The coolest ice cream shops

Updated on 12 May 2011 | 0 Comments

Summer chill-seekers take note! Here's a round-up of the coolest ice cream available that's guaranteed to hit the spot.

Summer chill-seekers take note!  Here’s a round-up of the coolest ice cream available that’s guaranteed to hit the spot.

So we’ve had a brief glimpse of sunshine already (come back soon, please?), which was more than enough to kick-start a craving for the true taste of summer: ice cream.

Whatever your scoop of choice – cone or flake, adventurous toppings or plain vanilla – this cool treat provides something for everyone, and can’t fail but make those sunny days even sweeter.

However, with exclusive ice cream ‘boutiques’ and trendy new outlets opening up everywhere, offering seemingly endless flavours and a gazillion different toppings, too much choice can seem daunting.  Whether you prefer the waistband-swelling likes of Ben & Jerry’s or have simpler tastes (can you really beat a classic chocolate chip?), looking at a menu can you leave you feeling like you’re lost in Alaska.

From Heston Blumenthal’s infamous bacon and egg recipe, causing ripples of dissent amongst traditionalists, to the breast milk ice cream controversies of late, ice cream has definitely come a long way from simple summery feel-goodness.

To guide you through the avalanche of ice cream choice, here’s the crème de la crème of outlets.

Cloud 9, Brighton


This little ice cream parlour in the heart of Brighton’s rambling Laines is an ice cream lover’s dream.  Starting at £2.00 a scoop, they offer an indulgent array of flavours including Chunky Cheese Cake, Vanilla Bean Dream and Perfect Peanut Butter.

The adventurous specials menu includes such flavours as Garlic Galore and Blue Cheese.  I spoke to co-founder Hannah about what sets Cloud 9 apart from their competitors:  “We make ice cream as best as it possibly can be – constantly experimenting and introducing new flavours.  We’re really fussy, so we make sure we get it right!”

New additions include Malteser and Oreo and honeycomb flavour, and they run cooking classes for kids that allow them to try out new recipes. 

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Dri Dri Gelato, London


For authentic Italian gelato, look no further.  Not to be confused with buttercream-based ice cream, gelato is made with whole milk, reducing its fat content to a mere 8% compared to the average 24%.  So not only is Dri Dri gourmet and bursting with intense natural flavours (no nasty additives here), it’s almost guilt-free.

Founder Adriano di Petrillo was inspired by traditional gelato recipes from his native Parma: “I really wanted to bring a true Italian experience to London.”  And as gelato is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream, it gives a light, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Small cups start at a pricey £2.90 (large £4.90), but come in a mouth-watering melee of taste sensations: from Biscotto (cookies and cream) with artisan cookies and Stracciatelli (chocolate chip) with organic milk and extra noir chocolate chips.

Notting Hill-based Dri Dri also offer fat-free sorbets, including Pompelmo Rosa (pink grapefruit), and source all their organic milk from English farms.

And with a freshly launched shop at Chelsea Farmers Market, you have no excuse not to visit!

The Ice Creamists, London


Dubbed ‘more Sid and Nancy than Ben and Jerry’, this ultra-cool Covent Garden ice cream boutique is anything but vanilla.  Founder Matt O’ Connor recently caused a media furore after the launch of ‘Baby Ga Ga’ breast milk ice cream – and was subsequently threatened with legal action by Lady Gaga herself for apparently taking her name in vain...

With publicity like that, The Ice Creamists haven’t had much trouble shifting their wildly original flavours with such tongue-in-cheek names as Sex, Drugs & Choc & Roll (double milk chocolate chip) and Molotoffee Cocktail (though it comes with a similarly explosive £12.75 price tag). The latter is an indulgent combination of Dulce De Leche ice cream with banana syrup and apple juice, topped with caramelised meringue, blow-torched at your table.

O’ Connor’s own unique vision is to use ice cream as a “subversive medium”, using risqué slogans and bold marketing tactics to challenge our assumptions about what it means to eat for pleasure.  “In Belarus, young people protested against a government ban on political demonstrations by gathering to eat ice cream.  It can be revolutionary.”

Much more painfully cool than a Mr Whippy.

Roskilly’s, Cornwall


Sometimes the simplest is the best.  Cornish ice cream has certainly stood the test of time.  Made with organic milk sourced from the farm’s freely-grazing Jersey herd and free from artificial ingredients, Roskilly’s offer a taste of Italian ‘artisan’ ice cream in the heart of England.

Their range is sold through a range of ‘scoop outlets’ and shops across the country and there are more than 40 different flavours to choose from. These stretch from old favourites (vanilla, strawberry) to the luscious Blackcurrant Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie and Marshmallow.

Andy Phillips, commercial manager for Roskilly’s, told me that their ethos is all about classic flavours: “Fancy, Heston-type ice cream may be popular in Michelin-starred restaurants, but the public really want simple, delicious flavours.  We recently made our Coral Crunch flavour, which is passion fruit and mango with sherbert pips, and it’s been a huge success with children and adults alike.”

Half-litre takeaway tubs cost £4.00, while individual, eat-away 110 ml pots cost just £1.60.

Enough to make you melt....

The Cotswold Ice Cream Company


Even the fussiest ice cream fans will be spoilt for choice here.  From Passion Fruit and Mango Madness to Lemon Meringue, Sticky Toffee Fudge to Cappuccino, their flavours are all organic and Fairtrade and made from the milk of cows living on the farm.

Recent additions to the range include Mint Choc Chip (made with real mint leaves) and Rum & Raisin.  All flavours are available in 125ml, 500ml and 4.5l tubs.  The company supplies small retailers and summer tourist attractions such as Kelmscott Manor.

Founder Dani Slatter emphasises the dedicated, hands-on ethos of the company: “We split the vanilla pods, grind the beans...our small batches enable us to really experiment.”  The best bit about making ice cream?  “Seeing the enjoyment on people’s faces when they eat it.”

Look out for upcoming mulled wine sorbet!

Do you know any delicious ice creams we’ve missed out?  Share them with readers using the comments box below!

Also worth your attention:

Yuck!  Human breast milk produced from cows

Marcus Eaves’ baked Alaska

Jacqueline O’ Donnell’s puff candy meringue


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