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International Delight Cafe in Bellmore and Rockville Centre (Credit: Jin Lee)

International Delight Cafe in Bellmore and Rockville Centre has a dozen-odd chocolate flavors, including Dolomite (an Italianized rocky road) and gianduia, a bittersweet blend of chocolate and hazelnut — think grown-up Nutella.

Ice cream best bets on Long Island

What makes ice cream worth going out for is the use of real vanilla, fine cocoa and fresh fruit. Most important, it takes an ice-cream chef with a burning passion for frozen desserts. Here are nearly two dozen shops that consistently deliver sweet, creamy goodness and are worth the trip.

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Herrell's Ice Cream

HERRELL'S ICE CREAM, Huntington Village: The emphasis here
(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)

HERRELL'S ICE CREAM, Huntington Village: The emphasis here is on excellent ingredients and attention to detail. Often, classic flavors are served in multiple iterations — not only vanilla, but malted vanilla (with malt powder) and high-definition vanilla (with even more vanilla flavor).

Itgen's Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlour

ITGEN'S RESTAURANT AND ICE CREAM PARLOUR, Valley Stream:
(Credit: Newsday / Ken Spencer)

ITGEN'S RESTAURANT AND ICE CREAM PARLOUR, Valley Stream: Itgen's may well serve Long Island's best hot fudge (shown in the sundae, pictured), although it was the caramel sundae that was featured in Saveur magazine's 2012 "top 100." All of the toppings are homemade, down to the wet nuts, which makes them fitting adornments to the shop's terrific homemade ice cream and whipped cream.

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Wolfie's Frozen Custard

WOLFIES FROZEN CUSTARD, Northport: Frozen custard is softer
(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)

WOLFIES FROZEN CUSTARD, Northport: Frozen custard is softer than ice cream, not as dense as gelato. And Wolfies is the only shop on Long Island that specializes in it. With 20-odd daily offerings, you can't go wrong with the fresh vanilla, perfectly balanced chocolate, elegant Key lime, tangy raspberry or slightly salty English toffee.

Sip 'N Soda Luncheonette

SIP 'N SODA LUNCHEONETTE, Southampton: The excellent homemade
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

SIP 'N SODA LUNCHEONETTE, Southampton: The excellent homemade ice-cream elves at Sip 'N Soda freeze trays of local strawberries in season so that they can make strawberry ice cream year-round — or as long as the berries last. When the weather is so hot and sticky that even ice cream can't do the trick, the Southampton spot scores with fountain throwbacks such as a lime ricky.

Sant Ambroeus

SANT AMBROEUS, Southampton: The Southampton outpost of the
(Credit: Doug Young)

SANT AMBROEUS, Southampton: The Southampton outpost of the venerable Manhattan ristorante-pasticceria (itself spawned by the original restaurant-bakery in Milan), Sant Ambroeus is the East End's gelato central. The coffee flavor is done with house-brewed espresso, and fresh banana goes into the banana gelato. Also recommended: tangy passion fruit, grapefruit and lemon, and the lush chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla.

Baci Gelato

BACI GELATO, Williston Park: Baci's wares come in
(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

BACI GELATO, Williston Park: Baci's wares come in about 100 flavors — with two dozen or so available on any given day — and include classic Italian gelato varieties — fior di latte (milk flavor), stracciatella (chocolate chip), espresso — and American innovations such as banana split and cookies and cream. The store's most popular flavor is bacio, a chocolate-hazelnut base with bits of hazelnut.

Star Confectionery

STAR CONFECTIONERY, Riverhead: This landmark ice-cream parlor and
(Credit: Doug Young)

STAR CONFECTIONERY, Riverhead: This landmark ice-cream parlor and luncheonette has been in the Meras family since 1920. The ice cream is made either by third-generation owner Anthony Meras or his father (also Anthony), who makes his own chocolate flavoring base with Hershey's cocoa powder. The result is clean and chocolaty, with a caramel undertone.

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Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen

BRIDGEHAMPTON CANDY KITCHEN, Bridgehampton: Little has changed at
(Credit: Ian J. Stark)

BRIDGEHAMPTON CANDY KITCHEN, Bridgehampton: Little has changed at Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen since it opened in 1925 — the ice cream is still homemade — and fruit flavors, often made with local fruit in season, is a specialty.

BRIDGEHAMPTON CANDY KITCHEN, Bridgehampton: Little has changed at

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Pazzo Gelato

PAZZO GELATO, Garden City Park: On any given
(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

PAZZO GELATO, Garden City Park: On any given day the house-made gelato, with many of the ingredients imported from Italy, includes at least a dozen flavors. The pistachio tastes deeply of nuts; the dark chocolate is practically black.

