Where to Chill Out
Awesome ice creams, sorbets and gelati
701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114
Pastry chef Kris Bouley continues to wow guests with her delicious house-made ice creams. Exotic flavors like roasted banana and walnut, pecan praline, and fresh mint will tempt your sweet tooth. Even her standards, like the mouthwatering vanilla-bean-studded vanilla (it’s not overtly sweet, in good way) and her richly flavored chocolate, are well worth blowing your diet for. A couple of recent favorites include a fantastic malt white chocolate that was laced with whole white-chocolate chips and a nicely spiced nutmeg.
817 Common St., 412-2580
Now is the perfect time to visit Mila, the sleek, contemporary restaurant run by husband-wife team Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing. They are offering a terrific three-course pre-fixe lunch for a mere $20, and luckily it includes their phenomenal house-made ice creams and sorbets. While the flavors change regularly, recent sorbet winners included root beer (absolutely divine), coconut, cherry, chocolate and orange. Ice cream choices have included blueberry (yummy), cream cheese (pure bliss), banana, white chocolate–mint (a fabulous combination) and white corn (to die for!).
800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393
Chef David Slater holds brainstorming sessions with two of his pastry chefs to create new flavor ideas for his outlandishly tasty, house-made ice creams. Flavors change weekly and are based on seasonal availability of fruits. Recent choices, available as a trio for $6, which is definitely the way to go, included dark-chocolate banana, blueberry brown butter (so good), peaches and cream, fig and honey (a not-to-miss combination) and a refreshingly delightful lemon basil. Some show up on the nightly dessert specials, such as dark-chocolate pudding cake with dark-chocolate banana ice cream, caramelized butterscotch sauce and peanuts. Mmm!
1031 Decatur St., 593-0006
Chef Scott Boswell of Stella! fame created Stanley, his ultracasual, old-time diner/ice cream bar, which opened last December on Jackson Square. Stanley offers a plethora of classic soda fountain dessert options, from ice cream floats, sodas and sundaes to milk shakes and malts (if you’re a malt fan like me, this is your place!). Ice cream flavors range from the classic trio of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (all of which are quite tasty) to more unique options such as rum raisin, blueberry cheesecake (delish!) and pecan pie. Also on offer are some rather scrumptious sorbets, including mango, green apple and raspberry.
214 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-0078
This iconic ice cream parlor/pastry shop has been tempting locals with its classic Italian desserts (the cannoli are simply to die for) since 1905. Imported Sicilian flavorings, fresh, local fruits and years of expertise make Angelo Brocato’s Italian ice and gelati some of the best in town! More than 24 flavors are available at any given time and include mouthwatering flavors like amaretto, mocha and chestnut gelato. Their top-selling lemon ice is cool and refreshing, as are other seasonal flavors, including blackberry (awesome), lime, blood orange (my personal favorite) and blueberry. Brocato’s layered ice cream wedge, referred to as spumoni, is a must-try for every fan of these creamy concoctions.
3025 Magazine St., 520-8311
This charming artisan pastry, chocolate and gelato shop boasts some of the most beautiful and delicious desserts around. The gelato and sorbet collection (typically about 30 varieties available) utilize as many fresh, local ingredients as possible (including Louisiana raw sugar and Smith Creamery milk) and change flavors often according to what’s in season. Currently the gelato selection includes lemon curd (my favorite of the bunch), Sicilian pistachio (studded with whole pistachios), pineapple-pear, strawberry blossom, cantaloupe and blueberry-peach. All the sorbets here are vegan-friendly and include tasty choices such as chocolate Paris tea, coconut basil, Dreamsicle, nectar cream and blood orange. Be on the lookout for three new flavors: Abita Root Beer, bananas Foster and bread pudding. And keep your eyes peeled for the new Sucre ice cream truck that’s bringing these chilled delights right to your doorstep.
The Creole Creamery
4924 Prytania St., 894-8680
Kids squeal with delight over their delectable sundaes like peanut butter and fudge, strawberry and banana, and Cookie Monster. Fountain classics include banana splits, sundaes, milk shakes and malts and all sorts of toppings, from Butterfinger to gummy bears. But grown-ups won’t be disappointed in the enticing selection of seriously delicious ice creams, ices and sherbets (about 40 in all), from traditional flavors to unusual ones. Some of the more distinctive choices include Steen’s Molasses oatmeal cookie, red velvet cake, strawberry jalapeño cheesecake, lavender honey (a fantastic combination and one of my favorites), champagne ice (delish) and strawberry and crème fraîche sherbet.
La Divina Gelataria
3005 Magazine St., 342-2634
621 St. Peter St., 302-2692
7712 Maple St., 304-8432
Owner Carmelo Turillo developed his affinity for gelato and sorbetto while living in Italy. Fortunately for us, he returned to New Orleans and opened La Divina, a classic Italian gelataria that uses as many fresh, seasonal and organic ingredients as possible. Turillo has an impressive collection of more than 200 authentic, original recipes that he’s created over the years. His artisan creations are made daily from scratch, so flavors change often. A few of his recent gelati choices included crème brûlée, chocolate Aztec (rich chocolate kicked up with cinnamon and cayenne), Fior di Latte (sweet cream), sweet potato (tastes like sweet potato pie) and bourbon pecan. Flavor-packed and refreshing, his sorbetti are truly amazing, with flavors like blueberry basil, hibiscus lime (my favorite), mojito, orange blossom, mint julep, peach and prosecco, and plum Beaujolais.
Chillin’ at Home
The fine folks at Kleinpeter have successfully married their well-crafted ice creams with several Louisiana-made products, including Community Coffee for their café au lait, Aunt Sally’s Pralines for their pralines and cream and Elmer’s Gold Brick for their Gold Brick ice cream. In addition to classic flavors (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate), they make a divine buttered pecan, a decadent rocky road, an insanely good sweet potato spotted with tasty bits of piecrust and have just added banana pudding to their scrumptious collection.
New Orleans Ice Cream Co.
It’s all about local ingredients when it comes to New Orleans Ice Cream Co., and owner Adrian Simpson would not have it any other way. The handcrafted, artisan ice creams are smooth, creamy and simply divine! The Chocolate City (chocolate ice cream with white chocolate chips) will please the palate of any chocolate fan, while the Pontchatoula strawberry is packed with delectable bits of fresh fruit. Coffee and chicory is sure to wake up your taste buds, praline crunch blends praline-flavored ice cream with whole caramel pecans, and my personal favorite, Creole cream cheese melds in farmer’s-style cream cheese to create one succulent scoop of happiness. Let us not forget the heavenly vanilla, which in my opinion is the standard by which all ice creams should be judged.