Summer is fast approaching, and if you find yourself in Portmouth, NH, you know that nothing tops the afternoon better than ice cream in one of the city’s famous parlors. Actually, anywhere in America, the staple street food is ice cream come July. Aside from the Independence Day craze, the weather just calls for it. This is why it’s such a good thing that the country is dotted with ice cream parlors which can give you a cool respite from the heat.

Below is a list of the parlors which serve the most to-die-for ice cream fixes. If you’re battling a 97ºF heat from where you’re sitting, you know that there’s no better tour worth taking than an ice cream tour. We invite you to indulge your taste buds with us as we search for the best tasting and coldest ice creams in the land.

Richardson’s Ice Cream

If you ever find yourself in Massachusetts and you’re looking for a quick fix to get rid of the heat rage, drive by Richardson’s Ice Cream. This was just a small ice cream stand in 1952. Now, thanks to its loyal customers, it now has eleven service windows which serve old fashioned frappes (milkshake, if you will), and unmatched ice cream sodas.

Fans testify that their strawberry ice cream tops the list. They say it’s the absolute, iconic taste of summer in America.

Ici Ice Cream

With its base in California, Ici Ice Cream attracts hordes of ice cream lovers, thanks to its Chef Mary Canales. The joint serves a fine fusion of more traditional ice cream dishes (rootbeer floats and ice cream sodas), and lighter, gourmet contemporaries. Among the favorite gourmet flavors are brandied cherry and burnt caramel.

And the parlor can certainly boast that they have something new to offer every day. Eleven flavors are chosen from their collection, and the pastry-ice cream dishes that will welcome you will depend on the creative innovations of the Chef herself. These ice cream dishes as healthy too. They’re made from Clover Organic Dairy’s milk and Soul Food eggs.

If you’re having afterthoughts about the parlor’s rather adventurous flavors, you should try the Rose. This is a light flavor that anyone will surely appreciate, and it spells the perfect summer afternoon in San Francisco.

Gray’s Ice Cream

The best ice cream parlor in Rhode’s Island is, hands down, Gray’s Ice Cream. You don’t believe us? Then you’d have to believe its fans which have kept the parlor alive since 1923. This parlor sits just across the river from New Port, and was originally the home of former owner Annie Gray. Today, the parlor is run by Marilyn Dennis, but the current owner swears that she kept the staples in the menu just in case old timers decide to visit.

Welcome hybrids from the joint’s classics include the strawberry cheesecake. Their best seller, though, is the frozen pudding. This is a rum-based ice cream dish with generous portions of apricots and raisins. This is a proud Gray tradition, and it’s certainly not something you’d come across anywhere else in the country.

Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream

While there are certainly a lot of couture ice cream places in Chicago, none of the can top Illinois’s Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream. This parlor is one of the oldest ice cream shops in the area, and it has been raking customers since 1935. Here, you’ll get the traditional hearty ice cream dishes that Al Capone used to enjoy.

Their Rocky Road is always a crowd pleaser, what with the generous serving of chocolate ice cream blended with marshmallows and almonds. This dish, along with a lot of other classics, brings in homegrown Chicago residents and tourists alike. Their menu is a true American fest.

Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream

In New Hampshire, just along the Portsmouth Harbor, you’ll find Annabelle’s Ice Cream. This is another iconic ice cream joint which serves a pretty popular Blackberry flavor. The place owned by a retired doctor named Lewis Palosky who fancies himself more of an artist than a business man.

While the Blueberry ice cream of Annabelle’s draws crowds, we’ve discovered that their simpler French Vanilla is actually what keeps customers coming back. The flavor of the French Vanilla ice cream is indescribable. It’s just so clean that it seems to be a
byproduct of some sort of mysterious culinary alchemy. Go figure. The fact is that it’s extraordinary.

Angelo Brocato Ice Cream and Confectionary

Let’s face it, the best ice cream parlors in the USA have pretty strong Italian heritages to speak of. Angelo Brocato Ice Cream and Confectionary is no different. Sitting in Louisiana, the place has been satisfying huge crowds of ice cream lovers since 1905. Italian delights like the lemon ice, amaretto, almond biscotti, cannolis and gelato have been mainstays in the New Orleans menu.

The parlor’s peach ice is especially popular in the summer. If you’re driving by the joint, though, and you’re not staying in Louisiana for long, you should order Spumoni. This pistachio ice cream dish is served with a wedge lemon and tutti-frutti. Topping it is a generous serving of whipped cream.

Matsumoto Shave Ice

In Hawaii, you don’t need cream to make great iced treats. You just need shaved ice and some syrup. The favorite ice cream place in the island is Matsumoto Shave Ice. The parlor sits on the north shore and has been running a pretty successful business for 50 years.

Matsumoto doesn’t just give you the run-of-the-mill shaved ice and plain colored syrup, either. You can choose from a variety of flavors including passion fruit, guava, and pineapple. The classic cone comes with vanilla ice cream and sweetened red beans. The joint’s most impressive flavor for their shaved ice, though, is lychee. When you pair this with vanilla ice cream and sweetened red beans, it will surely blow your mind.

Ben and Jerry’s

If you want to have the best ice cream experience ever, you should visit Ben and Jerry’s at Vermont. They’re especially popular with kids, what with real cows in their Cow Over the Moon theatre. Their Flavor Graveyard also offers interesting ice cream dishes like the Rainforest Crunch. Watch out for their annual specials, too. Last year, they introduced the 2009 favorites Chocolate Macadamia and Mission to Marzipan.

If you don’t mind sharing the empire with a lot of ice cream loving kids, a trip here would certainly be an afternoon to remember.



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