Salted caramel or double ginger? Butter pecan or baby coconut? Tough calls face ice cream lovers enjoying an explosion of artisan creameries and gelaterias across the West. Handcrafted ice cream is frozen in tiny lots, often with in-season local fruit and nuts, fine organic chocolate, real vanilla beans, and uncommon flavorings (cardamom–orange peel, anyone?). “Our roasted banana contains actual bananas caramelized in brown sugar,” says Kris Hoogerhyde, co-owner and pastry chef of BI-RITE CREAMERY & BAKE SHOP in San Francisco's Mission District, biritecreamery.com .
ALOTTO GELATO Portland. Corn, cantaloupe, and chocolate-frosted yellow cake. (503) 228-1709, alottogelato.biz .
FAIRFAX SCOOP Fairfax, Calif. From vanilla honey lavender to Tomales Bay strawberry. (415) 453-3130.
GELATIAMO Seattle. Blood orange and rice (à la rice pudding). (206) 467-9563, gelatiamo.com .
ICI ICE CREAM MADE HERE Berkeley, Calif. Rose pistachio, candied Meyer lemon, sandwiches (right). (510) 665-6054, ici-icecream.com .
LUV-IT FROZEN CUSTARD Las Vegas. Classic French vanilla. (702) 384-6452, luvitfrozencustard.com .
MITCHELL'S ICE CREAM San Francisco. Avocado, baby coconut. (415) 648-2300, mitchellsicecream.com .
SUB ZERO ICE CREAM Provo, Utah, and other locations. Fruit punch, cake batter—frozen with liquid nitrogen while you watch. (801) 375-0104, subzeroicecream.com .
Photography by Maren Caruso
This article was first published in July 2007 and updated in May 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.