From ube soft serve to watermelon sorbet, a round up of NYC’s best ice cream shops! Sit back, buckle up, we’re going on a fun ride today!
– Soft Swerve –
First up, Soft Swerve! An ongoing trend of incorporating atypical ingredients into dessert is something I openly welcome. From black charcoal coconut ash ice cream to raindrop cakes, New York City is home to a variety of extremely unique dessert options.
In 2017, the ube craze hit NYC and Soft Swerve opened. Serving soft serve flavors of matcha, black sesame, and of course the infamous purple swirl, ube, Soft Swerve is home to a variety of unique tastings. For those who are not familiar with this flavor, ube is actually a root vegetable or commonly know as the purple yam, found in the Philippines and other Asian countries. Ube soft serve has a subtle earthy and nutty flavor with a smooth and creamy texture. The ube at Soft Swerve is a win in my book and a must-try if you’re in the area!
– Il Laboratorio del Gelato –
Next up, Laboratorio Gelato! One of my favorite travel destinations is Italy, land of the most incredible and delicious gelato. Thus, I was one happy girl when we stumbled by Il Laboratorio Del Gelato. Situated directly across from Katz Delicatessen (“I’ll have what she’s having!”), Il Laboratorio Del Gelato offers different and unique flavors from a decadent hazelnut amaretto crunch to an exotic cactus pear and close to 300 different flavors available. A unique aspect of this gelato shop is that they have an open kitchen and are constantly creating and experimenting with new flavors. They treat their kitchen as a custom lab.
For those missing authentic Italian gelato, I highly recommend a visit to Laboratorio Gelato! You can have your classic flavors and also sample a few of their more unique and exotic flavors.
– Ample Hills Creamery –
Next stop, Ample Hills! If you’re searching for extremely sweet and decadent flavors, Ample Hills is the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Offering zany and seriously creative flavors, Ample Hills stays away from classic flavors (though they are offered) and shines in their unique flavor creations.
Each Ample Hills location features a distinct and custom flavor relative to the neighborhood, such as the “Nectar of the Queens” at their Astoria spot, a smooth honey cinnamon ice cream base mixed with generous pieces of Baklava and Galaktoboureko (creamy custard pie with a crispy filo crust) lent from local bakery, Artopolis Bakery. And they also offer pretzel cones, creating a sweet + salty flavor combination with their ice cream.
– Van Leeuwen –
Now to Van Leeuwen! Van Leeuwen first became hugely popular with their fleet of buttercup yellow ice cream trucks in New York and Los Angeles. Once they established storefronts in both cities, and in New York especially, their popularity rose even higher. Van Leeuwen offers classic flavors, but where they really shine is in their vegan ice cream.
Their vegan flavors are beautifully creamy and smooth with each flavor profile prominent. Van Leeuwen’s vegan flavors are concocted from a combination of homemade cashew milk, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference between their vegan and non-vegan flavors! Also if you’re looking for the perfect photo opportunity on a hot summer day, I can confirm that vegan ice cream does not melt as quickly in the sun as regular ice cream (scroll back to the photos from Ample Hills). My go-to vegan flavor is the Vegan Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam. It’s so good!
– Dominique Ansel –
I love love watermelon! Colin and I put it in everything. From smoothies to creating flavor water, watermelon is our go-to fruit. And that leads us to our last stop, Dominique Ansel!
Three words, watermelon soft serve! Served inside a gigantic slice of watermelon, the What-a-Melon sorbet is incredibly refreshing. At first when I took a bite, I couldn’t figure out what else was in the sorbet. The flavor profile is fizzy, reminding me of sparkling lemonade. I found out that the fizzy sensation is made out of sea salt and lime zest seasoning mixed in the watermelon sorbet! And they even add chocolate seeds on the outside of the watermelon!
This dessert is priced on the higher side at $10 a slice, but it’s seriously worth it. The portions are pretty large and it’s enough for two people to share. Dominique Ansel is only serving the What-a-Melon during the summer months, so stop by before September rolls around! It’s only served at the West Village location from 3pm-9pm on Wednesdays-Thursdays, 12pm-10pm on Fridays-Saturdays, and 12pm-9pm on Sundays.
I truly hope you enjoy this ice cream adventure! If you’re in NYC, visiting NYC, or planning a trip to NYC, feel free to bookmark this page. Wishing you a happy vibrant summer filled with joy and yummy eats!Thank you so much for reading!