10 best ice creams for licking the heat

It's difficult to O.D. on ice cream. But you can try.

It's difficult to O.D. on ice cream. But you can try.

Could it be? Is that really, truly summertime out there? We had thought permawinter dug in for good with its long, cold, gnarly fingers and set up some deep, unyankable roots.

And just as we rely upon whiskey to stave off the chill, we can also cool down from the inside out with the one sweet treat that knows no foe. Everyone loves it, some even say we all scream for it, though that's a little extreme. Instead, read on, then get some. That will suffice.

See also: Best Ice Cream Minneapolis 2015 - Izzy's


10. Hola Arepa Chef/owner Christina Nguyen says she feels like she's shopping for children when picking up ingredients for her pastry chef. "It's like Corn Pops, sprinkles, Fritos!" Sounds like they're doing it the right way, because yeah, you can go ahead and keep the lavender, toothpaste, and anise dust out of my treat, you fancy grown-up pastry chefs, you. And because of this attention to frivolity, their ice cream sandwich is legendary: Corn cookies are fashioned from the above mentioned Fritos, Corn Pops, butterscotch, chocolate chips, and coffee, with good vanilla ice cream squidged inside.

9. World Street Kitchen Never one to leave well enough alone, Sameh Wadi knew when he opened World Street Kitchen that he would have soft serve, and have it like no one else. Salted caramel with marshmallow and smoked, chocolate-dusted almonds is his version of Rocky Road, and there's passionfruit and mango lassi with apricot chutney for the other side of the flavor spectrum. "Mary Lou," the soft serve machine, puts out very little air, so she's no windbag — meaning the end product is super dense, super rich, and super delicious.

8. Nelson's Does a single rose have the same impact as one dozen? No, it does not. Why listen to Zeppelin without cranking it to 11? Would you fly coach if you could instead stretch out those long legs of yours? Certain things in life are not worth having unless we are having a lot. Turn your nose up at Nelson's, beloved for its gargantuan portion sizes, if you will, but then turn back around and bury your face in the bowl. Even the kiddie portion is more than enough, and the Lumberjack is five "softball sized" scoops. Go big, as they always say, or go home.

The mango lassi at WSK

The mango lassi at WSK

7. Pumphouse Creamery Put down that Lara bar! It's a no-brainer that properly made ice cream needs to be made with all-natural ingredients these days, but you haven't had ice cream quite this honorable before. With cones made from locally milled whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds, you're gonna feel downright righteous going out for ice cream. Non-dairy coconut milk-based ice creams for the lactose intolerant, three different chocolate ice creams from three different chocolates around the world, and doggie ice cream made with just milk and peanut butter are three more offerings that make Pumphouse the world's most interesting, most accommodating ice cream shop.

6. Cold Front First it was Lynden's Soda Fountain, and as much as we loved the egg creams and old-timey candies, it was time to infuse the place with a bit of oomph, and that's just what Cold Front has done. They were a man and a woman who fell in love over their love of ice cream — really — and their storefront is a better manifestation of their love than a baby, as far as I'm concerned. Keep your babies, people, but give us the Lime Rickeys, the cola floats, and the phosphates, all made with best-in-class all-natural sodas, but also candied bacon and saltines for sundae toppings, and an all-you-can-drink-all-the-time coffee program for those serious so-and-so's with no time for sweets. And yes, the egg creams are still there.

5. Grand Ole Creamery Because we never tire of the notion of a treat within a treat, the little functional malted milk ball at the bottom of the GOC cone both prevents dripping and proffers extra delight when the bittersweet moment of the final bite inevitably arrives. Also, don't overlook GOC pizzeria, constructing surprisingly competent pies, because there is no finer pairing in the world's culinary repertoire, at least when imbibing isn't an option.

4. Izzy's Who can choose just one? We're convinced that Izzy's wins all the best-of lists not just because of their small-batch super-premium handmade ice creams, but also because they indulge the petulant, never satisfied, always indecisive child inside of us all. Their now-trademarked "Izzy Scoop" lets you have that little three-quarter-ounce second flavor that you'd otherwise be wondering if you "shoulda had." Chocolate, with a little cherries jubilee on top?

3. Sonny's/ =Crema Cafe The so-wholesome-it-hurts story: Sonny Siron, son of Italian parents who settled in Minneapolis, returned from World War II, went to work at an ice cream shop as a young man, met a beauty named Joan, and the two opened a shop of their own and raised a family on the profits, back when such things were possible. And like you do when such things are possible, you raise kids who pick up the reins. Their ice cream is always handmade, with real fruit, real sugar, local butter and cream, since 1945, and they say the spirit of Sonny is in the very beams of the place.

2. Sebastian Joe's Standing at an intersection with enough booze to make a Midwestern Bourbon Street, Sebastian Joe's is a font of innocence, a place built for sugar-induced frolic. The long corridor between dining room and counter is a genius architectural design, populated almost constantly with sticky bodies in hopes of scoring some Oreo or Pavarotti (banana/caramel/chocolate) or their signature raspberry chocolate chip. Carry your handmade treat to the cobblestone alley festooned with twinkle lights for a starry-eyed glimpse into the Italian custom of standing around, eating gelato in the street.

1. Sweet Science Super premium ice creams used to be relegated to a couple of names in the biz, Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's, and now they are about as common as the name John — very common. But here we're always searching for the best of the best, and currently nobody's doing it better than Sweet Science. They mix all the stuff you love: organic, grass-fed cow's milk, organic sugar, locally grown and manufactured flavoring agents like Fulton beer or Verdant Tea, and then they apply techniques gleaned at the U of M food science department to impart the densest, creamiest, most perfectly textured ice cream imaginable. Because science.

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