|Ice cream may be summer's tradtional treat, but these days it's as much about innovation as indulgence. A new generation of ice cream impresarios is putting America's favorite dessert on the culinary map, using fresh seasonal ingredients, top-chef techniques, and international flair to create wild and wonderfl flavors that are anyting but plain vanilla.
But don't worry - you can still eat these frozen delights in your shorts and flip-flops. Just show up at one of these 10 ice cream hot spots and order up some succulent scoops.
Capogiro Gelato Artisans - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When she describes the gelato she crafts daily in small batches, Stephanie Reitano details the origin of her ingredients so passionately it makes you want to sprint, lickety-split, to the nearest Capogiro. She waxes poetic about three kinds of figs (black mission, golden and brown turkey), the fresh mint she purchases from Lancaster County farmers, the sugar plums that make succulent sorbetto, and the champagne mangoes she adores.
Because gelato is lower in fat than ice cream (ture gelato contains less than 10 percent butterfat). Reitano says, high-qulaity fruits and herbs have more opportunity to shine.
"There's more food product touching your tongue because there's no fat coating your mouth," says Reitano, who uses hormone-free milk only from grass-fed cows. "You're actually tasting the milk or the fruit. There's no barrier to your tasting what you're eating."
Reitano, who owns Capogiro with husband John, relies on a wide variety of epicurean delights for flavor inspiration, including funky frou-frou cocktails. "I love fruity drinks," says Reitano, who makes bellini-flavored gelato with white peaches and prosecco. "I don't care if it's a $15 goofball drink - I want to see if it's something we can do with the gelato."
Where - 119 South 13th Street (215) 351-0900; 117 South 20th Street (215) 636-9250
Must Try - Bacio (chocolate hazelnut), mint stracciatella, bourbon butterscotch
For adventurers - Cioccolato mexicano (spicy chocolate); summer fruit and herbal flavors like lime cilantro or blueberr and lemon thyme
Inside scoop - Capogiro means "growing dizzy" or "swooning" because something is so wonderful or beautiful.