Brain Freeze

brain freezeWe thought we’d gotten the scoop on great ice creams when we covered the borough’s best frozen concoctions back in 2007, but the landscape is fairly dotted with peerless new pints. This summer, make it your mission to hit these curators of cool cream.

Brooklyn Larder’s Gelato

This Flatbush Avenue specialty shop, launched by the couple behind Franny’s, has gotten loads of love for its chilly cheese room, perfect prepared foods and carefully selected crop of palate pleasing pantry items, but we always head straight for the freezer case. That’s where you’ll find 10 flavors of their worth-every-penny housemade gelato—sigh-worthy strawberry, say, or an appropriately mozzarella-like fior di latte—in pints or cups. Trust us: Get the pint.

The General Greene Ice Cream Cart

Fort Greene restaurant owner and pastry chef Nick Morganstern is an admitted ice cream geek: He’s a wonk about his Philly-style, egg-free custard base (mixing them to order for every flavor), ordered a medical blast freezer from the West Coast (since he believes ice creams taste better after a long stint at super-cold temps), spends extra time on his Counter Culture-sourced coffee bean infusions (which have attracted the attention of local baristas), and has won our hearts with standout flavors like salted caramel. (Sorbets like lemon–olive oil are must-tries, too.) Now he’s added an industrial-strength cart complete with motorcycle wheels, steel paneling and holes for placing multiple cones, happily taking his ice cream on the move around the hood.

Fine & Raw

This local cutting-edge confectioner’s main gig is chocolate bars, made from raw cacao and agave nectar tempered over very low heat. But each week at the Flea (when the mercury is kind to cocoa, that is; look for them again in September) they sell their version of dark-chocolate ice cream, made with coconut oil and no added sugars. Skeptics may scowl at vegan glacé, but we’ll gladly eat their portion.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Made in Columbus, Ohio, these organic scoops—all the milk is from grassfed cows, too—inspire undying love from those who’ve licked them, but they sadly weren’t to be had anywhere in New York City—until now. The fine folks at Forager’s Market in Dumbo are stocking Jeni’s prime pints, and with flavors like honey vanilla bean, lemon and blueberries, sweet corn and black raspberry, and cherry lambic sorbet, they are indeed worth 10 bucks. Our favorite? Salty caramel.

Jacques Torres Ice Cream

Dieters in Dumbo might feel Jacques Torres is out to get them. First it was the sludgy-thick hot chocolates at his sweets shop, then the buttery croissants at Almondine across the street. Now he seals the deal with his very own ice cream—in waffle cones or atop Torres’s own Belgian waffles.

Van Leeuween Artisan Ice Cream

This pale yellow truck—it is a beauty—caused quite a sensation when it motored through the streets of Manhattan last summer, but now it’s cruising our own streets. The milk is from Lewis County cows, the eggs are free-range and the flavorings (like red currant, strawberry, pistachio, peppermint and coffee) are sustainably sourced, as is their servingware. Look for the pretty truck on Seventh Avenue on weeknights and Bedford Avenue on weekends.

People’s Popsicles

Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell and Joel Horowitz technically don’t make ice cream, but we’re fervid fans of their super-simple business model: Buy fruit and herbs from the farmers market, freeze it into popsicles and sell ’em on the street. The trio’s first-class frozen flavors like strawberries and cream, cherry and lemon verbena can be found at the Flea (and elsewhere via Twitter feed.) And, oh yeah, they do shave ice and make deliveries, too: More power to the People’s!

Two Scoops: These frozen treats are worth the brain freeze.