By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer
Ice cream season has officially begun and we’ve set out to find the tastiest, most interesting flavors in the city.
Whether you’re chasing down your local ice cream man, looking for a treat while watching a ballgame or headed out for a date night centered around what’s atop your cone, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re looking for variety, Jeni’s Splen did Ice Creams, 1419 N. Wells St., takes the cake—and the cake-flavored ice cream. The team at Jeni’s focuses on the atmosphere and experience just as much as the flavors and quality of their creamy cups and cones.
The company describes their design as “really great ice cream served perfectly in a sparkling and beautiful space, with attentive and in-the-moment service,” and they
Jeni’s is sold in a sleek, orange and white shop adorned with twinkling white lights, and a team of employees who are willing to let you sample as many flavors as your heart desires.
Despite the sampling, it’s hard to pick a flavor from their long list. But luckily, you don’t have to. Jeni’s offers ice cream “flights”—scoops of three flavors for $6. (Pro tip: an additional scoop is just $1, so spring for the $7 option to try four flavors. That’s what we did—twice.)
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams offer an array of delicious flavors, with four scoops served in a tray as part of their “ice cream flights” for $6. Photo by Taylor Hartz
With two four scoop flights, totaling $14, we enjoyed brambleberry crisp, goat cheese with cherries, honey pie, ricotta toast with jam, coffee with cream and sugar, wildberry lavender, salty caramel and blueberry lemon frozen yogurt. That’s right—cheese in ice cream. Isn’t that something we all want to try?
Goat cheese with cherries was a perfect mix of savory and sweet with chunks of perfectly flavored fruit, while strictly sweet flavors like honey pie were buttery and delicious.
Though the flavor options could be talked about all night, the texture of these scoops is a whole other topic to explore. Jeni’s ice cream is unbelievably smooth compared to most ice cream brands, it makes you wonder what you’ve been doing all your ice cream-loving life.
Each scoop offers “a uniquely smooth texture and buttercream body, with bright flavor and clean finish,” according to Jeni’s. The company doesn’t use any synthetic flavorings, dyes or pre-made mixes, but instead opts for stabilizers and emulsifiers that create a unique consistency and leave you with a clean palate after every bite.
If you’re looking for a romantic, inexpensive date idea this summer, you can’t beat the iconic Riverwalk. Strolling along the Chicago River is a must-do in the warmer months and there are plenty of fun destinations popping up along the path for drinks, dinner and dessert.
At Frost Gelato, 151 W. Riverwalk, you can check out a stunning display of whipped, swirled, colorful gelatos adorned with exotic flowers as you choose from their lengthy list of flavors to put the cherry on top of your night out by the water.
On their regular menu, gelato lovers can choose from more than 60 flavors, ranging from bubble gum and toasted marshmallow to marble black cherry and cinnamon apple pie.
The shop also features flavors of the month to keep things even more interesting. The specials for May included margarita, mango green chilli and spicy chocolate.
Margarita isn’t the only drink-inspired flavor they’ve got either, with flavors like root beer, pina colada, green and chai teas, Guinness, Bailey’s buttercream, eggnog and espresso offered daily.
As if the extensive list of gelato flavors didn’t make the decision hard enough— there’s more. The shop also has a few dozen sorbet flavors for those with a fruitier palate. In
addition to blackberry, kiwi and green apple, the shop offers some unexpected fruit flavors, like papaya, pear riesling and strawberry champagne.
Frost Gelato isn’t open yet for the season, as it is revamping its space for a new, bigger location on the Riverwalk—the “Water Plaza” section between Wells and LaSalle streets.
They expect to open their doors by mid-July.
Just a few blocks away in River North, stop by Firecakes Donuts at 68 W. Hubbard St. for a snack that’s even sweeter than ice cream. At Firecakes, you can still get your ice cream fix, wedged between two donuts. That’s right, the specialty here is a donut ice cream sandwich—a slab of vanilla, chocolate or coconut ice cream in between two glazed donuts covered in hot fudge.
Last but not least, we checked out Cone Gourmet Ice Cream at 1047 W.
Madison St. Flavors like the bright blue Cookie Monster are a perfect way to brighten up your summer day with a little color, while flavors like “snickering apples” (Snickers ice cream with apples) and “leprechaun tracks” are one of a kind.
We tried the super sweet “Netflix and Chill” and the tart orange “Zootopia” filled
with rainbow sprinkles. “Delicious.”
The shop also offers a variety of hand-scooped ice cream sandwiches and has non-dairy options, like watermelon sorbetto, available every day.
All ice creams at Cone can be served in a cup, on a cone, or on cookie cones or waffle cones and can be smothered in a variety of toppings, like gummy worms, graham crackers, Irish flake pieces or reeces, or be served “shamrock style,” covered in Lucky Charms.
Also, don’t miss their other cool treats like the frozen banana or frozen cheese- cake on a stick.
Published June 4