Smitten Ice Cream/Facebook
Ice cream shops just about everywhere have really stepped up their game and those in the Bay Area are no different. Gone are the days of just having a few flavors and toppings available. From vegan options to nut-free choices, ice cream shops in the Bay Area are scooping up dessert and bringing it to a whole new level. Check out a few of our favorite exceptional ice cream shops in the Bay Area:
Salt and Straw
Salt & Straw Ice Cream/Facebook
Located on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, Salt and Straw is anything but your typical ice cream shop. Let’s start with the flavors — even your everyday classic flavors surpass regular chocolate and vanilla.
In this grouping you’ll find flavors like Roasted Strawberry Tres Leches and Olive Oil and Lemon Custard, just to name a few. To compliment flavors like these, the folks at Salt and Straw also add seasonal ice cream flavors that are as creative as they come. For example, there are special flavors like those in the rescued food series. These flavors focus on how leftover food can be repurposed to create some pretty mouth-watering combinations.
They were created in part with Food Runners, a local non-profit group who helped give birth to flavors like Food Runners’ Banana Bread pudding, made from extra pastries that would have otherwise been thrown away. Other seasonal flavors include Roasted Sunchoke Mock Apple Pie. This was made using organic misshapen sunchokes that were sliced up and sweetened to create this yummy treat. See what Salt and Straw has to offer daily from 11am-11pm.
Smitten Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream/Facebook
What started off as an ice cream business scooped out of a wandering wagon has turned into a business with several franchise locations, including four in San Francisco alone. Smitten Ice Cream is made from scratch using natural ingredients like fresh berries and organic milk and cream. These ingredients are churned to create a variety of flavors; blueberry lavender and cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate chipsare a few that stand out. You can also enjoy seasonal flavors like Honey Thyme.
Even the waffle cones at Smitten are derived from a house-recipe that is later hand-rolled. The only processed things you’ll find here is the actual process of making homemade products using natural, local ingredients. Smitten’s San Francisco locations can be found on Chestnut Street, California Street, Octavia Street, and Valencia Street.
Korean-based Milkcow brings premium soft-serve ice cream to dessert lovers in the Bay Area. The ice cream used here comes from free range cows that are fed Italian ryegrass.But it’s not just the ice cream that has people talking; it’s the unique toppings that also keep people coming back for more.
Top off your favorite ice cream with raw honeycomb, cotton candy, and even huge waffle-like egg puffs! Locally made macaroons as well as a honey drizzle can make your sweet treat even more delectable.
If you’re looking for fresh and natural soft-serve ice creams with handmade candies and toppings, it’s time to try Milkcow. Stop into the Freemont shop located on Auto Mall Parkway.
Dietary preferences have changed and businesses have tailored their menus to ride the wave. At Curbside Creamery, vegans don’t have to skip dessert because there are a variety options for them to indulge in here. Curbside Creamery gives a gourmet spin to old favorites and offers several of them in both traditional dairy and cashew-based vegan options.
Rocky Road, Strawberry, Mint Chip, and Pistachio are just a few of the flavors that can be enjoyed in either the traditional or vegan variety. If you’re more of a soft-serve ice cream fan, flavors range from Thai Iced Tea to a slightly nutty vanilla flavor.
Just a note, soft-serve ice cream flavors change on Thursday. Curbside Creamery also serves ice cream sandwiches and waffle cones so there’s really something for everyone. Catch your favorite daily at Curbside Creamery’s Oakland location on 49th Street.
A focus on natural and organic ingredients is what makes Ici popular in the Bay Area. Ici just celebrated its ten year anniversary, bringing sweet, non-processed treats to folks who visit the shop located on College Avenue in Berkeley. Everyday,Ici offers 11 flavors of ice creams, sorbets, and sherbets that can be enjoyed in a cup or in a hand-rolled cone with a chocolate-filled tip.
Many Ici lovers follow the shop on Twitter, where the daily flavors are posted. Vanilla-cherry almond, orange chocolate chip, vanilla crème brulee, and candied maple bacon are just a few of the flavors that pop up on the menu.
Fresh organic cones are made on the premise daily as well as bittersweet hot fudge, dark caramel sauce, and dulce de leche sauce. Besides the unique ice cream combinations and homemade toppings, Ici also features other goodies like ice cream sandwiches, cookies and candies.
The next time you’re in the mood for ice cream with a bit of a twist, grab a scoop or two from one of these Bay Area shops!