Originally published in the July 2010 issue of Out.
In the United Kingdom, "ice-cream weather" is a meteorological term signifying that time of year when wind-chilled Brits put away their thermals. But at Jeni?s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio, the concept of ice cream weather has been taken one step further. If you?re there in spring, it could mean rhubarb rose ice cream or goat?s cheese with roasted red cherries?two elegant seasonal flavors that will most likely be gone by the fall, when autumnal ingredients such as squash or orchard fruits push them aside. By sourcing many of her ingredients from local organic farms, Jeni Britton Bauer has found a natural unity between ice cream and the farmer?s market, with flavors that are fresh and bold without sacrificing indulgence. But even if her Riesling poached pear sorbet is not for you, midcentury classics such as brown butter almond brittle risk spoiling you for life. Supermarket-brand butter pecan, you are dead to us!
1. Jeni?s Splendid Ice Creams
The apotheosis of quality—100% organic grass-fed milk from local dairies—and creativity makes Jeni?s the best ice cream in America. Available online.
Crowd pleasers: salty caramel, Thai chili
2. Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop
Using milk from the small, organic, family-owned Straus Family Creamery, Bi-Rite is a Mission must.
Crowd pleaser: spicy Mexican chocolate
3. Capogiro Gelato
The word gelato gets thrown around all too easily, but this small Philly chain is the real deal, with seasonal flavors such as quince and blackberry drawn from Pennsylvania?s abundant farmlands.
Crowd pleasers: strawberries with cream, rosemary honey goat?s milk
4. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
New York City
Two summers after Ben Van Leeuwen started selling his own organic ice cream out of a refurbished postal truck in SoHo, New York, the 26-year-old has opened his first store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Crowd pleasers: red currant, hazelnut