If there is one universal truth in this world, I believe it is that ice cream cures all ills. Whether your allegiance lies with sweet or savoury treats generally, there are few people who can resist a creamy 99, Irish summer in handheld form. Ask anyone about their favourite childhood ice cream and watch their eyes light up as their memory drifts back to simpler, sugar-laden times.
Our love affair with frozen treats has escalated to new heights in recent times with the range of goodies on offer far exceeding the Freaky Foot of old. With some of the highest quality dairy produce in the world it is no wonder that Irish freezer aisles are now stacked with exciting new artisan options. But the trend doesn’t stop there, the increasing numbers of Irish people seeking out dairy-free alternatives are being catered for with more choices than ever before, with no compromising on the essential ingredient of deliciousness.
In another nod to the childhood whimsy that frozen treats evoke in us all, Ireland has followed suit with the US trend of frozen yoghurt bars with sweet-shop style rows of toppings to pile high, adding to the collection of traditional ice cream parlours we already enjoy. With so many options everywhere you turn, here are some of the best ways to get your frozen fix this summer, some naughty, but all nice.
Supervalu Food Academy’s Nobó has gone from strength to strength since launching their dairy and refined sugar-free vegan tubs of deliciousness two years ago. Made with avocado, coconut milk and honey in a range of options including toasted almonds and chocolate as well as Irish sea salt caramel, there is zero compromise on flavour or creaminess with Nobó. They have been known to partner with fellow health-food gurus such as the Hopsack to create soft-serve Nobo cones and raw cookie ice-cream sandwiches, as if it wasn’t tempting enough on its own! This summer’s partnership is with Sprout and Co at their new Mount Street location, exclusively serving the new berry and lavender flavour as well as old favourites by the scoop with loads of healthy topping options.
Bold enough to call itself an ice-cream alternative without fear of being shunned, Booja Booja’s Hunky Punky chocolate flavour gets its dairy-free creaminess not from the common coconut but from blended cashew nuts, making richly chocolately. As dairy-free products often rely on coconut milk, this is perfect for coconut haters, i.e. people who came too late to the Celebrations box at Christmas and ended up stuck with the Bountys. Available in Fallon and Byrne.
Dietitian and sports nutritionist Niall Moloney has created a frozen yoghurt treat which is not only guilt-free but so virtuous you could feasibly feast on it for breakfast (I speak from experience). With vanilla, mango and passion fruit or my favourite, chocolate orange flavour. With 20 g of protein per serving, PowCow is the perfect addition to a smoothie and simply great just shoveled into your mouth while grinning smugly over your health guru credentials. Available in selected SuperValu stores.
A long-standing favourite of mine tucked away in George’s Arcade, at Yogism you can hashtag eatclean – frozen yoghurt is virtuous – but sneakily top your treat with brownie bits, Rolos and Nutella afterwards. Guess the weight of your self-serve bounty to get it for free, and trust me, practice makes perfect here as I once took home a behemoth 278 grams of fro-yo gratis. Even more dangerous now is its sister café, Tang, which has opened on Dawson Street offering self-service cones, making fro-yo gorging even more convenient.
Following New York’s 10 Below which tapped in to a traditional Thai street treat, Arctic Stone is serving up Ireland’s first rolled ice cream. Popping up at markets across Dublin such as Marlay Park, People’s Park Dun Laoghaire, Bushy Park and Blackrock, these unique creations are a must try for ice cream fiends.
Cutting out the middle man for broken hearts everywhere, you can now drown your sorrows and soothe your soul simultaneously with Teeling whiskey ice cream, or just enjoy the marriage of two of life’s great pleasures happily. Made by the award winning Glastry Farm in Northern Ireland, this gem is available in the Teeling Distillery, as if you needed an excuse to set aside a day to visit!
If you have ever tried Cocoa Atelier‘s goods you’ll know they mean business when it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth. They used to keep their artisan ice cream range tucked away downstairs in their Drury Street shop but the freezer display is now on the window-front leaving passers-by with a dilemma: can I feasibly enter without attempting to buy the entire patisserie selection too? Be restrained and just pick up their pistachio flavour, and maybe a pistachio macaron to use as a spoon….
Just a month old, Scoop is a bright blue beach-shack style gelateria serving up delectable flavours like Nutella and Ferrero Rocher or a more adventurous ‘Smurf’ – a blueberry concoction studded with marshmallows, bound to put a smile on even the most cantankerous of children’s faces. You can even eat your gelato on deckchairs outside or have them make you a milkshake, which I imagine would bring all the boys to the yard.
Arnotts is home to the stuff of ice cream dreams this Summer, following suit from European capitals we now have our very own Magnum Experience where ice cream fantasy meets reality. Pouring your own river of chocolate to enrobe a bar of ice-cream before layering on toppings here is like a teenage summer fling: it will be gone come September, so make the most of your brief and beautiful time together.
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that (and greed) as the ultimate motivators, I quickly realised that home-baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law I undertook a PhD, but a preference for cookbooks to textbooks persisted. As a (self-confessed!) demon in the kitchen, I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, which fuelled my desire to set my focus on food in a serious way. Working with The Taste allows me to satiate this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me as I share my food adventures and hopefully inspire others to indulge their passion for cooking and food in the process!