I'm a tough customer when it comes to ice-cream parlors, for the simple reason that I am perfectly happy to stay home and consume a pint of chocolate Häagen-Dazs. The "homemade" claim holds little allure for me, since any store with a batch freezer and a carton of ice-cream base can, technically, make it.

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.

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With a couple of notable newbies -- Joe & Liza's in Sag Harbor and Rosie's in Lindenhurst -- here are more than 30 shops that consistently deliver sweet, creamy goodness in the face of summer swelter. They are worth the trip.

GUIDE: Where to get great ice cream.