.

                My favorite gelato in that area is Bulgarini, AND my favorite ice cream in that area is Fosselman's.

                1. re: J.L.

                  "Gelato is not ice cream,"

                  Strictly speaking, you're correct, but it's hard not to notice the similarities. :)

                  I may be mistaken, but I think that -- generally -- when people ask where they can find the "best ice cream" they're typically not averse to suggestions for gelati. Arguably I should have been clear that Bulgarini is gelati.

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    Certain Chowhounds (i.e. myself) feel compelled to emphasize these strict distinctions at times...

                    Pinot noir ain't cabernet sauvignon either, but they certainly do share similarities :-)

                      1. re: J.L.

                        A better analogy might be recommending a méthode champenoise sparkling wine from outside the Champagne AOC when someone asks for recommendations for "Champagne". It ain't Champagne, but . . .

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          Actually I think J.L.'s analogy is more apt.

                          A California vintner producing wine with the Champagne method uses essentially the same grape varietals and the same methods to create their wine as would their counterparts in France.

                          Contrast this with gelato and ice cream, which use different ingredients (generally stated, gelato uses primarily milk vs. ice cream using primarily cream) and a different process (gelato machines freeze without incorporating air, so flavors are concentrated and more intense).

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            "A California vintner producing wine with the Champagne method uses essentially the same grape varietals."

                            Cava is a méthode champenoise sparkling wine that uses substantially different grape varieties than Champagne. In any case, the point I was attempting to make is that "ice cream" and "champagne" are popularly used with a degree of generality and imprecision that "cabernet sauvignon" and "pinot noir" rarely are.

                        2. re: J.L.

                          For whatever reason, I've never been terribly fond of most gelato, so if someone were to suggest a gelato place when i ask about ice cream, I probably would be one of those annoying creatures that would object. But what I *really* object to is suggestions for frozen yogurt......or, as I call it, ice cream with bacteria.

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      Carmela is twice as good : ) and twice the price : (

                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        Have them back to back and then decide. I did this very thing on Sunday and there was NO comparison. Fosselman's was the CLEAR winner by a mile.

                        And - yes, price was different, 1 scoop at Carmela: $3.50, 1 (slightly larger than Carmela) scoop at Fosselman's $2,50 (double scoop $2.95)

                        It's also nice that Fosselman's has an a/c eating area, IMO - helps with the ice cream melting factor (in afternoon 75 degree temps, eating Carmela on their outside bench proved to be a very MELTY situation).

                        1. re: The Oracle

                          Just speaking for Vanilla, Carmela's is far away better. Strawberry buttermilk at Carmela's and Strawberry dipped chocolate at Fosselman's is a toss up.

                          1. re: A5 KOBE

                            Oohhh, the strawberry dipped chocolate...

                            1. re: happybaker

                              Nothing Fosselman's makes is remotely interested, yes, not even the ube.

                              Setting the prices aside, Carmela's eon above, as it should be. No need to have them back to back/side-to-side. The A/C and dining area -- seriously, it's ice cream, who needs a dining room -- should have nothing to do with how 2 ice creams fare.

                              Furthermore, ice cream shouldn't be served rock hard to begin with. A little meltiness adds to the pleasure, especially those who likes the chase.

                        2. re: A5 KOBE

                          Fosselman's is just as good as Rite-Aid (aka Thrifty's) and twice the price.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            That is why I usually tend to grab the half gallon tubs for $7 and it is usually strawberry dipped chocolate. Thrifty's strawberry ice cream is also very good though too, probably my favorite place to get it. Not sure on the price though. They do sell 3 gallon tubs of Thrifty's ice cream at Costco business center but have never pulled the trigger.