I scream, you scream, we all scream for…liquid nitrogen ice cream!? It’s true that ice cream concepts are getting more and more creative, and a simple vanilla cone will no longer do. The latest crazes are all about method, presentation, and the most ridiculous yet tasty flavors you can imagine.
Customers want to enjoy their ice cream, sure, but they also want to be able to take a killer photo to post on social media. Feeling behind the times? Read on to learn about the most innovative ice cream shops around the world.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream (New York, USA)
Morgenstern’s is a modern American ice cream parlor featuring innovative ice cream concepts and a global fusion of flavors that you won’t find anywhere else. Their most famous creation is the Black Coconut Ash cone, a pitch black ice cream that has captured the attention of Instagrammers everywhere. Other exotic flavors include durian, sunflower seed, and raw milk—the menu goes as far as curry and tahini infusions. If you’re interested in something other than a simple scoop, try the King Kong Banana Split or The New God Flow, which is Japanese white bread topped with caramelized honey and two scoops of melting raw milk. No matter what you choose at Morgenstern’s, you’re in for a creative ice cream treat.
40 total flavors, 35 signature and 5 weekly rotating specials. What else could you ask for? Since its establishment in 2002, Gelato Messina has churned out a rough total of 3500 different flavors—and they keep going. This highly acclaimed gelato institution is one of Australia’s greatest treasures with 17 locations across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
When it comes to quality, this hot spot doesn’t mess around. Messina has its own dairy farm to supply the highest quality Jersey milk—the single most important ingredient for gelato. All chocolate is made from scratch using the highest quality single origin Ecuadorian cacao, followed by the dedication they put into sourcing the best possible hazelnut and dulce de leche. As one would expect, all ingredients are made from scratch by Messina’s in-house pastry chefs.
Their signature menu features exotic ice cream flavors like ‘Pandan & Coconut’ and ‘Panna Cotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit’ whereas weekly specials get even more creative. Their Hall of Fame Specialty flavors include:
• Mango Pancake - Mango sherbet gelato with vanilla cream and pancake crunch
• Fairy Bread - Toast and butter gelato with 100's & 1000's crunch
• Sticky First Date - Coffee gelato with date caramel spread and sticky date pudding
• Gorgeous Dave - Caramel gelato with caramel sauce and stroopwafels
Il Gelato di San Crispino (Rome, Italy)
San Crispino is a beloved gelato shop among locals and the tourists luckily enough to come across it. Flavors are seasonal and each scoop is free from additives, preservatives, emulsifying substance, and artificial coloring. With quality as a top priority, San Crispino’s ice cream flavors include Cocoa cream with Rhum Clèment, Strawberry honey from Sardinia and Eggnog With Marsala de Bartoli.
Ice cream always makes people happy, but Cloud Creamery tends to make people just a little happier. The Massachusetts based trendsetter is one of the first organizations centered on the creation and sale of cannabis-infused ice cream. Cloud Creamery is the brainchild of Chef David Yusefzadeh who discovered the healing powers of cannabis in battling Crohn's Disease–creating the company as a thoughtful and delicious alternative to opioids and steroids. Chef David uses all local ingredients that are 100% natural and sustainably sourced—using grass-fed milk and organic cane sugar.
The decadent and full-fat ice creams are on the cutting edge of flavor innovation with flavors like: ‘Saffron with Pistachio Shortbread Cookie,’ ‘Cap’n Crunch Berry Cereal Milk,’ and ‘Black Sesame and Miso Caramel’—all infused with THC. Without a physical retail location, Cloud Creamery products are available for purchase at select dispensaries. While Cloud Creamery may not be for everyone, but it certainly adds a new level of bliss to an otherwise ordinary frozen treat.
Lick Me, I’m Delicious (London, England)
While Lick Me, I’m Delicious isn’t actually an ice cream shop per se, it is an ice cream experience that you need to see to believe. This company brings their Wonka-like creations to corporate events, where you’ll pay top dollar to taste some of the most interesting sweet treats in the world. One of their most famous ice creams actually glows in the dark! Powered by luminescence of jellyfish, this ice cream innovation turns a glowing neon green when it comes into contact with the tongue. Another delight that will make you scratch your head? The Edible Mist Orb. It’s perfect for those on a diet, serving up nearly 40 calorie-free hits of cold, intense flavor mist that you suck through a straw. You’d have to be lucky to score an invite to an event serving these desserts, but your mind will be blown if you do!
Creamery Boutique Ice Creams (Bangkok, Thailand)
This award winning ice cream boutique churns out some of Thailand’s best small batch ice cream. Founded in 2012 by Ian Lee and Jerry Chompunuch Jomsangawong, Creamery Boutique’s original and creative flavors are not only delicious but a feast for the eyes. It may be hard to believe but flavor transcends the display of these beautifully crafted creations. Flavors like Lemon Cream Cheese Pie, Bacon & Eggs, and Blue Curacao with Mango and Flower Water. No to mention, the shop is also a bakery—making it a delicious double threat! Ice creams are paired with creative baked good like a ‘Volcanic’ Charcoal Cookie or Light Beef Cookies with Cream.
The Creamery (Cape Town, South Africa)
Natural, seasonal, and sustainably and locally sourced is how you could describe The Creamery’s handmade ice cream, however the shop’s keen attention to detail goes much further than simple adjectives. Committed to using seasonal ingredients, The Creamery’s flavors change daily featuring unsuspecting options like Celery Leaf, Cardamom & Rosewater Marshmallow, and Mielie & Blackberry.
Rain or shine, there’s never a bad time for ice cream. Rain or Shine’s homemade ice cream uses fresh, natural and sustainable whole ingredients that are sourced locally, seasonally and organically whenever possible. Unprocessed and pure ingredients are a priority for this family-owned Vancouver gem. The shop’s founders, Josie Fenton and Blair Casey, take the inspiration they find in their food and beverage experiences (especially when exploring a new city) and find a way to make them into ice cream. The resulting flavors are a token of their success, options include Blueberry Balsamic, Vegan Coconut-Chocolate Chunk and Blair’s love for craft beer typically results in a token beer-flavored ice cream.
The menu features 10 permanent flavors and (typically) 5 seasonal options to keep things exciting. If that wasn’t enough, Rain or Shine has its own spin on Taco Tuesday; celebrated with ice cream served in taco shaped waffle cones.
This article has been updated from 5/23/2017.
Cover photo by flyingspores.