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One of the best parts about warmer weather is looking forward to digging into a bowl or cone of your favorite ice cream. And although you used to have to trek to the grocery store or wait for your local ice cream truck to drive by, online ordering has made it possible for ice cream —and gelato— to come right to your doorstep. A dessert that takes less than a few minutes to melt and drip down your hand can now be shipped clear across the country without any issue. Lucky us!
You may be wondering if it's worth the wait to have ice cream shipped to your house, but once you taste one of these 10 gourmet ice creams you'll see why mail order pays off.
01 of 10
Best Selection: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams was born out of a small scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. Now, there are over 30 locations all across the country. Thankfully, you can buy a few pints online no matter where you live.
This smooth ice cream doesn’t use synthetic flavorings, dyes or pre-made mixes and it comes in flavors that will have you eagerly digging into your pints as soon as they arrive. Ice cream traditionalists can stick to options like Darkest Chocolate, Strawberry Buttermilk, Roxberry Road and Green Mint Chip. More adventurous eaters can order creations such as Ricotta Toast with Red Berry Geranium Jam, Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet and Salted Honey Pie. There are 36 flavors to choose from (with a three-pint minimum).
02 of 10
Best Gift: Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream
This well-known San Francisco ice cream brand whips up out-of-the-box flavors that will make you question why you would ever waste your time on a boring scoop of chocolate. Some of the shop’s crazier flavors over the years have included ingredients like prosciutto, mushrooms and golden beets. Luckily, this four-pack of pints is a little more familiar. It rounds up some of Humphrey Slocombe’s greatest hits: Secret Breakfast, Malted Milk Chocolate, Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee and Tahitian Vanilla. Secret Breakfast combines bourbon ice cream with cornflake cookies while Malted Milk Chocolate tastes like a classic malted milkshake. Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee uses famed Blue Bottle coffee, sweetened condensed milk and chicory (a root that has a similar flavor to coffee), and Tahitian Vanilla has an intense vanilla flavor with a malty twist.
03 of 10
Best Subscription: McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
McConnell’s has 70 years of ice cream-making experience (and the ice cream still comes straight from the original dairy). There are only four ingredients in the base — milk, cream, eggs and sugar — and many of them come from family-run businesses. Into that base, McConnell’s adds in the jams, crumbles, nuts and cookies that make every flavor unique.
Choose one of the 21 available flavors to taste this memorable ice cream for yourself. Grab a few favorites like Banana and Salted Caramel, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Chips and Nibs to ensure that you have something for everyone in the family. And if you just can’t decide, you can join the Pint of the Month Club to get three flavors a month for the duration of your membership (either three, six or 12 months).
04 of 10
Best Texture: Graeter’s Ice Cream
The folks at Graeter’s do things a little differently from other ice cream producers: They make their ice cream using something called “the French Pot process,” and they’ve been doing it that way since 1870. The French pots spin and freeze the cream in such a way that very little air is incorporated into the final product (while other brands’ ice creams could be half air). Grater’s makes two and a half gallons of ice cream in each pot, with all the pots in a batch dedicated to one flavor at a time. Online, they sell 31 different individual flavors, as well as pack selections that combine up to 12 pints. Choose from flavors like S’mores, Cookies and Cream, Oregon Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Brownie.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Best for Outrageous Flavors: Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw is known for pushing ice cream flavors to their limits. In the past, it offered customers creative flavors like caramel potato chip cupcake, lemon & pepper white chocolate and salted caramel turkey (for a Thanksgiving series). Some were flops — there was a baked beans flavor that didn’t go over too well — but many have become perennial hits. You can get five of these beloved flavors in a “favorite pints pack” or you can pick from 12 different flavors to create your own customized five pack.
06 of 10
Best for Parties: eCreamery
eCreamery lets you become the ice cream artist — you can create completely custom flavors based on your own preferences. To begin, you choose a base of sorbet, gelato or ice cream. Then, you select an available flavor from a list of over 40 that includes options like cake mix, maple, chocolate chip and eggnog. Next, you’ll select mix-ins such as candy, nuts, fruit, swirls or cookies. And, lastly, you choose to receive your creation as four pints, eight pints or 24 single-serving party cups. You’ll be able to customize the color scheme of your pint packaging and come up with a unique name for your flavor. And if that all sounds like too much work, you can browse the bestselling flavors and personalize the packaging for those.
07 of 10
Best Mix-Ins: Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery is a Brooklyn-based shop that specializes in making playful ice cream flavors from scratch. The ice cream base is made from hormone-free cream and milk from grass-fed cows. And the majority of the mix-ins — like candy or crumbles — are made in-house from scratch.
Order a classic four-pack, which includes Ample Hills’ most popular flavors. The Munchies is a pretzel-infused ice cream with bits of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels and mini M&Ms. Peppermint Pattie is peppermint ice cream with chocolate flakes and homemade peppermint patties. Chocolate Milk and Cookies is chocolate milk ice cream with pieces of chocolate sandwich cookies (basically Oreos but organic). Ooey Gooey Butter Cake combines vanilla ice cream and chunks of St. Louis-style Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. And if somehow those flavors don’t work for you, you can choose from nine others to mix and match your own four pack.
08 of 10
Best Local Favorite: Gelato Fiasco
Venture into the world of gelato with Gelato Fiasco. Started by two proud Mainers, this company is passionate about giving back to the local community. It sources all of its milk and cream from family dairy farms and, over the past five years, has partnered with over 50 organizations that support the communities of Brunswick and Portland (the Maine locations where Gelato Fiasco has its scoop shops). So, when you buy a pint, you’re not only getting some dessert, you’re doing a little bit of good as well. Choose from two six packs: a “Love Maine” option that sends out six of Maine’s favorite flavors and a custom six-pack chosen from among 18 available flavors.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Best Gelato: Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Capogiro Gelato Artisans is clearly a stickler for quality. The company produces fresh gelato each morning in 1.3-gallon batches and puts a disclaimer on its site that it reserves the right to substitute a flavor if fruit slated for that batch was deemed “unworthy.” It also adheres to the rules of “artigianale,” which requires all ingredients to be made in house — even the flavorings.
You can buy your gelati or sorbetti in six-pint orders and choose from flavors like Olive Oil, Wild Flower Honey, Hazelnut and Thai Coconut Milk, among others. Pints only ship out on Tuesdays, so you’ll have to be patient when waiting for yours.
10 of 10
Best for Quantity: Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Jon Snyder started Ciao Bella Gelato Company (which you’ve probably spotted in your local grocery store), sold it and then went on to found another legendary gelato brand: Il Laboratorio del Gelato. There are two shop locations in Manhattan, but you can save yourself the cost of a plane ticket by buying it online. Get a four pack of 20-ounce containers curated from 18 different flavors including everything from Fresh Basil gelato to Grapefruit Campari sorbet. The company ships to anywhere within the U.S. with same-day couriers available for Manhattan residents.