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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.

                      2. I only drive to Fosselman's for their UBE (purple yam) ice cream. However, take note that this particular flavor is only available in half gallon container. Some other popular flavors are available retail in scoops.

                        1. I used to be a major fan of Fosselman's. Key word here being "used to".

                          They've been on a serious downhill alert for sometime now. Too much air churned into their ice cream. Certainly not as rich and dense as in years past (and when I mean years past, I've been a customer since the 1980s when Members Only jackets and Guess jeans were de rigeur).

                          If in SGV try Bulgarini for gelato, or Carmela for ice cream. The salted caramel and cucumber sorbet at Carmela are out of this world good.

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I've never tasted Fosselman's because I'm usually skeptical of these sentimental favorites that have been in business for generations. Too often, these places are succesful because of nostalgia- their customers ate there when they were little and as adults, with the food they get this powerful assocation with it to a simpler time when they were children.

                              So, as first timer, if you eat the food without all those memories of childhood and just taste the food for what it is, the food is usually just okay at best. In Orange County, we've got a place like this with the Crab Cooker in Newport Beach- high prices for 'meh' seafood but people love it anyways because they ate there when they were a kid.

                              But, Fosselman's did make this list in the English newspaper, the Guardian, for the 50 best foods in the world and where to eat them:


                              Fosselman's was mentioned as the place to drink milkshakes for its double-chocolate malt milkshake. Although, looking at the judges who came up with the list, I'm curious who picked Fosselman's since most of them are notable English chefs like Rose Gray, Raymond Blanc, Fergus Henderson, etc..

                              The Crab Cooker
                              2200 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Mother's Moo Creamery is opening up in N. SGV as well.

                                There's no reason to bother w/ Scoops when there's Bulgarini + Mother's Moo (Straus creamery custard base)

                                I lived 2 blocks away from Fosselman's and bothered 2x, but only because tourists wanted it. Fosselman's = Handel's = Strickland's = why waste the calories + cholesterol.

                                1. re: TonyC

                                  "Mother's Moo Creamery is opening up in N. SGV as well."

                                  I had to chase this one down as this was the first I'd heard of it:

                                  Mother Moo Creamery
                                  17 Kersting Ct, Sierra Madra, CA 91024

                                  Latest update:

                                  "We're moooooo-ving to open soon but not as soon as we would like. Stay tuned!" August 15 at 5:48pm

                                  This is right next door to Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe.

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  I don't have experience with most of Fosselman's Ice Cream Co's flavors but after a meal heavy with facing heaven chilies, Sichuan peppercorns and Pixian paste nothing soothes my scorched palate like a scoop of Fosselman's taro while sitting in or in front of their shop or if I'm patient enough, some of their ube from a half-gallon tub at home. Always the same, never noticed a drop in quality!

                                  Fosselman's Ice Cream Co
                                  1824 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                3. Bean Town in Sierra Madre carries Fosselman's so if Mother's Moo is open by the time you are here to visit, you can at least sample some of the flavors. I also like Bulgarini but also agree that gelato isn't ice cream and the names are not interchangeable in this context. Also, while Fosselman's is a sentimental favorite, they do have some great "unusual" flavors. They also have a great candy counter. It is a bit dingy however and can be very, very busy so make sure you aren't expecting a pristine ice cream parlor experience.

                                  Bean Town
                                  45 N Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

                                  897 Granite Dr, Pasadena, CA

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Fru

                                    Their rum raisin is EXCELLENT. Rummy, creamy, simple but spectacular.

                                  2. I love Fosselman's pistachio nut ice cream.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                      fosselman's has nice lemon custard ice cream too

                                    2. Fosselman's Dark Chocolate is excellent and I like their pistachio and their Banana Walnut too. Last time I was there they still have FULL HALF GALLONS in the freezer instead of those 1.5 quart things that they have at the market. Two thumbs way up.