Spumoni ice cream
My tri-weekly appetite for spumoni ice cream is born of not a hunger for sugar, but a thirst for knowledge: I can’t figure out what in the hell it tastes like, and I won’t stop eating it until I do. On paper, spumoni refers to a flavor medley composed of pistachio, cherry, and vanilla or chocolate elements. In experience, each bite is maddeningly different: the first one is sweet and fruity, the next is definitely on the chocolate-vanilla spectrum, and then it’s nutty, and you keep going, following the trail—you’ve got the flavor in your crosshairs but right before you can pull the trigger, BAM: a hunk of cherry or a pistachio nib throws you off and it scampers away in a pink, green, and brown blur.
     A couple summers ago I was dating this girl and left a gallon of spumoni in her freezer. The quest for flavor clarity overcame her with the first spoonful and she consumed the rest so quickly that it came right back up. She sent me a picture of her puke. It looked like Lisa Frank brains. She still couldn’t tell me what it tasted like. So we march on: this recommendation goes out to summer soldiers craving ice cream with a challenge. —Lola

Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Dessert (So Delicious)
Six years ago, when my allergist calmly informed me that I could no longer eat gluten or dairy—ever again—my eating life flashed before my eyes. Never again would I know the pillowy, cheesy, saucy pleasures of a delivery pizza on a Friday night. Never would I feel the sweet melting of creamy cool chocolate fudge ice cream on the tongue; no longer would I run out the door, pockets a-jingling, to catch the ice cream man on a hot summer day. Back then, the only nondairy frozen dessert at the natural-foods store was soy ice cream, if you were lucky, and—if and when you found soy ice cream and took a bite—you knew that you were not. (Soy ice cream has improved since then, but I still think it’s nasty.) Enter So Delicious Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Dessert. It’s like $5 for a little pint, but guess what: YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE between this stuff and real ice cream. Really. Truly. Heeeeeere, vegans! Good lord it’s delicious (hence the name), AND you can usually find it at regular grocery stores!! The world is obviously improving. Usually I am suspicious of any food masquerading as the identical vegan twin of non-vegan food, but this coconut milk ice cream isn’t trying to be something it’s not—it’s just itself! And I love it just the way it is. Creamy, smooth, almost buttery, silken frozen coconut milk, in flavors like chocolate and vanilla bean and cherry amaretto. Real ice cream. Not fake ice cream. I actually wrote these people a letter to thank them for making my snacking life worth living again—that’s how serious I am about this very serious topic. —Krista

Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream (Ben & Jerry’s)
I am thankful that Stephen Colbert exists—not because of his hilarious TV show, or his speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, nor even because I think he is the pre-eminent performance artist of the 21st century. No, I am thankful because he has made it possible for me to enjoy the incredible treat that is AmeriCone Dream. The most important component in this ice cream is the chocolate-covered waffle-cone pieces. Waffle cones are the whole point of getting a sundae, but not all waffle cones are created equal (that light beige one tastes like cardboard, you gotta go for the dark to get the flavor) and this is a fact that did not escape Ben, Jerry, and Stephen when creating this flavor. Yes, the caramel swirl is a great addition, because when is caramel swirl not a great addition, and vanilla ice cream is the perfect bed for all this magic to rest upon, but this ice cream is all about the CONE, and for that, I will always love you, Colbert. —Laia

Licorice/liquorice ice cream


Chocolate Peanut Butter (Häagen-Dazs)
We’re all well aware that peanut butter and chocolate are perfect foods together, apart, and every which way. There’s no use arguing this knowledge, and everyone knows about it, so why am I bothering to write this review? Here’s what I want to tell you about the amazing thing that happens, texturally, in this particular ice cream. The peanut butter has somehow been magically transformed, consistency-wise, so that when the chocolate ice cream softens up and melts in your mouth, it leaves behind this ROCK HARD frozen ribbon of peanut butter. It’s so strange and unfamiliar and wonderful the way it slowly warms back to its normal mouth-gluey state. It’s like some kind of weird sucking candy, but peanut butter. Doesn’t that sound gross, but totally delectable, too? I’m all for that. This ice cream is cool because it’s about time—both the quick initial pleasure of the chocolate part, which is over right away, and then the long, leisurely, totally bonkers-delicious process of melting the peanut butter icicle in your mouth. —Amy Rose

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment
The KitchenAid mixer’s ice cream attachment is easy to use and to clean. It is great fun to try new flavors, like ginger lemon or lavender. You can even invent your own daring concoction. The drawback is that the attachment takes up a lot of freezer space—a problem in the South, where freezers tend to fill up with dove and quail during hunting season. Also, be warned that when making homemade ice cream there will always be an annoying child (Maggie) who complains that the ice cream is too soft, or the frozen fruit bits too hard. —Mrs. Thrash (Maggie’s mom)

