Chicago right now11 best artisanal ice cream flavors in Chicago right now11 best artisanal ice cream flavors in Chicago right now (Lenny Gilmore / RedEye)Morgan OlsenMorgan OlsenContact ReporterI scream, you scream, we all scream for something that will cool us off on an insufferably hot summer day. And while the freezer aisle has plenty of classics to choose from (hello, Choco Taco, old friend), we’re thinking bigger. It’s time to upgrade your ice cream game and check out some of Chicago’s tastiest artisanal scoops.
We sampled offerings from across the city and picked the best chef-crafted pints you can pick up at a restaurant or retailer near you. From a light, bright grapefruit-prosecco sorbet to a sinfully decadent chocolate-marshmallow treat, there’s something for every ice cream connoisseur.
1. Dulce cayenne ($10 per pint or three for $25) from Siena Tavern51 W. Kinzie St. 312-595-1322Decadent dulce de leche-infused ice cream is generously studded with caramelized nibs and sprinkled with a hint of ground cayenne pepper. In other words, you won’t want to share.
2. Caramelized banana chocolate chip ($5.50 per half-pint or $2.95 per quarter-pint) from Americano 22112211 W. North Ave. 773-360-8757This frozen delight captures the essence of fresh-baked chocolate chip banana bread perfectly. Just like Mom made it. Pro tip: Grab a few TCHO chocolate chip cookies ($1.75 each) while you’re there and make your own ice cream sandwiches at home.
3. Cherry cobbler gelato ($9 per pint) from Nico OsteriaFind it at Publican Quality Meats, 825 W. Fulton Market 312-445-8977Say hello to summer in a pint. Cream cheese-vanilla gelato is pumped full of tart cherry jam and crumbly cobbler pieces.
4. Chicago coffee ($8.50 per pint) from Ruth & Phils Gourmet Ice Cream 636 W. Chicago Ave. 872-802-4868Beans from local favorite Dark Matter Coffee are ground, steeped overnight in cream and sugar and then jammed into this intense java-flavored concoction. Because eating your coffee is way more fun than drinking it.
5. Lemon olive oil ($10 per pint or three for $25) from Siena Tavern 51 W. Kinzie St. 312-595-1322Bits of bright lemon zest, swirls of creamy olive oil and a hint of sea salt mingle in perfect harmony, creating a scoop that could cool you down on the hottest summer day.
6. Pineapple basil sorbet ($8.75-$10.75) from Black Dog Gelato 859 N. Damen Ave. 773-235-3116 Basil is boss in this soft, pineapple-perfumed treat that’s both refreshing and insanely addictive. You don’t need a bowl or a cone—you’ll want to eat this one straight from the pint.
7. Spumoni ($5.99 per pint) from Homer’s Find it at Olivia’s Market, 2014 W. Wabansia Ave. 773-227-4220We cheated with this suburban staple, but with retailers in the city, there’s no drive required to get your hands on this three-in-one dessert with cherry, pistachio and chocolate ice creams layered in one perfect pint.
8. Pistachio ($10 per pint) from Bar Siena 832 W. Randolph St. 312-492-7775Huge chunks of pistachio swim in a pristine pool of nutty goodness. Pick up a pint at the West Loop restaurant or hit Bombo Bar, their grab-and-go dessert window, where you’ll inevitably be tempted to get your scoop served between two cookies ($6) if you can’t commit to a pint.
9. Strawberry shortcake ($10 per pint) from David Burke’s Primehouse 616 N. Rush St. 312-660-6000The seasonal pop-up ice cream shop is back in full effect, and this week’s flavor (available Friday from 4-6 p.m.) remixes a classic summer dessert. Perfectly pink strawberry ice cream is served with shortcake pieces, lemon gelee and strawberry sauce as optional toppings.
10. Grapefruit prosecco sorbet ($5.50 per half-pint or $2.95 per quarter-pint) from Americano 22112211 W. North Ave. 773-360-8757You know that feeling you get when you walk into an air-conditioned place on a 100-degree day? This guilt-free sorbet is a lot like that. An explosion of citrus meets you up front and fades into a delicate, summery taste that lingers long after you scrape the bottom of the container.
11. Raspberry peach ($10 per pint) from Bar Siena 832 W. Randolph St. 312-492-7775Just like your favorite summer pie served a la mode, this ice cream is loaded with hunks of juicy raspberries and tart peaches. Pick up a pint at the West Loop restaurant or hit BomboBar, their grab-and-go dessert window.