Is a vacation without ice cream really a vacation? Nope, we didn’t think so! But come on, you can’t forget tacos either. There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to some cold, creamy goodness when you’re exploring the streets of a new place. And not only has the ice cream industry started embracing trends toward fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, ice cream parlours are making a real effort to stand out from the crowd and wow their guests with the ambiance of their swoon-worthy interiors.
And because ice cream and travel go hand-in-hand, we’ve put together our top picks for the best ice cream parlours around the world. On your next trip around the globe, be sure to make a stop at one of these delectable spots!
If innovation and modern industrial design is for you, Mister is sure to be your go-to spot! From the cool, streamlined design of the space to their nitrogen-churned artisanal ice cream, Mister sure knows how to serve a scoop of cool. Their artisanal ice cream is all made in-house, using ingredients sourced from local BC farmers. With a focus on process, presentation, taste and texture, their flavours include unusual options like black coconut ash and crème brûlée, which brings this dessert to a whole new level.
Grom was founded in 2003, when two friends shared one dream: to make the best gelato in the world. And judging from their success, they’ve done it! Grom is made with the best ingredients – no preservatives, colouring agents or shortcuts. Everything their gelato makers have learned is by experimenting, making mistakes, tasting and trying again. Now a well-known gelateria with locations across the globe (including New York and Paris), Grom is a global sensation, and is definitely worth a visit!
If you’re going to travel for an ice cream shop, it may as well be travel-themed too, right? Ampersand’s sleek, modern design incorporates cool, marble whites, brass accents, pops of navy blue, and travel motifs – all coinciding with its globally-inspired menu. This gelateria specializes in creating worldly small-batch flavours like yuzu (Japan), butterfly pea & lime (Thailand), maple syrup and candied bacon (Canada) and my personal favourite, lavender (France). The “&” symbol represents all the flavours of the countries they represent around the world and pays homage to its neighbours.
Salt & Straw, Portland
As a small shop founded on part strategy, part luck, Salt & Straw is a family-run business that started from the ground up. Tyler, their head ice cream maker, was in culinary school before he started dabbling in ice cream tests he was running with his friends and family. Fast-forward a few years later, Salt & Straw is now a renowned Portland hotspot (with locations in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Anaheim), with flavours you’d never even dream of! Some of the notable ones include the ballistic bagel, pear and blue cheese, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, and avocado toast supreme! Now if those aren’t going to change your mind about dessert, we don’t know what will!
If you didn’t think vegan ice cream existed, think again! Not only is Veganista Austria’s first vegan ice cream shop, but it’s also designed with its patrons in mind. The architect-designed interior matches the sweets it serves, with pastel walls, patterned tile floors and bright, well-lit display freezers. What’s more, these dairy-free ice creams are made using natural, high-quality ingredients – you’d never know there’s no dairy! Some of their famous flavours include basil, raspberry, hazelnut, and blueberry lavender.
Gelarto Rosa, Budapest
Founded by Niki Szökrön, a former fashion model and restaurant manager, Niki decided to combine her management experience with her creativity. After learning the secret of ice cream roses at an artisanal ice cream business in Italy, Niki opened Gelarto Rosa. The gelatos and sorbets are made from natural ingredients, including Alphonso mangoes, Bronte pistachios, and vanilla from Réunion Island. To make the experience an even more memorable one, each ice cream shop is uniquely designed to mimic the style of a 1950’s-era “Tuscan grandmother’s kitchen”, giving patrons a feeling of warmth, comfort and a sense of home.
Sweet Salvation, Dubai
Travelling to Dubai? After hearing about Sweet Salvation, you may just want to! Toronto-born and globally grown, the brand’s first shop outside of Canada was designed with Instagram in mind. The shop features shades of white, black and turquoise, with bright green accents and bold monochromatic graphics lining the walls. And their desserts are just as extravagant: soft serve topped with lotus cookie, birthday cake with a candle on top, and even a flavour called Krusty the Cone, with cotton candy, sauce and rainbow sprinkles, of course! Other options include shakes, frappes, hot chocolate and take-home pints!
From Italy to Dubai, Budapest and everything in between, there’s sure to be a sweet haven for you. What are your most memorable ice cream spots you’ve travelled to? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!