Mister Softee
Given a choice, I will always choose cake over ice cream, or a cookie over ice cream, or a brownie over ice cream. I often feel like ice cream is too cold and too heavy, too much milk. (I say this as a devoted cheese eater, Dairy Council of the Internet.) There is, however, one exception. Soft-serve ice cream that comes out of a truck. A Mister Softee truck, to be particular. When I hear the little bell announcing the truck’s arrival on my block, I move faster than at any other time of the day, throwing clothes on my body (why on earth would I be dressed at home, it’s August) and hustling outside, money in hand. Maybe it’s just that I have sensitive teeth, or maybe it’s that I love the smell of gasoline. All I know is that a cone of chocolate and vanilla with rainbow sprinkles is my favorite taste on earth. Mister Softee 4 ever. —Emma S.

Peppermint ice cream
I once read a Drew Barrymore interview where she talked about her hatred for ice cream. She described it as “cold vomit served with a spoon.” Luckily for all of us I don’t share Drew’s dislike for this delish dessert. It’s really hard to choose, but my #1 all-time favorite flavor is peppermint. Why, you ask? Because you don’t have to worry about your breath stankin’, so you instantly become MAKE-OUT READY! HALLO! What other ice cream flavor lets you hit two birds with one stone like that?? —Marie

Modified Monday Sundae (Big Gay Ice Cream)
The best ice cream cone I have ever eaten was at Big Gay Ice Cream, a business that consists of a tiny shop in the East Village and a truck (check their Twitter to find out where it’s parked). I ordered a Monday Sundae, but with olive oil and sea salt instead of dulce de leche. I was handed a ha-YUGE waffle cone filled with choco/vanilla twist ice cream, topped with the oil & salt, and ringed with whipped cream. Plus—and this is the part that takes this from mere delicious treat to LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE THAT WE MUST ALL GRAPPLE WITH HENCEFORTH—the cone was lined with a thick layer of Nutella. THEY LINE THE CONE WITH NUTELLA. Are you freaking out, because I am really freaking out. —Anaheed

Mango shaved ice
Shaved ice is bigger than ice cream in Taipei, where it’s perpetually humid. There are a lot of bizarre shaved-ice flavors (taro, mung bean, grass jelly), but my favorite flavor is the more familiar (to me) mango, because it’s sweet and because I have lots of fond memories of my mom cutting a whole mango into little cubes still attached to the skin; I’d sit on the front porch and gnaw every cube off the skin one by one. I get a mango shaved ice at every vendor I see. If you’re in Taipei, the shaved-ice place at Shilin Night Market doles out really generous helpings, even if the waitress tried to stiff me on my change. —Arabelle

Vanilla Swiss Almond (Häagen-Dazs)
First I want to admit my shame at eating a product whose name is supposed to sound Dutch but in fact was invented by a Jewish guy from the Bronx. OK, let’s move on. Vanilla Swiss Almond has two constituent parts: the vanilla ice cream and the chocolate-covered almonds. What is so great is what makes any perfect design perfect. Just like the lit-up Apple logo on the case of a laptop makes the expanse of nothing around it look so vast and the vast nothing of the case makes the glowy white logo look so clean and corporate and friendly all at the same time, the vanilla of the ice cream makes the chocolate-covered almonds about 10,000 times more delicious than they could ever be on their own, and the vanilla ice cream would just be stupid and boring on its own but with the occasional chocolate-covered nut in there, the creaminess is creamier than cream. Best to eat this ever so slightly melted, though of course that’s true of any ice cream. —Ira Glass

Soy Creamy Cherry Chocolate Chip (Trader Joe’s)
Since going vegan in the late ’90s I have always been pretty content with my dairy-free ice cream options. But two summers ago, my dessert world was ROCKED when I came across this cute red-and-green container in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s—a quart of Soy Creamy Cherry Chocolate Chip. Cherries are my favorite fruit and chocolate is my favorite food period, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. Reader, IT CHANGED MY VEGAN LIFE: sweet, smooth cherry-flavored cream, big chunks of real cherry, and plenty of chocolate chips. I started telling everyone I knew that it wasn’t just my favorite vegan ice cream, it was my favorite ice cream, period! My non-vegan husband even loves it, and when my ex-vegan friend came to stay with me after living in Asia for a few years, she had the same total mouth orgasm as I did. In fact, she practically wept when she could not figure out how to take a case of it back to China. Now I just get to eat twice as much and say it’s for Lindsay. That works for me and I encourage you to eat some for her, too. —Stephanie

