A trip to the local ice cream shop is great, but the world offers so much more than just a scoop of chocolate or vanilla. Summer is heating up in the Northern Hemisphere, so it’s the perfect time to indulge in an icy cold treat. Check out this list of the coolest ice cream in the world from a group of globetrotting travel bloggers.
Eyescream & Friends – Barcelona, Spain
By Kylie from Between England & Iowa
Eyescream & Friends originated in the Barceloneta neighbourhood in Barcelona, Spain and have since spread to several locations around the world. They serve shaved gelato that look like ‘splat monsters!’ There are 7 different flavours to choose from, including one frozen yoghurt flavour, then 2 little sugar eyeballs are placed on top. Each of the flavours create a different colour Eyescream & Friends character! Next, customers choose 2 pots from a huge range of toppings, anything from different flavoured sauces (I tried watermelon!), gummy bears, variations of chocolate, sprinkles, nuts and many more! The bowl of shaved gelato, the 2 topping pots and a spoon, all slot into a handy take out box…that also make for a good Instagram picture!
The Kitchen Sink – Walt Disney World
The Kitchen Sink is the premiere sundae at the Beaches and Cream Soda Shop between Yacht and Beach Club resorts in Disney World (that’s the one in Florida). You can go straight to the hotels or walk from the back entrance to Epcot. You’ll need a small army to finish this enormous dessert. It features eight scoops of ice cream and every topping in the shop, ranging from sprinkles to Oreo cookies to brownies. It’s finished off with an entire can of whip cream. The whole mess of deliciousness is served in a metal bowl that looks like an actual sink. When it’s served, the lights in the cafe flicker and the Kitchen Sink is announced to all diners present. The true Kitchen Sink can only be had by dining in at Beaches and Cream, but a smaller, less challenging version can be purchased at the shop’s walk-up counter. Since it’s in one of the hotels, it’s a great Disney experience if you’re in the Orlando area and don’t want to spend a fortune on park tickets. Do you think you can handle it?
Ices Plain & Fancy – St. Louis, Missouri
By Christina from Our Sweet Adventures
Ices Plain & Fancy is an unique ice cream shop in St. Louis, Missouri and one of our favorite spots to go to every time we visit. What makes Ices Plain & Fancy ice cream special and unique is that they incorporate local and seasonal ingredients with liquid nitrogen!
Liquid nitrogen gives ice cream a distinct texture similar to Dippin’ Dots (which is also made with liquid nitrogen). The ingredients for the specific ice cream flavor are placed into the mixer, followed by the liquid nitrogen poured into the ice cream base using a coffee thermos. Next, the base is mixed on high speed and the “smoke” from the liquid nitrogen performs its magic and freezes the ice cream. After the ice cream is fully incorporated they use a torch on the outside of the bowl in order to loosen up the ice cream – yes, it is that cold! Eventually when the ice cream becomes pliable, they remove it and place it in a serving bowl for the customers. Finally, guests eat their wonderful ice cream in awe of the magical and delicious creation made right before their eyes. Now I realize that all ice creams melt in your mouth, obviously, but, liquid nitrogen ice cream initially “warms up” in your mouth and then melts away, which makes the flavors even more profound. Ultimately, every ice cream is very smooth, creamy, and packed with flavor!
This whole process can be seen by the customers once they place their order. The customer can watch the employees through a glass divider as they pour the ice cream base and liquid nitrogen into the Kitchen Aid mixers. It is a really nice touch as it allows customers to be a part of the experience! Watching the process of your ice cream is fun for not only the kids, but the adults too!
Ices Plain & Fancy make their liquid nitrogen ice cream flavors with either milk, coconut milk or soy milk and have a small selection of sorbet as well. Their menu has a lot to offer with classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate as well as boozy flavors like a dark and fancy. The flavor that is the most unique and a crowd favorite is their Campfire S’mores. For this flavor they use a smoke machine to infuse flavored wood chips into the ice cream. Once the smoke is infused into the mixer, they quickly put the ice cream into the serving bowl and then cover the bowl so that the smoke is captured. Once a guest takes the lid off, a wave of smoke seeps out, making it the best ice cream experience ever! The experience is one thing, but the flavor is also amazing. The smoke literally makes the ice cream taste like it was made over a campfire as the smoky taste lingers until the very last bite. Folded into the ice cream are small bites of mini marshmallows, chocolate chunks and ground graham crackers. Finally, there are graham cracker halves placed on top and then drizzled with hot fudge. This Campfire S’mores liquid nitrogen ice cream is AMAZING!!!! Hands down the best.
If you ever find yourself in St. Louis make sure you find your way over here, especially on a nice, hot summer day.
10 Below – New York, New York
By Kelly from Girl with the Passport
This rolled ice cream purveyor not only uses fresh, organic ingredients, but they also churn out their delicious ice cream, to order, right before your eyes. So not only do you get a decadent, confectionery delight, but you also get a front row seat to the entire ice cream making process.
Inspired by ice cream making in countries like Thailand, 10 Below begins the ice cream making process with advanced cold plates that are cooled to -10 degrees (hence the name). Fresh cream is then poured atop the plate, while various mix-ins are added in, based upon the flavor you order. Employees slowly roll the ice cream atop until they achieve a smooth and creamy consistency that is totally worth the wait. The result? Fresh, delicious ice cream rolls in two minutes, without any added fat or emulsifiers. They literally look like little ice cream tacos that will make anyone’s stomach, and heart, happy. This ice cream is truly, a little bit of heaven in your hand. And with innovative flavors like Cookie Monster (Yum), Fruity Bam Bam (Yum), and I Love You a Latte, there really is something for everyone in this funky, New York City ice cream parlor (They have a menu of mix ins to choose from so you can create any flavor combination you want).
