Ah, ice cream! It's a universally beloved frozen dessert, but in the practically perpetual sunshine of Los Angeles, even more so. There are few days when it seems too cold to lick a cone of the creamy goodness. Sure, frozen yogurt has had its trendy moment among rail-thin actresses and health nuts, but it seems like the pendulum has swung back to the rich indulgence of real ice cream, albeit of the high-quality, handmade variety. At these five popular parlors, the dairy is organic, the produce is seasonal and local, and the ice cream is crafted in small batches. The flavor offerings reflect the multiculturalism of Los Angeles, whether that means incorporating Indian spices or tropical fruit. Ice cream "chefs" are pushing the boundaries of what you'd typically expect to find in a sweet treat; you might stumble upon outlandish ingredients from wasabi to bone marrow. Get ready to scream!
Salt & Straw
This Portland-based purveyor of artisanal ice cream recently opened its first LA shop to much fanfare. The "farm-to-cone" ice cream is made onsite in small batches with local, seasonal produce; hand churning renders it exceptionally dense. Expect flavors like California peaches with lemon crumble, cinnamon apple doughnut, and sweet corn buttermilk.
Think of the wildest ice cream flavor you can imagine, write it on the Scoops chalkboard, and you just might see it in the ice cream case the following week. This renegade ice creamery experiments with off-the-wall flavors, like salty ricotta, sweet potato burnt sugar, and brown bread. Vegan options available.
Sweet Rose Creamery
The ice cream here tastes just like it might in a small town. Everything−from the small-batch ice creams to the homemade marshmallows to the waffle cones−is crafted from scratch. Weekly farmers’ market trips determine the seasonally rotating flavors, from classic mint chocolate chip to gourmet fig jam with goat cheese.
Ice cream seems like less of a guilty pleasure at this one-of-a-kind shop, where it's churned by bicycle! Join their Peddler's Club to pitch in, burning calories and reducing your carbon footprint along the way. Organic dairy and local ingredients are employed in exotic flavors from cardamom to vegan chili mango.
You might feel like you're biting into a garden at this ice cream parlor where fresh herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits guide the flavor creations. Rose petal, lavender honey, and lemon verbena vanilla are just a few seasonal examples. If you're not a floral fan, try salted caramel or dark chocolate cacao.