Ice cream may just be the perfect dessert. It’s sweet but can be enhanced with savory, salty, sour, and umami flavors. It can incorporate other sweet treats, from fruit, cakes, and cookies, to cereal and waffle cones.
Ice cream offers cooling relief on a hot day and has the power to soothe stress and calm emotions. It’s something to savor, something to share. This dessert is incredibly appealing and versatile, and there’s no shortage of culinary masters making it their own.
NYC, always a hotbed of epicurean innovation, is no stranger to unique confectioners and gelaterias, many adding international flair and inventive flavor profiles to their concoctions. Several caught our eye and imagination, offering a playbook for ingenious ice cream.
Grace Street Coffee & Desserts
This contemporary coffee house captures both international flavors and the fruit/floral fusion that’s dominated 2022. Their shaved snow towers are not only visually impressive but surprising and pleasant for the palate.
The O.G. comes in Asian-inspired flavors like black sesame, mochi, red bean, and more, while the X.O.X.O. packs a flavorful punch with real fruit and trendy florals.
Sundaes & Cones
Everyone can find something to love at this popular parlor in the East Village, where classic vanilla and chocolate compete with a range of more exciting ice cream options.
The Thai Tea delivers a special experience that takes you to another place, while the ginger offers a bright, almost spicy zing and all of the benefits inherent to this tropical root. Surprisingly delightful, the corn flavor is changing the way people think about ice cream.
A lot of time and energy goes into choosing the best combination of flavors, but Morgenstern’s takes a different approach, with small-batch ice creams that place equal importance on texture and creating an immersive experience.
Peanut Butter Cup is a chunky delight with a classic flavor combo that can’t be beaten. Tahini N’ Jelly puts a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, sesame-inspired spin and the familiar PB&J, while Olive Oil Chocolate Eggplant delivers a hidden dose of veggies with an exquisitely unique flavor profile.
Related: The 6 Most Creative Ice Cream Shops in the World: Summer 2022
Il Laboratorio Del Gelato
Authentic Italian gelato is the order of the day with dense consistency and intense flavors courtesy of artisanal practices, small-batch hand-crafting, and fresh, local, organic ingredients.
Internationally-minded options include the spice of Thai Chili Chocolate, the sweet cream of Dulce de Leche, and the surprising brightness of Fresh Basil.
Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
Ice cream infusions are essentially TikTok gold, but not everyone wants to spend time soaking, straining, and mixing these sugary concoctions. NYC’s premier cereal bar goes next level with recipes that pair novelty with nostalgia.
Apple Jack Avalanche features the titular cereal, along with Honey Bunches of Oats and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (plus caramel drizzle) for an apple-pie-like experience.
Cookie Crisp Carnival, on the other hand, brings cookie dough and Oreo classics together with Cookie Crisp cereal. Guests can also select a bowl of cereal, mixing their two faves with milk and a topping of choice. The overall outcome is a creative, nostalgic experience that’s both comforting and compelling.
With ingredients made fresh on-site or sourced from socially responsible partners, this ice cream shop offers up small-batch delights with a minimal ecological footprint and a magical aesthetic.
It starts with the fresh waffle cones shaped like fish and continues with a range of Asian-inspired flavors (like tea-infused ice cream) and fun names like Unicorn Taiyaki and Straight out Japan.
Related: Ice Cream Report: Spice and Savory Flavors on the Rise
Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
When an ice cream parlor has been around for decades, you know they’re doing something right. A second-generation, family-run operation, CICF keeps guests on their toes with beautiful food compositions and outstanding, homemade flavor fusions.
Taro and Ube together create the perfect balance of sweet and starchy, while Pandan delivers a more traditional vanilla and coconut profile. The Don Tot serves up the light, creamy appeal of Chinese egg custard.
Ice cream never goes out of style, but this versatile dessert can always be improved on. These NYC confectioners serve as stunning examples of how to do it right.
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