Where to Find L.A.’s Coolest Ice Cream and Gelato Shops

By Erin Mahoney Harris

Peddler’s Creamery churns its ice cream via stationary bicycle. Pitch in and get a free scoop. PHOTOS BY ERIN MAHONEY HARRIS

Peddler’s Creamery churns its ice cream via stationary bicycle. Pitch in and get a free scoop. PHOTOS BY ERIN MAHONEY HARRIS

Considering our year-round sunny weather, it’s no wonder Los Angeles has a seemingly endless array of ice cream parlors, gelaterias and FroYo shops. If you’re ready to venture beyond the shop on the corner for something truly special, here are six spots that are absolutely worth a try.

Bulgarini Gelato has branched out from its Altadena headquarters and has a second shop in Culver City. PHOTO COURTESY BULGARINI

Bulgarini Gelato has branched out from its Altadena headquarters and has a second shop in Culver City. PHOTO COURTESY BULGARINI

Scoops original location is on hip-as-can-be Heliotrope Drive (712 N., Heliotrope Dr., L.A.; 323-906-2649), where they dish up creative ice cream flavor combos such as brown bread, lavender goat cheese honey, matcha almond and Guinness tiramisu – as well as plenty of tasty non-dairy options. Adventurous flavor-seekers now have several locations to choose from, including eastside outposts in Highland Park and Chinatown, as well as Scoops Westside in the Palms neighborhood (3400 Overland Ave.; 323-405-7055; www.scoopswestside.com).

When there was only one Bulgarini Gelato shop, in Altadena (749 E. Altadena Dr.; 626-791-6174; www.bulgarinigelato.com), most Angelenos had reason enough to make the trip into the foothills north of Pasadena. But now that owner Leo Bulgarini has located his second outpost more centrally in Culver City (8686 Washington Blvd.; 310-815-1723) near the Helms Bakery complex, getting an insanely rich and delicious pistachio gelato fix got a whole lot easier for Westsiders.

Ice Cream Lab marries dessert and science to create a creamy frozen treat.

Ice Cream Lab marries dessert and science to create a creamy frozen treat.

You’ll find the perfect marriage of dessert and science at Ice Cream Lab (9461 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-795-6505; www.icecreamlab.com), where each serving is made to order using liquid nitrogen. This might sound like a trendy molecular gastronomy gimmick, but you’ll be pleased to find that their unique methods produce notably creamier, more flavorful and fresher-tasting treats.

If you feel like working for your dessert, Peddler’s Creamery (458 S. Main St., L.A.; 213-537-0257; www.peddlerscreamery.com) has you covered. The downtown ice cream shop churns its organic dairy and non-dairy treats via a stationary bicycle mounted in the shop – and customers are welcome to hop into the seat. Join the Peddler’s Club to make a batch yourself (by pedaling for 15 to 20 minutes at about 15 mph) and you earn a free scoop!

Now, we have two words for you: chocolate sorbet. While every flavor in the Gelato Bar’s rotation is sure to please, the rich, dark, non-dairy chocolate sorbet is the one you’ll return for again and again. There are two locations to choose from – one in Studio City (4342 Tujunga Ave.) and one in Los Feliz (1936 Hillhurst Ave.) – so chances are you won’t have to travel too far to get it.

Carmela (www.carmelaicecream.com) specializes in delicately tantalizing flavor combinations and appeals as much to refined adult palates as it does to little ones jonesing for anything sweet and cold. Signature ice cream flavors include brown sugar vanilla bean, dark chocolate cacao nib and lavender honey, while rotating seasonal offerings might feature lemon basil sorbet, strawberry buttermilk ice cream or raspberry rose sorbet. Carmela shops are located in Pasadena (2495 E. Washington Blvd.) and on West Third Street in L.A.; they also visit many farmers markets and are sold at specialty food shops.

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