August—that wonderful time of year when kids go back to school, holidays desert us, and the sun is always laughing—something akin to the Joker. Sure, we might get rain to cool us off. But then the sun returns, boiling us in the post-storm steam like the crawfish we love so much. Like I said, the Joker’s laugh.
Of course, we all have our own ways to beat the heat. I like to sprawl out on the second floor landing of my house, where the best artifical wind blows from beneath my aunt’s bedroom door. But there’s one tactic that most people can agree on.
Go ahead, scream it.
And like any type of food, New Orleans has many places to choose from, not all of them chains. Below I’ve compiled a list of five ice cream brands that are locally grown. Try one or try all five—it doesn’t matter. It may be mid-August, but this is New Orleans. Batman’s not saving us from the heat anytime soon.
- Where: The original is located at 3025 Magazine Street, but a newer one opened in Lakeside Shopping Mall next to Bravos in Metairie. I visited the one in Lakeside.
- Ice Cream: Gelato (Italian ice cream)
Flavor Samples: Pistachio, Mango, Raspberry, Coconut & Chocolate, and Stracciatella Americano (vanilla with dark and milk chocolate pieces)
- Atmosphere: Modern with an upscale feel.
- Website: http://www.shopsucre.com/
Sucré brings out the classic French side of New Orleans. With its pastel color scheme, sleek design, and delicate treats lining its glass cases, Sucré will make you’ll want to say mais oui to everything. Oddly, Sucré does not advertise gelato on its website, preferring to push its macarons and chocolates. But in store, the gelato is not forgotten. Rich and creamy, it comes in an abundance of flavors, with many fruity and chocolate choices. Sucré offers a wide variety of gelato creations, such as affogato (one scoop topped with expresso) and specialty sundaes using specific flavors. Sucré also created the gelato po-boy, a New Orleans twist on this traditionally Italian ice cream: three scoops of gelato, a sweet sauce, and whipped cream sandwiched in an éclair shell. And if the gelato is not enough for you, Sucré offers many teas and coffees to wash down the sweets.
2. Creole Creamery
- Where: Uptown, 4924 Prytania Street (original) and Lakeview, 6260 Vicksburg Street
- Ice Cream: Homemade ice cream, sorbet, and sherbets
Flavor Samples: Lavender Honey, Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake, Golden Summer Fig.
- Atmosphere: Traditional ice cream parlor style, including pink walls, booths, bar stools, and a picture wall of former customers.
- Website: http://www.creolecreamery.com/
Creole Creamery is all about the ice cream and making the most unique flavors possible. Not to worry, they have regular vanilla and chocolate too, but it’d be a shame to not try a flavor you can’t get elsewhere. It’s the place to be adventurous! Chocolate lovers must check out the chocolate case, and the sherbets, which are less creamy, are not to be missed either. If you can’t decide on only one flavor, you can order the Ice Cream Sampler, which gives you four golf ball-sized scoops of your choice of flavors. The Creamery’s flavor menu is ever changing, so you never know what you may find. Yet it also has a long menu of traditional sundaes, plus certain specialties. The king of the sundaes, and possibly the largest in New Orleans, is the Tchoupitoulas, adding up to eight scoops of ice cream and eight toppings, not including the whipped cream and cherry. Take the challenge if you dare.
- Where: Mid-City, 214 N. Carrolton Ave.
- Ice cream: Cannoli and gelato
Flavor Samples: Rum Raisin, Zuppa Inglese (Rum Custard), Tira Mi Su, and Baci (chocolate/hazelnut)
- Atmosphere: Traditional ice cream parlor with an Italian flare. Has a neighborhood feel.
- Website: http://angelobrocatoicecream.com/
If Sucre strives for the upscale look and Creole Creamery goes for the casual feel, then Brocato’s falls somewhere in the middle. Like Creole Creamery, Brocato’s has a neighborhood atmosphere that attracts everyone from retired couples to high schoolers. Like Sucre, it serves not only gelato but also gourmet cookies (biscotti), pastries, and hot beverages. Brocato’s also emphasizes presentation, placing doilies under its specialty gelatos and pastries. But its uniqueness is best expressed in its specialty items. The cannoli is its number one seller, a shell of fried pastry dough stuffed with vanilla and chocolate gelato. The treat also contains pistachio nuts, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. The cannolis are entirely homemade and fixed upon order, so each one is fresh. Brocato’s also has specialty gelatos like Sciallotti and Spumoni, which are blends of different flavors of gelatos.
- Where: French Quarter, 547 St. Ann St.
- Ice Cream: Ice cream floats and sodas (with Italian soda) and specialty sundaes. Homemade ice cream.
- Atmosphere: A diner ambience with the rich culture of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral right outside the window.
- Website: http://www.stanleyrestaurant.com/
While actually a casual restaurant, Stanley’s offers a dessert menu that is largely ice cream and sorbet. They have two sundae specials, including a banana split (see below) and the Stella Uptown (Raisin Rum ice cream, carrot cake, cream cheese sauce, walnuts, whipped cream, and cherries). Also check out the ice cream sodas, made with Italian soda flavors such as blackberry, watermelon, cherry, and more.
However, Stanley’s location makes the ice cream experience even more enjoyable. With high windows lining the walls, it offers a romantic view of the cathedral, artists, and entertainers just outside. It’s a perfect place to cool off and bask in New Orleans’ atmosphere.
5. New Orleans Ice Cream
- Where: Most supermarkets in New Orleans.
- Ice Cream: Flavors only New Orleans can get away with.
Flavor Samples: Lemon Doberge Cake, Chocolate City, Praline Crunch, Satsuma Dreamsicle
- Atmosphere: A park, a friend’s house, your backyard.
- Website: http://neworleansicecream.com/
Okay, so it’s not an actual ice cream parlor, but no ice cream brand could be more New Orleans. Its packaging is stamped with a fleur de lis holding an ice cream cone, and the flavors speak of New Orleans culture and history. A few of the flavor names even point to inside jokes, such as Chocolate City. Yes, it’s a spoof off of a politician’s poor word choice, a concoction of chocolate ice cream studded with white chocolate chips. The ice cream is as rich as the names themselves, and trying one flavor leaves you wanting to try more. The only draw back to this wonderful brand is the price to quantity ratio. Most stores only sell the one-pint containers for close to $6 a piece. (You can order larger quantities online.) But ice cream is worth it, especially after a long week at work or school.