There are few things in the world more satisfying than a scoop of ice cream on a day. In fact, creating a frozen treat might be among the oldest ideas to beat the heat – the Persians are said to have drizzled thickened grape juice on a bowl of snow as early as the 5th century BC. Similar blends of ice and fruit took place later in China and Rome, but it took another 1,500 for milk to become the main ingredient, leading to the smooth texture we recognize today.
If you’re on vacation in summertime, see if you can’t make it to one of America’s best ice cream cities to enjoy a tasty break from the hot sun:
Richardson’s Ice Cream, Middleton, Massachusetts
An extension of a family farm that dates back to the 17th-century, each of the 85 flavors is still produced on the 300-acre homestead outside the Boston city limits. Though it’s grown since opening in 1952, it retains the old-fashioned feel by serving an excellent strawberry ice cream. The Maine Black Bear is a luxurious treat: chocolate-covered raspberry truffles and chocolate chips are mixed into red raspberry ice cream.
Ici Ice Cream, Berkeley, California
Run by a former pastry chef, you’ll find all sorts of delectable creations here. You might find a rose-flavored scoop on the handmade organic cone irresistible (like many do) or you could be tempted by the green tea variety, but you’ll always find the natural, sustainable ingredients a delicious way to care for Mother Earth.
Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream, Wilmette, Illinois
This parlor in the Chicago suburbs has been churning out batches of classic flavors since 1935. Once enjoyed by Al Capone, it’s a favorite for locals and tourists. Rocky Road is popular, but you could be tempted by the apple cinnamon, a concoction of the sweet fruit and graham cracker chunks in the spicy, cold base.
Mt. Desert Ice Cream, Bar Harbor, Maine
Already well-known in the northeast United States, this small-town chain got a major boost when President Obama stopped by for dessert with his family. Known for its creative names and combinations, the wide variety available is almost unmatched. Get your hands on a scoop of Bay of Figs for a Mediterranean take on the frozen treat.
Pumphouse Creamery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
This small shop is famous for heaping portions that are worth the wait. With hardly enough room for the line in and foot traffic out, folks are always waiting to get their hands on the all-local, organic confections on offer. The mouthwatering Sea Salt Praline is a common choice, but the adventurous can’t resist the Chipotle Chocolate.