I am a little, OK, maybe a lot, obsessed with ice cream. It needs to be rich, obviously made with cream and sugar, and I want it filled with little things to give it texture. Here are the spots in the world where the ice cream has stayed on my mind for years following our initial relationship. I will update this post as I find more ice creams that I love.
The Best Ice Cream Around the World
30 Ten Rod Rd, North Kingstown, Rhode Island
The Inside Scoop is undoubtedly the best ice cream in Rhode Island, and I have researched this extensively. Inside Scoop has been owned and run by the Bucci family for almost 20 years. Although it was recently expanded and spruced up, it has a neighborhood feel, staffed by local teens. The ice cream is rich and flavorful, with the perfect amount of high-quality mix-ins. My favorite flavors are chocolate brownie, coffee oreo, and sea salt caramel with chocolate chunks.
Read about how to spend an ideal 48 Hours in Rhode Island when you come to try The Inside Scoop.
Multiple locations around Lexington, Kentucky
I am a massive fan of the vanilla sweetness of bourbon, but not of the burn that comes with the alcohol. Crank and Boom’s bourbon and honey ice cream is perfection, soft with just the perfect amount of flavor. It is even better if you get it in their firm and perfectly spiced homemade waffle cones. Usually, I skip the waffle cones as they are too sweet, but this is one I would order again and again.
Crank and Boom also serves boozy ice cream sundaes. I didn’t try one but imagine they are delicious.
The only problem with Crank and Boom is how far it is from my house, but it gives me a good reason to revisit Kentucky. Read more about why I love Kentucky in 24 hours in Lexington, Kentucky.
1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury, Vermont
As far as mass-produced ice cream goes, Ben & Jerry’s is my favorite treat for a Friday night at home. Vermont is one of my favorite US states and the home to the original Ben & Jerry’s Factory. For under ten dollars, the factory has a tour that takes about an hour if there is no wait. The flavors are inventive and full of mix-ins. Be sure to check out the flavor graveyard and remember your favorites from the past.
Multiple locations in the western United States
Not only are the flavors inventive and yummy, but ordering ice cream at Cauldron, mainly on the west coast of the US, is an experience. The ice cream is made right in front of you using blenders and dry ice. If you ask nicely, they will shape it like a rose (see above). Their cones, called puffles, are also worth a taste. The only problem you will have is which flavor to choose. They range from complex cinnamon with chocolate to breakfast cereals to florals. I usually visit multiple times on each visit to California.
57 Exchange St, Portland, Maine
Portland is an outstanding foodie town, but one does not usually come into Gross Confection for ice cream. They typically come in for the obscenely good dessert sampler with no ice cream in sight. But the simple house-made brown butter cider swirl ice cream deserves a spot on this list. Have it along with a cocktail at the wooden bar. This ice cream also made my list of 47 Cool Things to do in Portland, Maine.
Chocolaterie de I’Ile d’Orleans
8330, Chemin Royal, Sainte-Pétronille de l’Île d’Orléans, Québec, Canada
Right upriver from Québec City is the darling l’Île d’Orléans, full of farms and shops of island-created food and drinks. One of the best is this charming chocolate shop, which has a dairy bar in the back during the summer months. I rarely get a chocolate coating on my soft serve, as they are generally made of a waxy, chocolate-like substance. The chocolate shell on the cones at Chocolaterie de I’Ile d’Orleans is perfectly thick, pure dark chocolate. Definitely the best soft-serve cone I have eaten.
Mission Street Ice Cream/McConnell’s Ice Cream
Three locations in Santa Barbara
I was so obsessed with this ice cream the first time I had it; I had it every day of my three-day visit to Santa Barbara. Unique and vibrant flavors such as honey cornbread, earl grey tea cake, and salted caramel chocolate brownie make it hard to narrow your choice to just one. Thankfully you can choose two flavors with a small scoop. This premium ice cream is perfectly creamy, which explains why there is usually a line out the door.
Ryba’s Fudge Shop, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinaw Island in Michigan’s upper peninsula is famous for its fudge which we visited on a day trip. It is delicious, but the Mackinac Island Fudge Ice Cream is more notable to me. Reba’s doesn’t make the ice cream, but rather the Michigan-based family company of Guernsey Farms Dairy, which makes small-batch ice cream.
Their Mackinac Island Fudge Ice Cream has a rich vanilla base and both swirls and pieces of fudge! It is expensive but was fresh, and the portion was acceptable.
Sofra bld, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Ice cream for breakfast? I don’t mind if I do. This creamy, sweet rose ice cream is the perfect hint of floral without being overpowering and was part of an exceptional, extensive brunch on the water at this Abu Dhabi resort. We visited Abu Dhabi as part of a 5-Day trip to Dubai.
Betty Rae’s Ice Cream, Kansas City, Missouri
The food scene in Kansas City is strong! As part of my Midwest road trip, we stopped in Kansas City and found the best barbecue and also some of the best ice cream. Betty Rae’s is in the Riverfront District, a great place to walk around. The flavors are unique and strong using many homemade ingredients such as candied pecans and lavender blooms. I enjoyed the unique taste of the Goat Cheese, Apricots, & Candied Walnuts ice cream. They even have a barbecue flavor on offer at certain times of the year.
BMORE LICKS, Baltimore, Maryland
We have visited Baltimore a few times over the last few years. They have a few good homemade ice cream shops, but the BMORE LICKS by Patterson Park is my favorite. They even have ice cream tacos and flavored cones! Their ice cream has strong flavors and is rich and creamy.
Murphy’s Ice Cream, Dublin, Ireland
Among the things I love about Murphy’s is that they let you try as many flavors as you would like. I would not have chosen to blindly order Brown Bread, although eating real brown bread in Ireland is scrumptious, as ice cream it sounded weird. The shop uses its sea salt ice cream as a base, adding caramelized brown bread, resulting in a beautiful marriage of tastes and textures.
They use all local ingredients and let you mix flavors in any size. I returned each of my two days in Dublin ordering half Brown Bread and half Chocolate Whiskey.
Rococo Ice Cream, Kennebunkport, Maine, US
This artisan ice cream shop in downtown Kennebunkport has rich, flavorful ice cream with unique flavors, such as Goat Cheese Blackberry Chambord, and Garam Masala. I tried both during my visit and settled on the special Garam Masala.
These aren’t precisely ice cream but they still, occupy a spot in my heart and mind.
Multiple locations in New Orleans, Louisiana
When planning a trip to New Orleans, many recommendations pointed to snoballs. I could not understand why I should go out of the way for these, but this house-made snow cone with grapefruit juice and basil syrup was incredible enough to make my list. Read more about the best things to do in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s It Ice Cream Bars
It’s It ice cream bars have been made in San Francisco since 1928. And the snacks, available at most corner stores, were a staple of my college days. The sandwich consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two spiced oatmeal cookies dipped in chocolate. While in San Franciso, stop by the scenic Ghiradelli Square for an ice cream sundae. The ice cream is just standard, but the hot fudge is excellent.
Where have you had the best ice cream? What do you look for in the perfect ice cream? Please let me know in the comments.
Would you like to be included on this list? You can invite us to try your ice cream, but only the best will make it!