The Summer Scoop

By / Photography By Yvonne Cornell | May 30, 2018
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We have the scoop on this summer’s best ice cream flavors featuring fresh, local ingredients! Our picks surprised us with their unique and unexpected combinations: creamy Avocado ice cream from Sugar  Mama and pucker-popping Passion Fruit and Lime from Tin Pot, to  name just two.

We tasted them all, and picked out our favorites to share. (This is the assignment we have all waited for.) These ice creams and their makers feature seasonal, locally sourced and often organic ingredients   including rose, lavender, mint, herbs, berries, yams, cream and honey.

Don’t know which flavors to try? Here’s a guide to help you taste and discover our region’s best handmade ice creams featuring a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors. You’ll want to try them all.

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Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream : Rose

Breathe in a floral fragrance and savor the taste of this ice cream to be enjoyed on a sunny day! A beautiful pale-pink treat with dreamy and natural rose water. Indulge yourself in 47 other small-batch flavors from Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream. All ice creams are made in-house, and have been local favorites for over 40 years.

Other flavors to try: Saffron Pistachio, a nutty sweet-and-salty combination with an indulgence of ground saffron and roasted pistachios.

Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream, Palo Alto

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Smitten : TCHO 60.5% Chocolate

Freshly delivered from a local farm, the organic milk and cream are churned before your eyes as an icy fog rises from a machine using liquid nitrogen to freeze your flavor choice in minutes. If you are a chocolate lover, or want to win the heart of one, choose this flavor with melted-down Berkeley’s TCHO 60.5% chocolate and Valrhona cocoa for a chocolate ice cream dream!

Other flavors to try: Taste Classic Vanilla, simple, bright, flawless ice cream churned on-site and served in a hand-rolled waffle cone.

Smitten Ice Cream, Santana Row, San Jose

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Sugar Mama : Fresh Avocado

There’s one whole avocado in every pint! Taste this light-green, handcrafted ice cream made with fresh, hormone-free milk. A hint of sweetness rounds out this natural and extra-creamy treat, leaving you to exclaim “I love avocado ice cream!” Delight in Sugar Mama’s other cool scoops with fresh, seasonal and local fruits used whenever possible. Every week there are new seasonal combinations to tickle your taste buds, so we can only get you started.

Other flavors to try: Spanish Turrón, think of a Big Hunk candy bar transformed into ice cream—indulgent and elegant; Fresh Strawberry, the freshest-tasting strawberry ice cream we have ever tried, using berries from local favorite Rodriguez Farms; and Unicorn, a mix of fresh strawberries, beet juice and pandan leaf. Sugar Mama Desserts, Sunnyvale and Willow Glen, San Jose Farmers Markets.

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Treat : Ube (Purple Yam)

Here’s another ice cream wonder made with—what else?—purple yams. This root vegetable mixed with local dairy is creamy and gently flavored with a down–to-earth sweet taste. Visit the San Jose Treat factory and smell the ice cream scents as you view the giant steel vats when you walk through the front door. For ice cream connoisseurs, this style of ice cream is whipped and fluffy, a perfect complement to pie or other dessert. Buy the 1½-quart tubs for cash only from an employee who greets you upon arrival, or buy their locally made flavors at Lunardi’s markets under the Lunardi label.

Other flavors to try: Burgundy Cherry and Mango.

Treat Ice Cream Co., San Jose

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Gelataio : Pineapple Hibiscus

We picked this beautifully balanced, bright-pink sorbetto because we could not decide which of the California-inspired choices were our favorite as they were all of equal icy delightfulness! All the scoop shop’s flavor choices are artisanal, hand-crafted gelatos and sorbettos made in the Italian tradition and contain seasonally fresh, organic produce.

Other flavors to try: California Pistachio—Rejoice, pistachio lovers, and enjoy the strong, deep roasted pistachio flavor in this nutty sweet-and-salty treat.

Gelataio Premium Gelato and Sorbetto, Palo Alto and San Carlos

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Tin Pot : Passion Fruit and Lime

Don’t let this sunny orange scoop fool you—this sweet flavor packs a heavy twist of tangy fresh lime! And we are lime lovers! Taste the many other unique natural ice cream and sorbet flavors of this small-batch and hand-crafted frozen scoop store. Seasonal flavors emphasize the use of local and organic ingredients. And get your licks from one of the waffle cones handmade right in the shop.

Other flavors to try: Look for some new fresh picks coming only for the summer! We hear that ripe and ready Strawberry and Berry Jamble from local farm-picked berries are being added to the lineup of seasonal treats. Yum!

Tin Pot Ice Cream, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Campbell and San Mateo

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Treatbot : Honey Lavender

This stunning purple ice cream pairs fresh lavender and honey culminating in a unique and elegant taste! All ingredients are locally sourced within 50 miles of San Jose, and served from a fun, silver karaoke truck permanently residing in San Pedro Square Market. Sing your way to ice cream bliss with these made-fromscratch flavors reflecting the founder’s Filipino heritage served from a red, mobile karaoke Treatbot truck.

Other flavors to try: Eastside Horchata; Milk and Honey; and their very popular (408), a mash-up flavor of cookie crumbles and chocolate swirls named after the area code.

Treatbot Karaoke and Ice Cream, San Jose

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Revival : Mint Eucalyptus Fudge

A cool mingling of fudge, freshly harvested organic spearmint and eucalyptus, made with organic Clover milk and locally sourced ingredients! Visit the Revival ice cream store, or order online at with nationwide shipping to your front door.

Other flavors to try: Bee’s Knees, an award-winning local honeyswirled favorite; Bouquet Sorbet, a palate pleaser with a coconut milk base and herbs lovingly handpicked by the owner and daughter; and Kelp, a vanilla ice cream with a graham cracker and toasted Pacific Kombu swirl. Despite its oceanic origins, there’s no hint of fishy taste in this delicious exploration.

Revival Ice Cream, Monterey

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