Seven Favorite Spots for Ice Cream on #NationalIceCreamDay

Could have done five, but why not add some extra scoops?

In no particular order, here are my seven favorite places for ice cream I’d recommend on this day where we all scream for good reason — National Ice Cream Day:

FENTON’S CREAMERY (Oakland, CA)

Nestled in downtown Oakland for over a hundred years, many from out of town aren’t aware of the perfect spot to take in some handcrafted ice cream right before an Athletics game. Beyond rich in tradition, the choices are rich in flavor along with the old fashioned ice cream parlor vibe. The Blueberry Cheesecake, with its embedded crust, that you see pictured at the bottom of these (two?!?) scoops is what I’d seek out for seconds.

GRAETER’S ICE CREAM (Cincinnati, OH and other Midwestern cities)

These folks know what they’re doing and are on the cusp of celebrating their sesquicentennial in business. A point of pride in Ohio, the unique French Pot Ice Cream Process sets any flavor with chocolate chips apart. Shown above is the seasonal Orange & Cream Chocolate Chip flavor, but you cannot go wrong with anything else with chips like Banana, Mint, or their staple Black Raspberry.

McCONNELL’S FINE ICE CREAMS (Santa Barbara, CA and others in the Channel Counties)

Perhaps the richest of all the ice creams out there, McConnell’s uses the highest butter fat in the industry and combines them with premium ingredients to make something excellent. Both Chocolate and Vanilla in their own right are outstanding. A #ProTip is that you can also get this ice cream in a few, select locations in the L.A. area (such as Grand Central Market).

MAYFIELD DAIRY (Athens, TN and surrounding Southern states)

With tours offered in where they began in Athens or outside of Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, you can go straight to the source for a full variety of flavors. If you’re lucky enough to have that chance or get a solid assortment in a grocer’s freezer, the winning play is to go after the Blueberry Cheesecake with its pieces of crust that make for an unreal texture and flavor.

MSU DAIRY STORE (East Lansing, MI)

If you were lucky enough to go to a school that has its own dairy on campus, you know what I mean. With the agricultural focus at Michigan State, there is real expertise that goes into putting the product together. The students who work here know what they’re doing (you can go see the facility for yourself), and it results in the best texture of the base ice cream that I’ve seen around the country. My best bets here are the Iowa (Banana Chocolate Chunk) and Michigan (Maize & Berry Pie) flavors.

PLAINWELL ICE CREAM CO. (Plainwell, MI)

Hidden inside this small town is an ice cream shop open seasonally that is a local’s secret. Sporting superior texture and great flavors, this spot brings generations of families back. The one flavor to absolutely try, though, is the Lemon Chiffon. You’re welcome.

HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & PIE KITCHEN (Louisville, KY)

It’s not just the ice cream here, but that’s for another time. The assortment of everything available at these stores is amazing. Their ice cream flavors are all made from scratch, and they are the last place left in Kentucky to do so. When Lemon ice cream is in stock, that’s where I’d go.


EXTRA SCOOP…

DISNEYLAND’S GIBSON GIRL ICE CREAM PARLOR (Anaheim, CA)

Here’s your extra scoop. Since it’s only available around Christmas time, the Peppermint ice cream shown above — complete with a candy cane-coated cone — is a spectacular and mandatory purchase if you’re in the park for the holidays.


Of course, there are many outstanding ice cream products, companies, and brands not listed above. This brief list is based only on places I’ve been fortunate enough to sample personally.

Have any other great ice cream spots you love? Feel free to share!