If you're tired of ice cream, you're tired of life. Truly, it is providence's perfect food. But you know humans -- they like to tinker with perfection. Here are some variations on the theme of ice cream on Long Island.
Joe & Liza's(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Joe & Liza's, Bridgehampton: Joe and Liza Tremblay have been making ice cream at their Sag Harbor restaurant, Bay Burger, for years. But in 2012, they switched from a commercial ice-cream base to a stabilizer-, preservative-, hormone-free one custom made by a Hudson Valley dairy. Some of Joe & Liza's signature flavors are coffee, local strawberry and two varieties of mint chip, one a traditional vivid green made with mint extract, the other, colorless, made with cream that Liza infuses with fresh mint leaves.
Ice Cream Cottage(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
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 including sugar, wafer, double wafer, waffle, chocolate waffle, chocolate chip, chocolate wafer, pretzel and 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.
Carla Marla's Ice Cream Parlor(Credit: Anthony Lanzilote)
Carla Marla's Ice Cream Parlor, Bellport: The picture-perfect village of Bellport gets the ice cream parlor it deserves in the form of Carla Marla's, the old-timey shop that has been satisfying the sweet teeth of generations of Bellporters. There are about 20 flavors on hand at any one time, recent favorites include Mint-Ting-A-Ling (mint shot through with chocolate cookie crunch) and Movie Time (buttery-popcorn-flavored ice cream with sea-salt caramel). For Fido, there are Frosty Paws frozen dog treats.
Pazzo Gelato(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Pazzo Gelato, Garden City Park: Across the "piazza" from his Uncle Bacala's Italian Seafood restaurant, Peter Hewitson and partners opened a gelateria that makes its own fresh, creamy Italian-style ice cream. On any given day Pazzo offers about a dozen flavors; the banana-chocolate chip (pictured), made with just-overripe bananas, is a particular standout.
Sweet Treats on the Wharf(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Sweet Treats on the Wharf, Port Washington: In the nearly two decades that Douglas Shepardson has run Sweet Treats on the Wharf, he has produced most of the frozen desserts known to man: ice cream, soft serve, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, sorbet and shave ice, a Hawaiian specialty in which finely ground ice is topped with sweet, colorful, fruit-flavored syrup, resulting in a refreshing solid-going-slushy beverage. Buy a cup, then stroll onto Inspiration Wharf for one of the best views on the North Shore.
Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
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, are a specialty.
Frozen Cow Ices and Cream(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Frozen Cow Ices and Cream, Lido Beach: It took some serious scoops to open an ice cream store a block away from Lido Beach's Marvel, but the owners of Frozen Cow have an entirely different approach. The emphasis is on inventive flavors such as sea-salt caramel, and a breakfast special, made with maple syrup and bits of bacon and Belgian waffles (pictured).
Port Jefferson Frigate(Credit: Heather Walsh)
Port Jefferson Frigate, Port Jefferson: Port Jefferson Frigate does it all: hard ice cream, soft serve ice cream, yogurt, candy, chocolates, gelato, popcorn, fudge, smoothies, cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels. For those seeking a slightly more restrained confection, there's the fruit cream blast, a combination of soft-serve vanilla ice cream and fruit sorbet blended -- but not all the way -- so you can discern the creaminess of the vanilla from the iciness of the sorbet. Sorbet flavors include orange, raspberry, lemon and mango.
Sip 'n' Soda Luncheonette(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Sip 'n' Soda Luncheonette, Southampton: This Southampton stalwart has been in the Parash family since 1958; little has changed since then. The four queens sundae (pictured) features homemade chocolate syrup -- a rarity -- poured over four scoops of homemade ice cream, with whipped cream and a cherry.
Magic Fountain(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Magic Fountain, Mattituck: This North Fork ice cream stalwart is famous for its unexpected flavors. The roster is long and changes frequently, but may include kulfi (an aromatic Indian confection), rainbow cookie, coconut-jalapeno, olive oil or grape-nuts. Dairy-free varieties, such as vegan raspberry, are also available.
Viale Gelateria(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Viale Gelateria, Lynbrook: At her spotlessly clean new gelateria, Italian expat Anna Franchi offers about two dozen flavors every day. The variety rotates, but the resonantly nutty pistachio gelato (pictured) is a must-order. Dress it up with chocolate sauce or a sprinkling of crunchy little meringue bits.
Marshall's Ice Cream Bar(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
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.
Henry's Confectionery(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Henry's Confectionery, Glen Cove: Two of this venerable luncheonette's specialties are breakfast and ice cream. If you'd care to sample both at the same time, try the waffle a la mode: a fresh-baked waffle topped with your choice of homemade ice cream, fresh fruit topping and whipped cream.
Marvel Frozen Dairy(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Marvel Frozen Dairy, Lido Beach: Lido Beach's iconic Marvel ice cream stand got new owners in 2014, aside from a fresh coat of paint, the Fragioudakis family hasn't changed a thing. Folks still line up to get Marvel's signature brown bonnet, wherein a fully loaded cone or cup is upended and then dipped into a vat of melted chocolate that instantly hardens, forming a crisp shell.
