The Sweeter Side of New York – Ice Cream!

As a kid my memories of visiting family in New York during the summer are hot and humid. And while the weather is an unavoidable factor, as an adult I’ve realized that there is so much to see and do around the city during warmer months, and equally as many good excuses to indulge in ice cream (and lots of it, especially if you are pregnant).

By no means is this an extensive list of all the many wonderful frozen treats New York has to offer – you’ll find ice cream trucks on almost every corner and concept shops like Pop BarBig Gay Ice Cream and 10Below Ice Cream to name a few, plus the newly-opened Museum of Ice Cream pop-up exhibit.  Rather, here are a just few of highlights from my most recent (hot) trip to the city.  Don’t let me twist your arm, but be sure to treat yourself at least once or twice if you find yourself in New York anytime soon.  :)

Milk Bar
Imagine a place where ice cream can play a convincing double for breakfast and then you’ve imagined Milk Bar.  The sister bakery to the famed Momofuku restaurant group attracts quite the cult following thanks to an array of treats like gigantic soft cookies, insane layer cakes and a little something called Crack Pie.  But since we were there during the heat of the afternoon, our eyes were set on the Cereal Milk soft serve.  Creamy and slightly sweet, but not too sweet, it literally tastes like the milk left at the bottom of your cereal bowl (there’s also a Fruity Cereal Milk option).  Choose from a handful of toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips or corn flakes, the latter which they’ll also add to the bottom of your cup to further recreate that familiar breakfast experience that is loved by many.

My first experience with Amorino was on Rue de la Huchette in Paris’ 5th arrondissement and it was love at first bite (fittingly, its name means “cupid” in Italian).  Over the years I’ve blissfully encountered other locations of this French gelato shop throughout Europe and now in New York.  Conceived by 2 Italians with a passion for quality and pleasure, it’s hard not to fall head over heels for tempting flavors ranging from Inimitable (chocolate and hazelnuts) to Sicilian citrus and one of my personal favorites Amarena (sweet, dark cherries).  True to its European roots, Amorinio boasts a boutique setting and is the perfect place to indulge in artisanal gelato.

There are so many reasons to visit this Italian food megastore in the Flatiron District, and even more so in the summer thanks to its gelato (a close second is the seaside-inspired rooftop restaurant and bar, Sabbia).  When the line literally wraps around the store you know the gelato at Eataly has to be good.  You’ll find an array of handcrafted flavors made from high quality ingredients, many of which are imported from the mother country – pistachios from Sicily, hazelnuts from the Piedmont region and chocolate from Turin.  Order a cup or cone, head over to the adjacent Madison Square Park and enjoy.

Because you can never have too much gelato, another place to check out in New York is Grom.  This shop is a little on the fancier side compared to the previous 2, with its bins of gelato hidden away beneath solid metal lids (reminding me slightly of the overrated San Crispino in Rome).  Grom offers a variety of striking core and special monthly flavors such as its Crema di Grom (pastry cream with corn biscuits and chocolate chips) and Cheesecake alle Amarene (with ricotta, dried cherries and cookie crumbs), all made with high quality, natural ingredients.  With a nod to tradition (its tagline come una volta implies “gelato like it used to be made”), Grom’s liquid mixtures are made in Turin, Italy and shipped to the stores where the gelato is whipped fresh daily to ensure consistency.  Twist my arm.

Mister Softee
While the previous places I mentioned are welcomed “imports” to the city, a New York tradition (for me at least) is getting a big sprinkle cone from the Mister Softee truck.  While you’ll find many ice cream trucks throughout the city, fiercely guarding their territory, I remain brand loyal to this one in particular thanks to childhood memories of their cool and refreshing vanilla soft serve, covered with just the right amount of chocolate sprinkles.  Mister Softee has been around since the 1950s, with its trucks playing a cheerful and distinctive jingle, one that was thrown around in jest in my house when one parent was being too lenient… “Da, da, da, da dah…Mister (Misses) Softee!”

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