New York City is the original melting pot of cuisines from all over the world. And New Yorkers love their food, so there’s subcategories within subcategories when it comes to food. Especially when it comes to dessert. I’m taking you to three very different styles of ice cream stores.
Rather than take you to three dairy options, we’re going to enter the world of Soft Serve and Vegan ice cream too. Whatever your favorite afternoon, evening or just any time of the day sweet delight, may this serve you as an enticing and exciting way to enjoy a delicious moment in NYC.
Big Gay Ice Cream
There’s something inherently nostalgic about soft serve ice cream. Harking back to the days of our childhood, it always hits the spot. Big Gay Ice Cream is known for its more adventurous flavour combinations than what you probably had as a kid. You’re still going to get that memory of reaching up to the ice cream man, but with the modern millennial tastes of salty sweet and oh-so-tweet-able flavours. With names like ‘American Glob’, ‘Rocky Roadhouse’, and ‘Bea Arthur’, it’s a bit of fun that you can’t help take part in. Do yourself a favour and google these flavours before you head into the busy store.
My favourite flavour would have to be ‘The Salty Pimp’ – both for the name and the combination of ingredients. With a base of vanilla soft serve, striped with dulce de leche and covered in a combination of hard set chocolate and salt, your receptors will have a field day.
I’m not a massive fan of soft serve, but this still ticks my boxes. There are a number of Big Gay Ice creams all over the city.
If you’re looking for artisanal in ice cream form, Morgenstern’s is your spot. Found in the Lower East Side of Downtown Manhattan, it’s seriously entertaining watching the staff whimsically combine ingredients to get that perfect sphere shape. The shop set up and uniforms of the employees are as if you stepped back in time to an old soda or ice cream bar.
Using small batch creations and the best milks, the team at Morgenstern’s create ice cream bases of superior quality. They then add a number of the toppings (which are on display) to create your perfect combination to satisy your cravings. I love going to Morgnenstern’s and hanging inside to watch the whole experience. Viewing an ice cream created, combined and rolled before being placed on a cone is pure excitement for anybody, not just a chef.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Not just my favourite Ice Cream spot, but one of my most loved places in all of the NYC, Van Leeuwen takes vegan sweets to the next level. The fact they offer Vegan options is just a bonus, as they rule me over with the taste. I love coconut, cashew milk based ice creams and being a Chef you know I make them at home all the time.
The nectar sweetness and good fats from the coconut milk are phenomenal and then they add all these intricate flavours just to #NextLevel it. They also offer dairy based ice cream too, but if you are anything like me, I can’t go passed the nut milk variety, especially when they are combined with peanut butter and cacao for the ‘Peanut Butter Choc Chunk’ which is everything my favourite. You just cant go wrong with Peanut Butter and chocolate right?
The also have more healthy-ish varieties such as Matcha and turmeric options, but one thing I will say is that you must get at least two scoops and one of them has to be from the specials board (right now one of them is ‘Vegan Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam’, thank me later :)).
To be honest there are more ice cream stores in this city that you can poke a stick at with different variations opening up every week. These are three of my favorites, but feel free to take yourself on an extended journey and find many more exciting dessert treats. If you do, reach out to me and let me know! I am always up for a bit of research!
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DanChurchill is a Chef and Author, with a Masters in Exercise Science. His tastiness can be seen on ABC’s EMMY award winning program The Chew, he is also a host of Surfing The Menu, Next Generation seen on ABC Australia & Discovery throughout the world. With 3 cookbooks (Dudefood, The Healthy Cook, Surfing The Menu), upcoming restaurants and a busy digital outreach, Dan’s mission is make people happier and food is his tool to do that “The power of food is epic in what it can do to bring people together…”