I despise the cupcake trend that came to New York from Los Angeles in the mid-2000s and has only recently showed signs of waning. Currently there are at least 10 different major cupcake chains in the city; you can’t walk three blocks with running into a store selling what is, let’s face it, just cake in an inconvenient shape, with a fucked frosting-to-cake ratio. At some of them, there’s a line going down the block. Yes, people stand in line for up to 30 minutes for CAKE. “It’s just cake, people!” I want to yell (and sometimes do). A few years ago, though, L.A. made up for that rudeness by sending us a new snack trend, and this one I wholeheartedly support: Pinkberry. I don’t have to tell you this, right? Pinkberry is delicious. The yogurt is tart, so it’s not trying to be ice cream but is proudly acknowledging its yogurtness. The toppings are good, too. I like to get strawberry yogurt with kiwi and mochi on top; or plain with blueberries, mochi, and coconut; or peanut butter with strawberries. If you don’t know, now you know: Pinkberry rules. —Anaheed

Peanut Butter Banana Greek Frozen Yogurt (Ben & Jerry’s)
Everybody and their Uncle Jesse seem to be talking about Greek yogurt these days. If you’re like me, you’re a little a skeptical of grocery store products touted as health food, especially when it’s ice cream. So imagine my suspicion when I saw that my good pals Ben and Jerry had started selling frozen Greek yogurt. But then I saw that they offered a peanut butter and banana flavor, and I immediately put it in my cart. To me, peanut butter and banana are like the Mary-Kate and Ashley of snack foods: all right on their own, but when they come together they create one beautiful, satisfying flavor. They are the Michelle Tanner of snacks, if you will. On the banana flavor spectrum, which ranges from actual banana (1) to neon-yellow Laffy Taffy (10), this ice cream (I will not refer to it as frozen yogurt because it is far too rich and delicious to be reduced to FROYO) rates a 5. The Greek yogurt adds a pleasant tang, instead of making you feel like you’re eating something that is good for you (i.e., something gross). When you hit the peanut butter swirls, this ice cream really steps up its game. The peanut butter is slightly sweet, but mostly salty and kind of earthy in a good way, like the natural peanut butter your mom started buying after she found out Skippy had salmonella or something. The sweet and savory combination makes for one knockout flavor. Also, if you’re not living in a full house or are just afraid of commitment, they sell this flavor in single-serving cups. —Gabby

Stogo Organic Dairy-Free Ice Cream
At least once a week, I run to Stogo in the East Village for made-from-scratch, eco-conscious, vegan frozen delights. Stogo is so yummy that I crave it more than I do dairy ice cream—and I’m not even vegan. I’m a creature of habit and I always get a milkshake. I usually ask them to mix three flavors for me: bananas foster, vanilla bean, and almond. When I want to take a walk on the wild side, I’ll get vanilla coconut, strawberry, and almond milk. What I love about Stogo is that everything in their store is gluten- and dairy-free, which really comes in handy for people like me who have allergies. I love being able to indulge without getting a stomachache. The ice cream is so light, smooth, and airy you feel like you just ate a creamy, sugary cloud. My only complaint is that I slurp it up so fast that it is gone too soon. They need to introduce a Big Gulp–size cup to satisfy me. —Jamia

Green tea ice cream
There is a wonderful ice cream stall in Shida Night Market in Taipei that sells huge crêpe cones full of chocolate sauce and ice cream the size of my ego—and I have a big ego. The whole thing is so pretty I almost didn’t want to eat it! But I did and it was delightful. I love green tea ice cream because it’s not overpoweringly sweet, and also it is green and reminds me of money. So basically I can pretend to be eating money. My capitalist fantasy. —Arabelle

Self-serve frozen yogurt
EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME is kind of a mantra of mine, you know. It’s hard to enact this ethos in the real world, where you can’t actually have everything at once, most times. But you know what’s not most times? When you go to a self-serve, pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt establishment. First off, you likely have at least 10 yogurt flavors to choose from, which you can swirl as if you were a soft-serve professional. I’ve gotten quite good, because I go all the time. Secondly, you have unlimited access to toppings. You’ll start off at the fruit section and add a few strawberries or whatever because you’re a good person, but then you have earned the right to dump heaps of sprinkles, candy, mochi, gummy worms, and chocolate chips of multiple sizes on top to create your own personal mountain of delight. You can have EVERYTHING, and you can have it ALL AT ONCE. This system allows us to enjoy single moments of unbridled everythingness, with endless choices! It’s transcendent! Where else can you get that? Nowhere. When you serve yo’ self, you treat yo’ self. Fair warning: the first time my mom and I did this we got a little out of hand and spent $8 each, which is really stupid, so don’t let the big cups deceive you. That is the only rule. GO WILD. —Dylan ♦