I’ll gladly play around with Rocky Road and Salted Caramel and all of those fancy ice cream flavors for this national food holidays blog. But can we be a little serious here? Is there anything better than a high quality, rich, creamy cup of pure chocolate ice cream? Just as a chef’s expertise should be judged based on how well she executes a classic dish, an ice cream shop is only as good as its most basic flavors, regardless of any of the bells and whistles of their “signature” flavors. If you can’t make chocolate ice cream taste fresh, creamy, and amazing, then why are you in the ice cream business at all??
There are quite a few ice cream shoppes (yes, I added the extra “pe,” I feel that an ice cream shop is worthy of the olde tyme spelling!) in New York City that fit the bill of a delicious, perfectly executed chocolate ice cream, and some that even take it to the next level, adding such complementary ingredients as white chocolate (which is technically not chocolate at all!), ancho chiles, and–yeah, you know it–bacon.
Okay, so an ice cream shop should be judged on its clean, perfectly-balanced simple flavors, but once you get past that, there’s never any harm in going a little on the wacky side 😉
The aptly named “Cones” in the West Village takes a 180-degree spin on chocolate ice cream and gets rid of the very thing that makes it so identifiable: the milky, creamy, brown chocolate. Their white chocolate ice cream is just as creamy and rich as its darker companion, but with the smooth, subtle taste of cocoa you can only get from white chocolate. (Did you know that white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate at all? Because it uses no cocoa powder–only cocoa butter, if you’re lucky–it’s not considered a “chocolate” by chocolatier standards. Ha!) White chocolate chips also add to the texture without adding in conflicting flavors that many ice cream add-ons often do. And best of all, it’s that clear, crisp taste of one distinct ice cream flavor that I often look for on a hot day, when all I want from my cool cone of ice cream is to cool me down–not overload me with sweetness. And for those who like an even icier treat, they also offer a chocolate sorbet flavor–so Cones has you covered for whatever chocolate ice dessert you plan to enjoy on Chocolate Ice Cream Day 🙂
272 Bleecker St (between Morton St & Jones St)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The White Chocolate ice cream is sweet, creamy and rich but not too rich. There are shavings of white chocolate folded in that add just the right amount of crunch and also up the white chocolate flavor. The flavor is incredibly pure and definitely satisfying.”–Steve B.
“Expensive, expensive, expensive……but delicious, delicious, delicious. The white chocolate ice cream is truly something out of a dream. Creamy and sweet, but not too sweet (which white chocolate tends to be), this ice cream is enough to keep me coming back (occasionally, as the prices often keep me FROM coming back).”–Ryan K.
However, I bet some of you are asking me why I keep beating around the bush here, talking about white chocolate ice cream when one of the premier chocolatiers in New York City makes their own in-house ice cream that’s a cut above everyone else on the planet. (Okay, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but it’s damn good, you’ve got to admit.) And yes, it’s true: Jacques Torres, one of the most celebrated chocolate shops in the city, makes their own chocolate ice cream. More than one variation, actually, and you can try them all on weekends at Jacques Torres Ice Cream, right next to their Water Street location. You’ve got every kind of chocolate ice cream you can dream of right at your fingertips here, but if I’m shelling out Jacques Torres money for a simple scoop, my money’s going to Wicked Chocolate. A flavor that comes in all variations–solid chocolate, hot chocolate, and ice cream–Wicked Chocolate is a spicy surprise when it comes in a cool cone. You can really taste the ancho chile that’s included in the chocolate mix. If you’re in DUMBO and looking for a simple, clean-cut chocolate ice cream, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is always open to you; but if you like a little kick in your ice cream, then head a few blocks down to Jacques Torres and you won’t be disappointed.
Jacques Torres Ice Cream
62 Water St, DUMBO
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I tried the Wicked Chocolate Ice Cream in a fresh made waffle cone. I usually detest chocolate ice cream. It’s usually a vapid, faint excuse for real chocolate flavor. This ice cream however was chocolately with a nice hint of heat at the end. It looks like all the ice creams are made in small batches and in house since the tubs were pretty small.”–Kelly I.
“I moved to DUMBO just to be near Mr. Chocolate! It’s the death of me. By far some of the best chocolates in the city. period. Go for the Wicked. Chocolate with Ancho chilies. The smoothness of the chocolate with the heat is fantastic.”–Alex W.
So, ancho chiles in your chocolate ice cream isn’t wild and daring enough for you? You need something crazy to try on National Chocolate Ice Cream Day? Well, I couldn’t let this day go by without mentioning one of the most coveted ice cream sandwiches in the city. How about you try some bacon with your ice cream? 😉 You’d think it’s an impossible combination, but the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop has perfected the mix of everybody’s two favorite flavors in the Choinkwich. An ice cream sandwich to write home to your mother about (or perhaps you’d rather not let her know about this dessert debauchery!), the Choinkwich is homemade chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate cookies, with a layer of rich, savory bacon marmalade in there for good measure. The Choinkwich used to be offered by the shop’s food truck, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, with real slices of maple bacon in between the cookies, but the sandwich became so popular that it was impossible to keep it well-stocked, and sandwiches sold out long before the day was over. As a delicious bacony substitute, BGICS created the bacon marmalade to give the Choinkwich its signature savory taste without the problem of daily bacon shortages. Even with the change the Choinkwich is in high demand, and you’ve got to get here early if you want to snag one, especially on National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. And there’s no National Bacon Day to catch this delicious treat on instead!
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 E 7th St (between Avenue A & 1st Ave)
“If you don’t know what a Choinkwich…well..it’s an ice cream sandwich with chocolate cookies, chocolate soft serve and a layer of caramelized bacon. Doug and Bryan occasionally would have it at the truck but with their limited space it was difficult to make. Fast forward to now and with the brand spanking new Big Gay Ice Cream Shop opened on 7th St in the East Village, the Choinkwich has finally made it to the permanent menu. But with a new shop came a new Choinkwich. The Treats Truck still provides the cookies but it’s bigger than before and instead of caramelized bacon, they are using a made-just-for-Big-Gay-Ice-Cream version of Bacon Marmalade. The new version is pretty damn awesome. It’s salty, bacony, chocolatey, sweet and……..messy. Make sure to grab extra napkins.”–Eat To Blog
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Needless to say, I got the Choinkwich, and it was pretty awesome. Delicious, crunchy chocolate cookies, and gloriously salty bacon marmalade with chocolate ice cream in the middle. The bacon is chewy enough to provide a nice contrast to the crunchy cookie (and to force you to slow down and chew, which can be helpful for those of us who tend to inhale ice cream instead of eating it), and packs that great savory/salty combination to counter the sweet ice cream.”–Jordan J.
“Worthy of climax, the Choinkwich ($5) is an ample serving of chocolate ice cream, topped with a thin layer of bacon marmalade, then placed between two chocolate cookies. The experience made me understand why there’s a unicorn painted on the wall. The Choinkwich is a living fantasy. A party in your mouth.”–Steven K.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!