Lei Chic's top local picks for National Ice Cream Month
Sad news: You only have nine days left to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. Chill out, that's still plenty of time for you to sample our top locally made ice cream (and gelato) picks. You might just have to call in a snow day or two.
Il Gelato Hawaii
Check Il Gelato's Facebook page for flavors of the day that you can snag by the pint at its Iwilei factory, or, starting next month, at its first retail cafe in Kahala Mall (more on that in Biting Commentary). Got braver taste buds? Il Gelato makes a saffron-flavored gelato special for Cactus restaurant, which you can order by the scoop. 501 Sumner St., Suite 501, open Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., (808) 542-9276. [web]
Scoops of Paradise
This North Shore shop makes its own ice cream in-house and offers dozens of flavors (you can sample two of them before ordering). The classics, like vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, are delicious staples, but we usually opt for the rotating specials, like lilikoi cheesecake, lavender blueberry, rose, raspberry fudge, and ginger. 66-145 Kamehameha Hwy., Suite 5B, open daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., (808) 637-3456.
Wing Ice Cream Parlor
Don't get distracted by the bevy of sweets packed into this pint-sized Chinatown shop - you're here for the homemade ice cream. Check the handwritten list tacked by the register (or posted on Facebook) for available flavors and order away. A recent visit scored us refreshing spoonfuls of sweet potato, li hing mango, and blueberry, though we'll forego carrot the next go around. 1145 Maunakea St., Suite 4, hours vary, (808) 536-4929. [web]
Stage has become one of our favorite dessert spots, thanks in part to its luscious scoops of housemade ice cream and sherbet. We loved the brown butter popcorn ice cream that came with our "Very Decadent Cake," Nutella powder, and fleur de sel caramel, though surprisingly, our favorite was vanilla bean, which tasted heavenly with brown butter banana tart and amaretto streusel. Honolulu Design Center, open for dinner Mondays-Saturdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., (808) 237-5429. [web]
Via Gelato Hawaii
Forget tinkling music - you'll find Via Gelato by following this little gem of a gelato truck on Twitter or Instagram. Owner Melissa Bow creates each flavor from scratch and isn't afraid to play with unique combinations like shiso watermelon, green tea haupia, basil mango, and cinnamon bun. [instagram] [twitter]
Pick up few of OnoPops' limited-edition flavors that feature real ice cream: caramel shoyu (dulce de leche ice cream with a hint of shoyu), Kula strawberry ice cream, cacao nib crunch (salted milk chocolate ice cream with candied cacao nibs), and mac nut brittle (sweet cream ice cream with a swirl of macadamia nut marzipan and mac nut brittle). Available at Whole Foods and Foodland. (808) 354-2949. [web]
Photo credits: ThinkStock (main), Martha Cheng (Il Gelato, Wing Ice Cream Parlor), Via Gelato.