Sweet Sensations: The Haute 5 Ice Cream Shops in Philadelphia

While I’m perfectly content to dive into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia mid-blizzard, for most ice cream is a sweet summer indulgence. Philadelphia and the ‘burbs have both embraced the creamy, rich treat and are home to a number of shops that focus on local dairy, quality flavors and a dash of creativity. Check out one of these haute parlors next time the sweet tooth kicks in.

Photo by D. Swanson for GPTMC

The Franklin Fountain

Ice cream has a way of transporting us back to childhood. At The Franklin Fountain, they go back a little further. Fashioned after a 1920s soda fountain, the storefront features antiques collected by the owners, a tin ceiling and marble-topped counter. The menu is an alluring blend of old and new school, with double shot espresso sundaes meeting Moxie, the must-have soda for the turn-of-the-century crowd. The ice cream is made of locally sourced ingredients and comes in both classic and more modern flavors, including a delish maple walnut. Not sure what I love more: the waffle ice cream sandwich or the soda jerk in his adorable bow tie.

The Franklin Fountain is located at 116 Market Street, Philadelphia, 215.627.1899, www.franklinfountain.com

Capogiro Gelato Artisans

OK, so it’s not ice cream. But Italy’s frozen treat knocks the socks off many a supermarket gallon. Made the old fashioned way with local, seasonal ingredients by a couple with roots in the boot, the concoctions served up here are like little balls of super-flavored happiness. The ever changing menu requires visitors to have a few free samples before selecting. I’m a sucker for Nocciola — a decadent Piedmont hazelnut — but am easily swayed by the surprise mixes like Cucumber with Grey Goose Vodka or Peach and Southern Comfort. Happy Hour at the ice cream parlor sounds good to me.

Capogiro Gelato Artisans is located at 119 South 13th Street, 215.351.0900, 117 South 20th Street, 215.636.9250, 3925 Walnut Street, 215.222.0252 and 1625 East Passyunk Avenue, 215.462.3790, all in Philadelphia, www.capogirogelato.com

Bassett’s Ice Cream

Philadelphia is a city full of history, so perhaps then its no surprise that its also home to America’s oldest ice cream. Bassett’s has been around since 1861, and its retail location within the foodie dream that is Reading Terminal Market has been open since the market itself set up in 1893. Still owned by the same family, Bassett’s ice cream is one of those simple pleasures in life. Try champagne sorbet or a zesty cinnamon blend. Most recent to the fold is the Guatemalan Ripple: coffee ice cream with mocha fudge ripple and mini coffee-filled chocolates designed by WMMR’s Preston & Steve.

Bassett’s Ice Cream is located at 45 North 12th Street inside Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia, 215.925.4315, www.bassettsicecream.com

Uncle Dave’s Homemade Ice Cream

Double scoop ice cream cones always remind me of childhood summers spent lazily in the sun, and no area ice cream shop replicates that experience quite like Uncle Dave’s. Located within the popular family spot Shady Brook Farms up in Bucks County, the stand serves up straight ice cream with no frills but plenty of flavor. Lovingly prepared from scratch, each option of the menu board is like a trip down memory lane. In these instances I automatically go for the classic mint chocolate chip, but be sure to check out the popular seasonal blends like Blueberry Bloomfield.

Uncle Dave’s Homemade Ice Cream is located at 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, 215.968.1670, www.uncledavesicecream.com

La Michoacana

Ice cream is loved across the globe, and tiny La Michoacana in Delaware County is proof of that. Handcrafted with a traditional Mexican recipe, the ultra creamy scoops, pops and water ice have won followers across the regions. If the purity of their process doesn’t get you, one of their exotic flavors will. Avocado, sweet corn and guava are just some of the produce you’ll see showing up, and while it might sound strange, trust us when we say it totally works. Worth the drive (and the wait in line), these special treats will quickly find a place in your corazon.

La Michoacana is located at 231 East State Street, Kennett Square, 610.444.2996