I am lucky to be traveling abroad with a group of students who appear to be just as passionate for ice cream as I am. We chow down on the cold stuff just about all the time. On the whole, you can except to find the usual culprits in any French ice cream shop, but also a bevy of new flavor combinations and interesting creations. I tend to focus on trying all of the unconventional flavors, and rely on the kindness of others to taste the tried and true ones. Here are the three ice cream spots that have really impressed me so far.
Punto Gusto (Grenoble)- This charming cafe and glacier whips up deliciously creamy ice cream. The man who works behind the counter is also a wizard with the ice cream spoon/scoop and turns ice cream cones into floral sculptures like he’s been doing it his whole life (he really might have.) I accidentally deleted the pictures I took of the ice cream there… but I’ll return and snap a few so that you can see the flowers.
Flavor to Try: Meringue– there is some serious French magic going into this ice cream because it is basically like eating freshly whipped meringue, only colder, denser, and fattier. Mmm… Their Fraise was also unbelievable, and there Toble (which we thought was toblerone flavored) is chocolate/orange and also a fine treat.
Glacier des Alpes (Annecy)- Annecy is pretty touristy, so there are tons of glaciers on every street. We knew we stumbled upon the right choice when we saw our tour guide/social director, Vincent, waiting in the 20 person line. He told us this was the place to go for a scoop or two. We listened and weren’t disappointed. This family operated creamery, whips up a ton of different flavors. Every “parfum” I tried was great (5 in total amongst the group), so if you are in Annecy, this is a pretty safe bet.
Flavor(s) to Try: Kibana– I thought I was going to talk about the Honey Lavender ice cream I had when I ordered it, but a last minute decision to add a second scoop changed everything. Kibana is a combination of kiwi and banana, and it is out of this world. It basically tastes like banana ice cream with a little added tang. The chunks of kiwi in it really put it over the top. If you are interested in something less fruity/floral, try the Cookie Flavor. Vanilla ice cream, HUGE cookie chunks, and chocolate swirl… done deal.
Royal Chocolate Carincotte (Grenoble)- Earlier today, on our way to do homework (or sit around a drink tea) Laura spotted a chocolate shop selling Fig ice cream and we decided to stop in. Royal Chocolate also happens to be the kitschiest/cutest chocolate shop I’ve seen so far in Grenoble. All the other clients were elderly, so you know they make good stuff. The owner is a really sweet lady, and I felt bad not ordering anything, but I had just eaten a pastry. After tasting Laura’s ice cream, I really wish I had.
Flavor to try: Figue– As long-time readers know, I made Honey Fig ice cream this summer. While I still think my version was successful, I had no idea the full potential of figs and ice cream. Royal’s version is so jam-packed with figs, that is a deep maroon in color. If figs were creamy, they would taste like this ice cream. I will definitely be returning to try their Mangue épicée flavor. Mango, lime, cardamum, and coriander in an ice cream? I’ll let you know how it goes.
Also, here is how ice cream ought to be served (courtesy of Glacier Les Alpes and Darcy’s photos)…