date published: June 1, 2009

A dozen delightful spots for fabulous and flavorful ice cream
by Josh B. Wardrop

In spring and summer (and fall and winter, to be honest), New Englanders love their ice cream—so it’s no surprise the region has produced so many popular and enduring local and national chains serving up frozen favorites. Born in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s (refer to restaurant listing)—home to chilly creations like the massive 20-scoop Vermonster sundae—is known the world over. Other local favorites include J.P. Licks (refer to restaurant listing), which boasts more than two dozen flavors, including Cake Batter Oreo and Cherry Ortiz, named for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz; Emack & Bolio’s, a “rock ’n’ roll” ice creamery (290 Newbury St., 617-536-7127 and various locations) famed for custom cones adorned with everything from Fruity Pebbles to s’mores (pictured opposite, middle right); and Herrell’s (15 Dunster St., Cambridge, 617-497-2179; 155 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-782-9599), a chain of ice cream shops/cafes famed for sweet treats like the cupcake sundae (pictured opposite, top right).

Not a chain, meanwhile, but certainly not to be forgotten is the one-and-only Cabot’s (743 Washington St., Newtonville, 617-964-9200), which has served outrageous sundaes like the Straw-Anna (pictured opposite, bottom left)—a blend of ripe banana wheels, vanilla ice cream, strawberry topping, and whipped cream—for four delectable decades.

A sweet and frosty treat may bring out the kid in all of us, but it isn’t just the junior set that loves ice cream. Adults can get their ice cream fix with a more mature twist at Picco (513 Tremont St., 617-927-0066), sipping a delightful adult ice cream soda, which features sweet Belgium lambic ale poured over vanilla ice cream (pictured opposite, middle left). Or sample ice cream flavors with an extra kick at Lizzy’s (29 Church St., Cambridge, 617-354-2911), which boasts—in addition to its full range of traditional, kid-friendly varieties—alcohol-infused flavors like Bailey’s and a sinful rum raisin (pictured opposite, bottom right).

Think ice cream can only be enjoyed from a take-out window or some beachfront stand surrounded by seagulls? Think again: in ice cream-mad Massachusetts, even high-end eateries get in on the action. The Beacon Hill Bistro (25 Charles St., 617-723-1133) earns acclaim for its housemade ice cream, in flavors like caramel, banana rum (pictured opposite, top left) and cassis sorbet. An evening of fine dining in the Italian-centric North End isn’t complete without a palate-pleasing scoop of gelato at Caffe Vittoria (refer to restaurant listing) or Gigi Gelateria (272 Hanover St., 617-720-4343). Om (92 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617-576-2800) is surely the only place in the area to get beet ice cream—an accompaniment to its chocolate beet tarte—and Sonsie (refer to restaurant listing) accents its chocolate truffle tart with sweet cherry torrone ice cream.

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