NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano tried ice cream at Van Leeuwen and gelato at Venchi, two of the newest shops of Roosevelt Field Mall.  Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

Roosevelt Field has doubled down on the sweet side of summer with two Long Island debuts at the Garden City mall. First, cult favorite Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, which began as a yellow scoop truck roaming the streets of Brooklyn. Second, Venchi, an Italian chocogelateria serving both upscale chocolates and decadent gelatos in an opulent European-style storefront.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Long Islanders need not cross any bridges or tunnels to get a scoop of the ice cream founded by brothers Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen and partner Laura O’Neill in 2008. With more than 50 shops across the country, Long Island's first location is at Roosevelt Field. 

Van Leeuwen’s French-style ice cream is made with double the number of egg yolks as standard ice cream, producing a custard-like treat that’s richer than your run of the mill scoop. Their vegan ice cream, made with oat milk, cashew milk and coconut cream, is equally smooth. With over 30 flavors as well as inventive seasonal ones, Van Leeuwen is also known for wacky collaborations like those with Hidden Valley Ranch and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Opening flavors at Roosevelt Field include a snappy honeycomb, pistachio (sourced from Sicily’s Mount Etna), marionberry cheesecake (made with berries from Stahlbush Island Farms in Oregon), sour cherry creamsicle (in partnership with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), praline butter cake and Earl Grey tea, plus vegan flavors including churros and fudge, peanut butter brownie honeycomb and strawberry shortcake. Portions range from one to three scoops and start at $7.35. If you can’t decide, get a few freshly scooped pints to-go, which are $10.50.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, Roosevelt Field, 630 Old Country Rd., Uniondale,; Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Pistachio gelato at the new Venchi shop at Roosevelt Field...

Pistachio gelato at the new Venchi shop at Roosevelt Field mall. Credit: Newsday/Marie Elena Martinez

Mention chocolate and gelato maker Venchi, and the Italy aficionados in your life might swoon. Venchi has opened its first shop on the Island and, man, is it a stunner.

Venchi has 145 years of expertise in chocolate-making, with its products available in more than 70 countries. Venchi was founded in 1878 when Silviano Venchi — a curious and industrious 20-year-old from Turin who loved chocolate — spent his life savings on two bronze caldrons to play around with the stuff.

In the new shop, a rainbow of Wonka-esque chocolate bars and shiny, wrapped candies in flavors like crème brûlée, strawberry and stracciatella adorn the walls. Choose from lavishly packaged gift boxes featuring high-quality ingredients like Piedmont hazelnut, green pistachio, almond and certified cocoa or select by the half-pound ($13.90) for a mixed stash. All candies are made in Italy without coloring agents, preservatives or palm oils, substituting fats like olive oil and cocoa butter instead. Venchi chocolates are gluten-free; some are vegan.

Venchi's gelato is not to be missed — it's made daily in 24 flavors, from pistachio to caramel to cappuccino. You can coat your cup or cone ($7.15 for one flavor, $7.95 for two, $18.90/pound for gelato takeout) with a customized rim of Venchi’s hazelnut and chocolate spread from the fountain near the register. There are also Italian coffees, hot chocolate and crepes.

Venchi, Roosevelt Field, 630 Old Country Rd., Garden City,; Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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