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The Ice Cream Lover’s Tour of the World

When the days heat up, who doesn’t love a cool cone? From tangy sorbets to sinfully smooth soft-serves, the world is packed with super dooper scoopers, but any true ice addict has to add these to their lick list.

Ciampini Gelateria, Rome

Where else does one start an ice cream tour of the world but Italy? Roma may be bursting with touristy, dollopy gelateria peddling a rainbow of concoctions (bright green pistachio? Orrendo!), but you can get trad flaves made right at classic Ciampini. The off-menu whipped cream (panna) is only for die-hard devotees.

Or for more inventive ices, try Fatamorgana in Monti with combos like wasabi chocolate, pear and gorgonzola cheese, and pineapple-ginger.

Ciampini, Via del Leoncino, 43, Corso, Rome. +39 0 668 135 108

Gelateria della Passera, Florence

No more than three people can squeeze into this tiny corner counter, storing melty mouthfuls old-school in covered pozzetti. This means you can’t eyeball the selection before you order, but you hardly need to examine the fresh n’ fruity picks like kiwifruit, pomelo and choc-orange to know that you’re in for one seriously sweet treat.

Gelateria della Passera, Via Toscanella, 15r, Oltrarno, Florence. +39 05 529 1882,

Vioko, Barcelona

With neon lights and white walls neatly stacked with colourful macarons and chocs, the decor of this sugary stylista is more sleek fashion boutique than simple scooper. And the creams are just as a la mode – think violet and dulce de leche, dahling.

Vioko, Passeig de Joan De Borbó 55, Barceloneta, Barcelona. +34 932 21 06 52,

Mini Dondurma, Istanbul

Tastebud-tingling Turkish ice-cream (known locally as Dondurma) is made with salep and mastic, so it’s more stretchy and less melty than Italiano gelato. There’s plenty a street vendor scoop, but the best is from Mini Dondurma in Bebek, an aptly named nook where you can get flavours like sour cherry, caramel, rose Turkish delight and blackberry on a cone or sandwiched between wafers. A neighbourhood fave for 40+ years, and for good reason!

Mini Dondurma, Cevdetpaşa Cad. 38/A, Bebek, Istanbul. +90 212 257 1070

Salt and Straw, Los Angeles

All year round, this lovely Larchmont licker draws queues worthy of the Roxy with farm-to-cone flavours both familiar (sea salt n’ caramel) and inventive (black olive brittle and goat’s cheese, avocado and strawberry sherbert). Just the bee’s knees.

Salt and Straw, 240 N Larchmont Blvd, Larchmont, Los Angeles. +1 323 466 0485,

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

And, of course, how could we forget the growing plant-based contingent? Now with a cult following to rival that of L. Ron Hubbard, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream scoops a cashew, coconut, and carob bean-based vegan ice cream that’s enjoyed even by non-converts. Blueberry pie, oat milk and brown sugar snickerdoodle are some of the seasonals headlining its many NYC locations.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, multiple locations,

Azucar, Miami

Look for the five-scoop cone crowning the entrance to this crammed Cuban cubbyhole, and order the signature mantecado blended with guava, cream cheese and cookies (trust us – it’s abuela inspired and approved). And keep your inner kid happy by adding a choc n’ sprinkle encrusted cone.

Azucar, 1503 SW 8th St, Little Havana, Miami. +1 305 381 0369,

Yelo, Tokyo

When the sticky summer swelter descents across the capital, Tokyoites seek respite in the form of kakigori (aka snow cones). No, these aren’t the syrupy granular ice balls of your childhood, but rather mounds of snowflake-thin shaved ice topped with yummy syrups. The best are from Yelo in Roppongi, which reps tastes like trad green tea, carrot and mascarpone. Hello, Yelo!

Yelo, 5-2-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. +81 3 3423 2121,

(Last updated 24 June 2021)

See also: Rome Through The Lens of Mondelliani

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