When the sun is high in the sky, and the thermometer's read-out is too much to handle, a trip to the ice cream shop is a welcome respite. It makes sense that National Ice Cream Day is at the height of summer on July 18, and it celebrates so much more than basic chocolate and vanilla. Vegan and artisan flavors are all the rage this summer. Cool off at these Atlanta spots.
In the Ponce City Market, there's a fun and funky gelato joint called Honeysuckle Gelato. What started as a food truck, which is now retired, has become a multi-state sensation with nationwide shipping. Feel good ordering a scoop because 5% of the companywide profits go to Feeding America. Available flavors rotate, but common gelatos include brown butter crunch, lemon basil blackberry, honey lavender, and vegan chocolate brownie chunk. Mix and match one to two scoops for a "Good Day" for $4.25 or one to three scoops for a "Better Day" for $6 (prices do not include tax and gratuity). Enjoy a handheld experience with a gelato sandwich ($5) in dreamy, creamy flavors like salted caramel brownie or butter pecan blondie. Want to get weird and creative? The West End Honeysuckle location is currently operating its retail window as a test kitchen for new and exciting flavors.
Butter & Cream
Homemade in small batches in the hometown. That's the philosophy at Butter & Cream in Decatur and on the Beltline. The flavors offer unique, modern twists on old favorites using real cream and the freshest ingredients. Butter & Cream even makes all of the inclusions in its flavors like brownies, cookies, toffee, and sauces. You can't go wrong on National Ice Cream Day with one of the signature flavors like "Midnight Snacks" made with sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese ice cream filled with pieces of chocolate chip cookie, brownie, chocolate-covered cake, and dulce de leche swirls. Seasonal flavors like bourbon barrel-aged vanilla, green tea ginger, and buttered cinnamon rum are so good you'll still be craving them when the seasonal menu changes! You can also top any cup or cone with homemade peanut butter cups, toffee cone bits, or hot fudge. Butter & Cream also makes sorbets, shakes, malts, and ice cream sandwiches.
Add a dash of whimsy to your next scoop at Frosty Caboose. The caboose may be the last car on the train, but it should be your first stop for ice cream made with local ingredients. Located near the Norfolk Southern Rail Line, Frosty Caboose is also the best place in Atlanta to train spot. The ice cream, sorbet, yogurt, sherbet, and Italian ice menu rotate daily. Top your flavor of choice with fruit, candy, sprinkles, nuts, marshmallows, or hot fudge. Can't decide? Go to the website and check out the astrological ice cream guide. Pisces get salted caramel and Leos rainbow sherbet.
Owner Paolo Dalla Zorza hails from Treviso, Italy, and is bringing a taste of his homeland to Atlanta. Paolo's Gelato offers more than 62 flavors in a rainbow of colors. Flavors are divided by base ingredients like chocolate, nuts, or fruit. Taste Italy and order the rose, jasmine, red or white wine, or limoncello flavors. Another truly Italian flavor is the "Zabaione," which is made with egg yolks and sweet Marsala wine. The end result is custardy and sweet with Marsala overtones. The peach gelato is one of the best in town, which is lucky considering it's the Georgia state fruit.
More than just an ice cream joint, Sweet-Stack Creamery is a full-on dessert bar in the Sweet Auburn Historic District offering ice cream, cookies, and doughnut sandwiches. The ice cream flavor list is small but mighty, with classics and a few modern twists. "Amber Rose" is a pink cotton candy-flavored cream, but there's a surprise! Red and blue Pop Rocks are hidden inside and will explode on contact! Missed breakfast? Order "Cereal Milk," traditional vanilla ice cream with Fruit Loops. If you're dairy-free, there are three vegan flavors (warning, all-vegan flavors contain cashews) like "French Press" (coconut cream and cane sugar), "Let The Man Go" (mango), and traditional vanilla. Stack your dessert high and put your favorite flavor on a doughnut bun.
Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream
Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream became a local sensation when it opened its doors in 2008 and a national sensation when it was named the 4th best ice cream shop in America by Bon Appétit Magazine in 2009. Late-night host Conan O'Brien even came and scooped for the public on his show because he's such a fan of the award-winning salted caramel ice cream. Flavors rotate, but the salted caramel is available all the time (just in case Conan comes back to town). Other rotating flavors include ginger lavender, Oreo, peanut butter caramel crunch, mint chip, and banana cream pie. The Oreo flavor is also available using oat milk to make it non-dairy-friendly. If you're throwing a party for National Ice Cream Day, order an ice cream cake to take home.