The 6 best ice cream spots in Santa Cruz

The city was a ideal starting indicate for my coast-to-coast journey: It’s got a brew of inspired college kids, techie gourmands, and an initial vibe that permeates a kitchens. Trying a best ice cream in Santa Cruz prepared me good for my inhabitant ice cream odyssey, where we enrolled in an ice cream foot stay during Penn State, searched for a best solidified custard in Milwaukee, and delved into impassioned flavors like oyster ice cream in Los Angeles.




Santa Cruz has ice cream trimming from a strangely absurd to a truly delectable. In my opinion, a town’s ice cream shops can reason their possess with a best of a nation. Here’s a culinary debate by 5 of my favorites.

Amy Ettinger is a author of Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America, travel@sfchronicle.com

Mission Hill Creamery

A dip of pistachio here might be a best chronicle of a season we will find outward of Italy. Owner Dave Kumec uses Bronte nuts from a volcanic dirt of Mount Etna. The pistachio season is accessible on Fridays and early Saturday — and usually if you’re lucky. Check a shop’s Facebook feed to make certain it’s still on a menu. The cost of a nuts infrequently army Kumec to take it off a menu. “I can’t concede and put in something half as good,” pronounced Kumec. If you’re out of luck, his other flavors are value a outing to a tiny emporium — try a El Bracho, a Bourbon Butter Pecan, or one of his anniversary fruit flavors — he uses furnish from a weekly farmers’ marketplace around a corner.

The Penny Ice Creamery

This is one of a few spots in a Bay Area that creates a ice cream totally from blemish regulating an on-site pasteurizer during a downtown shop. Lines on a weekends are mostly out a doorway to representation anniversary flavors like Earl Grey or Whiskey Custard surfaced with a creamery’s signature toasted marshmallow fluff. The chocolate sorbet has an general following, pronounced owners Kendra Baker. Penny has another plcae in Capitola, or we can collect adult a dip during a oceanfront Picnic Basket before removing in line for a float on a Giant Dipper during a Boardwalk.

Marriane’s Ice Cream

It’s tough to suppose Ocean Street though these iconic glow engine red walls. The emporium has been around for 70 years and not most has changed, solely a owners. Flavors are listed on timber slats behind a opposite and tourists and locals flow in for classical flavors like 1020 (caramel ice cream with chocolate whirl and chocolate sandwich cookies) or Macapuno (baby coconut). You can also get a cut of sand cake or grasshopper pie. The Butter Brickle was a favorite of a late, longtime owners Sam Lieberman, who grown many of a shop’s well-loved flavors. The whole place feels a bit solidified in time, though a kitschy nostalgia is a large partial of a appeal.

Cruz Creamery

This visitor in city serves spaghetti ice cream surfaced with homemade strawberry compote, white chocolate “cheese shavings” and chocolate truffle “meatballs.” The newness is renouned in Germany, and a owners of a creamery alien a special appliance that presses a ice cream by a steel device into strands that demeanour like spaghetti. If you’ve ever wanted ice cream for dinner, this plate is for you. The creamery also serves 30 to 40 flavors of a Polar Bear brand, a well-loved favorite in Santa Cruz. It’s a bit of an open tip that Polar Bear was gobbled adult by Marianne’s a few years back, though a new owners have sworn to keep a strange recipes, that use internal mixture done in tiny batches. Try a Olallieberry Honey or a Dirty Paws. “If business have it now, and they had it 10 years ago, it’s a same,” pronounced Kelly Dillon, who now owns Polar Bear. ”We kept a integrity.”

Kelly’s French Bakery

Owner Kelly Sanchez comes from a prolonged line of ice cream makers. Her grandfather and good uncle owned a emporium in Los Angeles. To supplement to her pedigree, Sanchez attended Penn State’s famous brief course, where she schooled a scholarship behind a dessert. Esteemed Penn State graduates embody Ben Jerry’s, Bassett’s and Jeni’s. Kelly’s good uncle took a march behind in 1920. Kelly’s ice cream offers 7 to 10 opposite flavors that stagger seasonally and mostly embody caramel almond and coffee brownie. Grab your favorite and soak adult some rays in a yard before streamer to West Cliff Drive a few brief blocks away.

Richard Donnelly Chocolates

One of a best ice cream novelties in Santa Cruz is done during one of a best chocolate shops in a world, according to National Geographic. Stop by to representation an ice cream cocktail we won’t shortly forget. Donnelly’s tops vanilla ice cream with a possess homemade dim chocolate salsa for a $6 ice cream bar that’s indeed value a price. You can get it in 3 variations: with almonds, caramel and sea salt; with caramel and sea salt; and with only almonds. They are large adequate to share — nonetheless we substantially won’t wish to. And we can always take a box of handmade chocolates with we on a approach out of city — a macadamia bulb and marshmallow caramels are a pleasure for a expostulate home.

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