Here’s the scoop: National Ice Cream Day may have come and gone, while National Ice Cream Month is nearly over, but we’re not done celebrating. Stay cool all summer with a bevy of handmade, ready-made or do-it-yourself ice cream flavors. One local shop offers ice cream and vintage delectables like milkshakes and floats. Beat the heat and indulge in a sweet escape with the following recommendations for enjoying ice cream at home or in and around the Philly region. You deserve it.
Make ice cream (and more) at home
Create a chill out experience by making frozen treats at home with an Uber Appliance ice cream and sorbet machine, which makes creamy confections in a few easy steps. Complete control over your ingredients means you can accommodate your taste buds and customize your concoctions with your favorite fruits and add-ons, like chocolate chips or nuts A complimentary recipe book and four-piece ice pop freezable mold — for treats on the go — is included. $69.99; uberappliance.com
Feeling nostalgic? Enjoy yesterday’s memories with a professional-quality soft ice cream maker from Cuisinart. This gadget also makes yogurt, sorbet, and sherbet, but its ability to store three condiments in a dispenser (plus hold up to six ice cream cones) makes it extra handy. Creating your favorite frozen dessert is as simple as pouring ingredients into one compartment, turning a dial, and serving. The double-insulated BPA-free freezer bowl holds up to 1 ½ quarts of a frozen dessert. A recipe book is included. $129.95; cuisinart.com
Upgrade your home game
Favorite Day offers a variety of cool ice cream flavors, such as key lime pie, blueberry cheesecake, and birthday cake. The key lime pie and blueberry cheesecake ice creams each feature a graham cracker swirl; the birthday cake ice cream has a vanilla frosting flavor and is infused with cake pieces and candy sprinkles for an extra special born-day celebration or a just-because treat. Each flavor can be consumed independently (in a bowl or the actual container, up to you). Favorite Day ice cream and toppings, $1.89 — $3.99; target.com
Up the ante by adding sweet and salty nut toppings or chocolate-flavored syrup from Favorite Day. Better yet, indulge in some whimsy with Magic Unicorn Sprinkles from Beautiful Briny Sea. $20; shop.beautifulbrinysea.com
Local scoop shops and creameries we love
Swing by Franklin Fountain, a retro ice cream shop that makes homemade vanilla bean, peanut butter, chocolate chip, butter pecan, and over a dozen additional flavors. Ice cream is served in a cup or cone, but patrons looking for a sweeter experience can opt for banana splits or sundaes. One thing to note: The soda fountain vibe may inspire patrons to order, well, an ice cream soda or milkshake, which the shop sells as well. An assortment of vegan ice cream is also available. Prices vary. 116 Market St., 215-627-1899; franklinfountain.com
It isn’t quite summer down on the shore without hitting up boardwalk favorites in Margate, Avalon, Stone Harbor, and other Jersey Shore haunts. There’s family-run Springer’s, which has served generations of beachgoers with homemade treats, or roadside classic Custard King and its various floats and ice cream sodas. For the ultimate indulgence, don’t miss Sundae Best, which churns local bakery Kohler’s beloved doughnuts into a Cream Doughnut ice cream. Check out a list of all our Shore favorites at inquirer.com/shoreicecream.
» READ MORE: Best ice cream at the Shore
If you’ve ever wanted to get ice cream straight from the source, you have plenty of options, according to Inquirer contributor Alexandra Jones. In her guide to Philly-area creameries and dairy farms, she writes, “Pennsylvania has lost hundreds of dairy farms in the past several years, and holding out is tough in an industry where the price of the product often falls below the cost of production. To keep their operations going — and make farming a viable career path for the next generation — some dairy farm families are selling their products directly to consumers, and welcoming them onto their farms, as a way of being less dependent on the commodity milk market.” Be sure to check out her guide for an exhaustive list of local farms to support at inquirer.com/dairies.
According to contributor Regan Stephens, “Philly is the reigning ice cream capital of America.” Sounds about right, especially with her complete guide to all things local ice cream that you can find at inquirer.com/icecream.
» READ MORE: Best ice cream in Philadelphia
For the nondairy ice cream lovers among us
Don’t worry, vegans, we haven’t forgotten about you. As dairy alternatives continue to improve, so does ice cream. Made from coconut, oat, soy, or some combination, options abound. And while some restaurants may purchase the cold stuff from national brands, others are making their own and innovating the medium. Who’s to say that ice cream can’t be an art? From Vannah Banana’s creative takes (think matcha or carrot cake cookie crumble) to more classic flavors at Germantown’s Nile Cafe, we’ve rounded up where vegans can indulge in their sweet tooth this summer. Find the list at inquirer.com/veganicecream.
» READ MORE: Best vegan ice cream in Philly