Spaghetti Eis – Munich, Germany
The first time I visited Munich, I was alerted to the existence of spaghetti eis by a friend who’d had some in the past. Things came up, and I didn’t get to try it that time, so I made sure to grab some the next time I was in town. Spaghetti Eis is ice cream that is squeezed through a noodle press so that it resembles spaghetti. It’s then topped with fruity red sauce so so that it looks like a bowl of spaghetti. It’s sweet, fruity flavor is so much better than pasta though! It’s the perfect treat for cooling down while strolling through the historic streets of Munich’s old town area. It’s available from multiple vendors, so keep an eye out as you explore the area.
Helado Obscuro – Mexico City, Mexico
By Lauren from Northern Lauren
One of my favourite ice cream shops in the world has to be Mexico City’s Helado Obscuro, which sells all kinds of quirkily named, alcoholic flavours. Yes, you read that right, (almost) all the ice creams, slushes and lollies sold in this quirky chain are laced with a healthy splash of booze. Honestly though, my favourite flavour (and this is coming from a non-vodka lover) is Dark Vader, a rich chocolately-vodka combo that totally plays on the punny name of the ice cream store itself (Helado Obscuro, a.k.a. ‘Dark Ice Cream’ is a play on the phrase ‘lado obscuro’ a.k.a. the Dark Side). There are tons of mezcal, tequila and rum spiked options, to name but a few, if you’re not down for vodka though.
I particularly like the Roma branch of Helado Obscuro, but there’s a few dotted around the city. Top tip: the one in the Zona Rosa also doubles as a bar.
Ice Cream City – Tokyo, Japan
By Marie-Pier from Cravings of a Wanderher
During my trip to Tokyo, I heard about an indoor theme park, which had a section for foodies. I had to go see that! When I got there, I discovered there were in fact three food “theme parks” dedicated to pan-fried dumplings, ice cream, and dessert.
That’s where I discovered Tokyo’s Ice Cream City. It consists of 2-3 ice cream shops, among the incredible Soft Cream Bar and Cup Ice Museum shops.
Cup Ice Museum shop specializes in the most unique ice cream flavors of the world. While you can buy a cup of classic ice cream flavors, such as strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, or chocolate, you can also taste special flavors like pumpkin, melon, red bean, sunflower, or custard. If you’re brave enough, you can also try some of the most disgusting flavors: curry, miso noodle, caviar, corn, etc. They even sell a cup of garlic ice cream, which is called Dracula!
I didn’t try those weird flavors because I didn’t want to get sick over ice cream, so I went to Soft Cream Bar shop, where there is an awesome variety of soft ice cream: white peach, soda, sea salt vanilla, melon, soybean flour, wasabi, grape, strawberry, etc. Although it’s unusual, the wasabi flavor was quite good!
Tokyo’s Ice Cream City is hidden in Namco NamjaTown, an indoor theme park located in the Sunshine City complex (Ikebukuro area, Tokyo). Namco NamjaTown may seem boring to people who don’t speak Japanese, since all the attractions have Japanese instructions. That’s probably why it’s often overlooked by tourists! But it’s only a few dollars to enter and it’s definitely worth the visit!
Penn State Berkey Creamery – State College, Pennsylvania
By Karen from Wanderlustingk
If you love ice cream, you need to visit the Penn State Berkey Creamery in State College, Pennsylvania, USA! The Penn State Creamery is run by the Pennsylvania State University Department of Food Science. Since 1865, Penn State has been perfecting the science of ice cream and it’s where Ben & Jerry’s (among others) learned how to make ice cream.
One of the best things to do at Penn State is to try this delicious ice cream! The line can be very long when Penn State has football games and you cannot mix flavors without being a US president (Bill Clinton asked!), so ask for a small portion as the portion is huge. The ice cream flavors change daily as new flavors are invented by Penn State Food Science students every day, but you can find all the basics in addition to more experimental ones. My favorite is the chocolate chip cookie dough, which tastes as good as the real thing. Be warned that their ice creams are super rich with a butterfat percentage of 14.1%.
Sakura Ice Cream – Japan
By Cory from You Could Travel
The first time I went to Japan, I heard a lot about matcha tea sweets. Naturally, I tried a matcha tea ice cream and loved every single bit of it. The second time I went to Japan, I tried Sakura flavoured ice cream. Now, this was the time I forgot everything I’ve ever known about ice cream, because this Sakura icy treat, just rocked my world. Is it hard to describe the taste of cherry blossom ice cream? I’m going to start with the fact that this ice cream is pink. It’s sweet and full of flavour. It’s the creamy texture which makes so much more intriguing than your ordinary ice cream. The taste is a little earthy and fruity, with a bit of rice pudding after taste. I can’t imagine anything better than sakura ice cream. Should you ever find yourself in Japan, forget matcha treats and go for the Sakura instead. I promise you won’t regret it.
Wild Flavors – Miyajima Island, Japan
By Kallsy from Pages of Travel
Japan is a country known for many unique and sometimes strange sweets. While in Hiroshima we took a day trip to Miyajima Island. There we found some of the most bizarre ice cream flavors we had seen! We opted for a black sesame sake swirl and a wasabi cone. The black sesame and sake had a mild red bean and smoky flavor mixed with a light touch of alcohol from the sake. We both expected the wasabi to taste incredibly spicy but it wasn’t! Instead, it had a creamy almost cucumber flavor with a kick of wasabi for the aftertaste. The best part of all though was the croissant donut cone that each of these bangin’ ice cream flavors came in. It added a nice sweet crunch to balance out the strange yet appetizing flavors. If you find yourself in Japan don’t be afraid to try out one of the many unique flavors of ice cream the stands have to offer!