Boston has always loved ice cream. In her 1893 classic “Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book,” Mary J. Lincoln, one of the founders of the Boston Cooking School and Fannie Farmer’s teacher, wrote “a good ice-cream freezer should be in every kitchen.” The book featured recipes ranging from banana ice cream to tutti frutti. Today, the wealth of local ice cream shops scooping hundreds of flavors render such advice obsolete.
5: J.P. Licks
Opened in 1981 in owner Vince Petryk’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood (and now boasting a dozen other locations, including Charles Street in Beacon Hill and in Harvard Square), J.P. Licks is known for its smiling Holstein cow logo, sacred and profane flavors ranging from cappuccino crunch, peanut butter cookies ‘n’ cream and Meyers’s Rum raisin to Bloody Virgin Mary sorbet.
1106 Boylston St., Boston, 857.233.5805
4: Emack & Bolio’s
Founded in the Coolidge Corner section of Brookline back in 1975 by a rock-music-loving lawyer and named after two of his homeless clients, today Emack & Bolio’s boasts locations across Eastern Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, New York and, more recently, United Arab Emirates and Thailand. Yes, you can enjoy chocolate moose, grasshopper pie, bananas foster, white pistachio nut and E&B’s popular new ice cream pizza—ice cream that looks like a pizza rather than tastes like one—here and on your next trip to Abu Dhabi.
290 Newbury St., Boston, 617.536.7127
Once lauded as “the world’s best ice cream” by The New York Times, Toscanini’s has been dishing out ice cream since 1981 with flavors including burnt caramel, 3B’s (brown butter, brown sugar, brownie), Earl Grey, grapefruit, malted barley, honey oatmeal and Thin Mint. How much do locals love Tosci’s? When the store ran into tax trouble a few years back, customers raised more than $30,000 in one week to bail it out.
899 Main St., Cambridge, 617.491.5877
If you’re Rick Katz, the punctilious former corporate pastry chef at Legal Sea Foods, and your restaurant name is an acronym for Pizza & Ice Cream Company, then the ice cream and sorbet you make must be top-notch. Choose from PICCO's honey, mint chip, coconut chip, peanut butter chip or dark chocolate or strawberry sorbet. If you're over 21 years of age, order an “adult” ice cream soda: Raspberry Belgian Lambic poured over a scoop of vanilla.
513 Tremont St., Boston, 617.927.0066
1: Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream
Christina’s always stocks 50 flavors (including at least five nondairy sorbets), many of which use ingredients from sibling store Christina’s Spice and Specialty Foods emporium, just down the street (and worth a visit itself). Though flavors such as apple pie, eggnog and fresh mint pop up seasonally, you’ll almost always find stalwarts, including adzuki bean, carrot cake, coconut butterfinger, ginger and herbal chai.
1255 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617.492.7021