Northport Sweet Shop

NORTHPORT SWEET SHOP, Northport: In business since before
(Credit: Jesse Newman)

NORTHPORT SWEET SHOP, Northport: In business since before World War II, this luncheonette's homemade ice cream is crafted into all sorts of old-fashioned concoctions such as milk frosts (a milkshake garnished with a scoop of ice cream) and French ice cream sodas (topped with fresh whipped cream). Also: a unique lemon custard.

McNulty's Ice Cream Parlor

MCNULTY'S ICE CREAM PARLOR, Miller Place: Opened in
Buy photo
(Credit: John Dunn)

MCNULTY'S ICE CREAM PARLOR, Miller Place: Opened in 1991, the shop's signature flavors include vanilla peanut butter, mint chunk, cherry vanilla, butter pecan, raspberry truffle and "moose tracks." A favorite: The Sandpail Sundae, that comes complete with shovel and rake, and a cherry on top.

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Coyle's Homemade Ice Cream

COYLE'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM, Bay Shore and Islip:
(Credit: Newsday / Ken Spencer)

COYLE'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM, Bay Shore and Islip: Marty Coyle does not hail from the keep-it-simple school of ice-cream making. To wit, his bestselling flavor (and personal favorite) is chocolate raspberry truffle, whose demure name belies its elaborate composition: chocolate ice cream blended with raspberry sauce, then laced with more raspberry sauce and punctuated with chocolate chunks.

Hicksville Sweet Shop

HICKSVILLE SWEET SHOP, Hicksville: The unassuming shop is
(Credit: Jacqueline Connor)

HICKSVILLE SWEET SHOP, Hicksville: The unassuming shop is a throwback to that pre-Baskin-Robbins era, when luncheonettes made their own ice cream, sauces and syrups as well as candies and molded chocolates. A sweet highlight is the chocolate ice cream, made from a rich chocolate base intensified by their own cocoa flavoring.

Hollow Creamery

HOLLOW CREAMERY, Carle Place: Get an espresso or
(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)

HOLLOW CREAMERY, Carle Place: Get an espresso or beer (there are 28 craft beers here) with your ice cream. Two flavors of note: an intense banana pudding and a pistachio punctuated by salted nuts, whole and crushed. Yes, beer floats are available.

Five Pennies Creamery

FIVE PENNIES CREAMERY, Rockville Centre: Opened in 2010,
(Credit: Jason Andrew)

FIVE PENNIES CREAMERY, Rockville Centre: Opened in 2010, Five Pennies looks to the past with egg creams (made with Fox's U-Bet and seltzer from old-fashioned siphons), soft-serve Coney Island custard and Italian fruit ices that are used, in turn, to create the store's signature Cyclone (after the roller coaster), in which the custard and ices are layered in a symphony of delectably cold sweetness.

Ice Cream Cottage

ICE CREAM COTTAGE, Mastic: John Pastore has been
(Credit: John Griffin)

ICE CREAM COTTAGE, Mastic: John Pastore has been making ice cream at his little "cottage" in Mastic since 1980, serving ice cream in an unparalleled variety of cones: sugar, wafer, double wafer, waffle, chocolate waffle, chocolate chip, chocolate wafer, pretzel, M&M. Ice cream flavors include chocolate overdose (fudge, chips, brownies), black forest (black Bordeaux cherries and broken-up chocolate shell) and chocolate peanut-butter cup.

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Marshall's Ice Cream Bar

MARSHALL'S ICE CREAM BAR, Massapequa: Marshall's makes its
(Credit: T.C. McCarthy)

MARSHALL'S ICE CREAM BAR, Massapequa: Marshall's makes its own ice cream, and a mean malt. The chocolate is intensely (but not ponderously) chocolaty, with just the right kick of malt.

MARSHALL'S ICE CREAM BAR, Massapequa: Marshall's makes its

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Sweets of the Spoon

SWEETS OF THE SPOON, Rocky Point: Aside from
(Credit: Randee Daddona)

SWEETS OF THE SPOON, Rocky Point: Aside from the worthy chocolate, Sweets scoops a Rocky Point road filled with marshmallow and peanuts as well as a very popular flavor called dirt (chocolate with chocolate "crunch").

Snowflake

SNOWFLAKE, Riverhead: Stu Feldschuh is the mad professor
(Credit: Doug Young)

SNOWFLAKE, Riverhead: Stu Feldschuh is the mad professor of ice cream, obsessively tinkering with minute proportions and seemingly identical ingredients to achieve the perfect flavor. His iconic specialty: Peconic swamp thing, made with chocolate ice cream, fudge and brownies with ribbons of raspberry puree.

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