Caffe Italia(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Caffe Italia, Deer Park: Michael Costigliola, the Italian-born owner of Caffe Italia doesn't understand the American penchant for gelato "with crazy stuff in it." After all, what could be better than vanilla with real vanilla beans, coffee with freshly pulled espresso, strawberry with fresh strawberries, pistachio with nuts from Sicily? Bending to popular demand, he does make an Oreo gelato, but his heart is in the simple, elegant flavors that remind him of Italy. Try a big scoop of gelato sandwiched inside a split brioche bun.
Leonetti Pastry Shop(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Leonetti Pastry Shop, Greenvale: Saverio and Stella Leonetti used to make gelato back in Bari, Italy. Here, on Long Island, they continue the family tradition at this Greenvale bakery. The gelato here is creamy and clean tasting, made frequently to ensure freshness. There are usually around 20 flavors on offer -- among them, excellent hazelnut, pistachio, coffee and chocolate -- plus a number of fruit sorbetti. Enjoy your scoop of choice at one of the little tables, and pretend you're in Italy.
Herrell's Ice Cream(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Herrell's Ice Cream, Huntington: Herrell's makes a range of ice creams flavored with malt -- malted vanilla, malted chocolate, malted banana, triple malt -- and the refined malted sundae highlights its distinctive nutty-yeasty flavor. Two scoops of ice cream are drizzled with warm homemade penuche sauce (made with brown sugar and butter), then topped with nuts, crushed cookies or candies, whipped cream and a cherry.
Hope's Land of Candy(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Hope's Land of Candy, Island Park: At this nostalgia-themed candy store-soda fountain, you can step back in time with the forgotten confections such as a 19th-century milkshake (pictured), in which milk and syrup are shaken with ice and a few drops of acid phosphate (harmless!) to give it fizz and bite.
Hildebrandt's(Credit: Newsday/ Rebecca Cooney)
Hildebrandt's, Williston Park: This 88-year-old institution has introduced something new for 2015: sundae shots. Hildebrandt's will fill a 2-ounce shot glass with your choice of ice cream and sauce, topped with whipped cream and sprinkles or nuts. The initial idea, said Hildebrandt's co-owner Bryan Acosta, was to appeal to the I'm-too-stuffed-for-a-full-sized-sundae customers, but he says he's also winning admirers among another demographic, the I-can't-decide-so-give-me-five-little-sundaes crowd.
Snowflake(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Snowflake, Riverhead: Snowflake's sundae flavors follow the North Fork's fruit harvest. The summer starts with strawberries and ends with peaches. Try either fresh-fruit topping with your favorite flavor ice cream from the list of classics or the flavor-of-the-week, or be a seasonal-fruit purist: strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce, peach with peach.
Wolfies Frozen Custard(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Wolfies Frozen Custard, Northport: Frozen custard is softer than ice cream, not as dense as gelato. It's simultaneously creamy and refreshing, and Wolfies is one of the only Long Island shops that makes it.
Itgen's(Credit: Newsday / Ken Spencer)
Itgen's, Valley Stream: Itgen's serves what many consider to be Long Island's best hot fudge. It's deep, dark and not too sweet, and, as is proper for hot fudge, it solidifies upon contact with ice cream. Purists will get this sundae with vanilla ice cream; chocoholics choose chocolate. No matter the flavor, wet nuts are a fitting adornment.
Gooseberry Grove(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Gooseberry Grove, Oyster Bay: In 2016, owner Bob Liebold remodeled the Oyster Bay institution and introduced some fancy coffees, but the soul of Gooseberry Grove is and will always be ice cream. Dozens of homemade flavors include chocolate-bacon (chocolate ice cream studded with chocolate-covered bacon) and the legendary Matt's frappe: Kahlúa-flavored vanilla ice cream inundated with chunks of Heath bar and frozen brownie batter.
Krisch's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Krisch's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour, Massapequa: Krisch's classic ice cream recipes, such as toasted almond and coconut, have hardly changed in 60 years. The chocolate is sweet, straightforward and kid-friendly; newer flavors include pralines and cream, peanut butter cup, Fluffer Nutter (marshmallow and peanut butter) and chocolate-covered strawberry.
International Delight Cafe(Credit: Jin Lee)
International Delight Cafe, Bellmore: The confection here falls somewhere between ice cream and gelato. Like gelato, there's very little air whipped into it, but most of the flavors have a fat content (12 percent or more) that put them in the ice-cream category. An avowed chocoholic, owner Toni Rollandi makes a dozen-odd chocolate flavors, including Dolomite (an Italianized rocky road) and gianduia, a bittersweet blend of chocolate and hazelnut -- think grown-up Nutella. Other location in Rockville Centre.
Coyle's(Credit: Nicole Horton)
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. The waffle bowl sundae (pictured) is severed in the bowl-shaped equivalent of a waffle cone.
Star Confectionery(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.
Northport Sweet Shop(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)
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 and a sundae with divine hot fudge (pictured).
Sant Ambroeus(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.
Hicksville Sweet Shop(Credit: Jessica Earnshaw)
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.
Baci Gelato(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, such as fior di latte (milk flavor), stracciatella (chocolate chip) and 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.
McNulty's Ice Cream Parlor(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.
Five Pennies Creamery(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
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.