Tucson is fortunate enough to have ice cream-eating weather all year, but summer is the perfect excuse to indulge a little extra.
We're also fortunate for our wide selection of local ice cream shops. Adventurous flavors such as Lavender-Honey and Maple Walnut abound.
Ice cream can't get all the love for frozen dairy delights, though. We’re counting gelato too, which originated in Italy. Gelato has about half the butterfat content of ice cream, less air than ice cream, and is served a few degrees warmer than traditional ice cream.
So break out the shades and grab a cone. If you play it right, this summer’s going to be brimming with flavor.
With rolled ice cream, preparation begins with the ingredients flattened out on a mini freezer-like surface. From there, they pour the milk over the whole thing and once it’s flat enough, scrape it into rolls. It's fun to eat, especially here where they have spacious red couches to lounge and chill out. Choose from nine different base flavors, such as mango and cherry, and countless mix-ins to make it your own.
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Atomic Frog serves from a dozen ice cream flavors in a parlor fashion with the option to include chopped nuts, sprinkles, broken waffle cones, cherries and whipped cream at no additional cost. The interior is bright and colorful with green and blue walls framing the open space. Additionally, they add a different splash of color to their whipped cream daily.
For more information, visit atomicfrogtucson.com.
Using a brightly colored gelato shop on wheels, Bella’s can be found at different events around town. The truck carries about six gelato flavors and three vegan flavors, along with affogatos, sorbettos, organic cold brew iced coffee, smoothies, and root beer floats.
For more information, visit bellasgelato.com.
With 24 flavors that stay true to the integrity of their ingredients, this place wins for serving up real gelato. Plenty of indoor and patio seating offers space to give in to that Italian craving.
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The same place that sells those glorious garlic knots also sells their house-made gelato, sorbetto, and Italian ice in six-ounce containers by the pint. With about 12 flavors, their specialty is lemon, which is true to its name and packs a punch.
For more information, visit brooklynpizzacompany.com.
Brushfire Ice Creamery makes around 100 flavors and keeps 24 flavors daily at their East 22nd Street location. Brushfire on North Campbell Avenue features about a dozen flavors. Best-sellers include Pecan Pie, Salted Caramel, and Cookie Monster.
For more information, visit brushfireicecreamery.com.
For a dairy-free alternative, Cashew Cow churns out ice creams made from raw cashews. Between their 14 flavors, they keep about 10 core flavors, alternating the rest seasonally. Maple Walnut is evocative of the rich texture of fudge and will leave you doing a little happy dance. Kahlua Almond Fudge is also superb, and of course fudgy.
For more information, visit cashewcow.com.
Frost was founded by best friends Jeffrey Kaiserman and Stephen Ochoa after an inspiring visit to Rome. With the help of their master gelato chef, they create a selection of 62 gelato flavors and 56 sorbets. When choosing flavors to mix and match, try the Marble Black Cherry with Chocolate for a flavor marriage made in gelato heaven.
For more information, visit frostgelato.com.
Famous for using ingredients imported from Italy, Giovanni hails from Sicily and creates gelato in 49 flavors. The Salted Caramel is the house favorite. Savor it with the gorgeous view outside of the surrounding mountains.
For more information, visit giovannisgelato.net.
Since ice cream is so versatile, you can essentially give it any flavor you like. HUB Ice Cream recognizes this by serving from their selection of 300 unique rotating flavors with 24 available at a time. They’re known for the decadent Queen Bee, which incorporates honeycomb toffee and dark chocolate pieces into a vanilla base. The Cookies and Cream is also a popular favorite.
For more information, visit hubicecream.com.
Isabella’s handcrafts their ice creams in small batches to make 15 creamy flavors such as their Desert Honey. The Mexican Hot Chocolate is a favorite with its kick of cayenne and cinnamon at the end. Waffle cones are made fresh too — if you visit while the cones are being made, the smell is enough to make it a memorable experience.
For more information, visit isabellasicecream.com.
Fresh is the name of the game here with more than 50 recipes between sorbets and gelatos. Their Pistachio flavor tastes like the real thing, and owner Marco Rappella says it’s not a green color because they don’t use any artificial colors. Customers can also find unique flavors such as Cinnamon, Anise, and Yogurt.
For more information, visit pistacchiogelato.com.
The Screamery uses milk from grass-fed cows and pasteurizes their own ice cream. The popular Bees Knees flavor blends lavender and honey for a subtle and smooth refreshing taste perfect for summer. Also, don't miss out on the Sweet Cream Honeycomb. Screamery regularly rotates a selection of 24 flavors.
For more information, visit thescreamery.com.
Sullivan’s ice cream has 16% butterfat content, while the decadently-famous Häagen-Dazs that has around 12-14%. This makes for a richer and smoother ice cream, evident across their 36 consistent ice cream flavors and monthly rotating five to six flavors. The sundaes are a nostalgic local favorite.
For more information, visit sullivanseateryandcreamery.com.
When did rolled ice cream shaped like little taquitos become so trendy and funky? Still waiting on the answer for that one, but it's nice to have ice cream made-to-order right in front of you. Especially when you can make combinations from eight fruit flavors and 14 sweet flavors. Try out the house favorites, Oreo Nutella or Strawberry Nutella.
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