Katherine Curry’s Journal News Ice Cream Odyssey took her on a delicious journey all around the Lower Hudson Valley this summer. Here are her picks for great ice cream in Northern Westchester, and, when available, links to her original blog posts on these venues. Take it away, Katherine:
If you care about great ice cream (or gelato, in this case), get yourself to La Tulipe as soon as possible. Seriously, don’t delay. The gelato is available year-round in containers, but the scoops are only offered from mid-May through late October. And after your first visit, you’ll want to return frequently so you can try as many flavors as possible.
This tiny European pastry shop is famous for its gorgeous cakes and confections, but the lesser-known frozen desserts are just as incredible. The gelato and sorbet are made in-house from organic milk and eggs and, whenever possible, organic fruit.
Gelato comes in flavors like rich pistachio, mint chocolate and intense vanilla. For summer, the fruit sorbets are irresistible — the strawberry has a hint of local lavender, blood orange is bright in color and flavor.
Co-owner Frances Steenman was inspired to start making gelato once her children reached ice-cream-eating age. She wasn’t a fan of all the kiddie-oriented ice cream she found, with its artificial colors and flavors, and knew her husband, co-owner Maarten Steenman, could do better.
Indeed, he has. Made fresh throughout the week, the gelato and sorbet flavors change daily — 16 are available at any given time. During my most recent visit, flavors included white peach sorbet, made with local peaches; lime sorbet, which was laced with cool fresh basil; and excellent espresso gelato.
On a hot July day, I got a cup of raspberry sorbet to go. The texture was so creamy it was hard to believe it didn’t have milk in it, and the flavor was pure raspberry, summer fruit distilled to its essence. Or, to put it more bluntly, when the sorbet was gone I found myself licking the inside of the cup.
When I wanted truly great gelato, I used to have to trek into Manhattan to one of the outposts of Grom, an artisanal Italian gelato company that makes the best gelato I’ve ever eaten. Thanks to La Tulipe, now I can save myself a trip.
Details: 455 Lexington Ave., Mount Kisco, 914-242-4555.
Katherine’s picks on other great ice cream spots in Northern Westchester, after the jump…
At this kid-themed Italian restaurant, there’s great food, an arcade and a gelato counter with a dozen flavors of house-made gelato. A kid-pleaser is the bright pink bubble gum gelato. Grown-up palates should stick to flavors like zesty lemon sorbet and biscotti gelato, laced with threads of dark chocolate and crushed cookie.
Details: 153 Main St., Mount Kisco, 914-241-1200.
You can’t miss the giant smiling ice cream cone atop this old roadside ice cream stand. The soft-serve is custard, but it tastes more like basic soft-serve. Nevertheless, savoring a cone at one of the picnic tables while the kids play in the sandbox is the nostalgic summation of an American summer evening.
Details: 109 Route 100, Somers, 914-232-0571.
Part ice cream parlor, part sports memorabilia store, Last Licks serves brightly colored, sweet ice cream (sometimes with a sports theme), custom-made for the stores. If you’ve got a super sweet tooth, try the S’Moreo, created by Scarsdale High School’s class of 2007 — it’s chocolate ice cream with cookies, marshmallows and graham crackers.
Details: 395 Main St., Armonk, 914-273-3551.
Fasten your seatbelts for a trip back in time. This 1950s-style candy shop and soda fountain serves Schrafft’s ice cream. Yes, Schrafft’s, the long-gone restaurant chain that shows up in “Breakfast at Tiffanys.” Also on scoop: four flavors of creamy, super-premium Sedutto gelato. A convenient spot for an ice cream float after dinner at one of the shopping plaza’s restaurants.
Details: 632 Columbus Ave., Thornwood, 914-747-0029.
Roc N Roe’s Pop Shop
Familiar Longford’s ice cream and gelato is what you’ll find at this retro-themed candy shop-ice cream parlor that’s popular with kids and teens alike. But this is a welcome ice cream outpost in the northern suburbs, in large part because it stays open until 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Details: 11 Wheeler Ave., Pleasantville, 914-747-9797
Alas, there’s no homemade ice cream here — this tiny ice cream shop serves plain old Edy’s and Perry’s ice cream (of upstate New York), so go for the small-town ambiance, not the ice cream.
Details: 28 Valley Road, Katonah. 914-767-3770.
We love the gelato and sorbet at this casual, inventive eatery at the Mount Kisco train station. Made for Via Vanti by Long Island-based Baci, it’s available in 18 flavors made fresh daily. A scoop isn’t cheap ($4.75), but it’s a worthwhile splurge. Some of our summer favorites are raspberry mascarpone, tangy blueberry crème fraiche gelato and blackberry Merlot sorbet. Stop in and check out the store’s adorable “Dogs in Party Hats’ contest and fundraiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Details: 2 Kirby Plaza, Mount Kisco, 914-666-6400.