Four must-try Midtown ice cream shops

Ice cream isn’t just dessert. Ice cream is pausing. Ice cream is memories and treating yourself. Ice cream is an excuse to enjoy summer nights a little bit longer and the key to surviving Atlanta summers.  Midtown has many competing cones, but these four spots always come out with a cherry on top. 

Queen of Cream Ice Cream + Coffee Parlor

Queen of Cream started off in 2014 with just one ice cream cart, a 100-square-foot kitchen and flavors made 100 percent from scratch. Reigning ice cream queen Cora Cotrim sources local dairy, pasteurizes her own base and uses real ingredients for every flavor. Queen of Cream’s first brick-and-mortar shop in Virginia Highlands opened in 2015 and offers an assortment of treats, coffees and pastries. 

Flavors rotate each month, but Lavender Honeycomb is a mainstay. The popular flavor is made from organic lavender blooms and accented with honey swirls packed with a crunch of baked honeycomb. 

701 Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 404.331.0807, QueenOfCream.com

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Founder Jeni Britton Bauer followed her nose into the world of confections. After all, it steered her right in the past, from artist to pastry chef to part-time perfumier. She knew quality and applied it to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002, using only whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows. There’s no room for synthetic flavorings and stabilizers when Jeni’s ice cream is packed with so many ingredients.

This summer’s Nectar Honeycomb has an exotic aroma from an Indonesian flavor. The ice cream has notes of vanilla, coriander, clove and honey and is made with ylang-ylang, an essential oil that smells like nectar and spice. 

1198 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 404.355.6050, Jenis.com

Jake’s Ice Cream

Jake’s former fixer-upper storefront in the Old Fourth Ward is now a popular pit stop along the eastside Atlanta BeltLine. Founder and owner Jake Rothschild saw potential in the turn-of-the-century shack and in his love of ice cream, which he calls “borderline insanity.” 

Today, Jake’s is famous for Chocolate Slap Yo Mama and Brown Shugah Vanilla, along with more than 200 other ice creams, sorbets, gelatos, sherbets, frozen yogurt and Joyscreams — the shop’s original frozen treat made with Jake’s own natural sweetener. 

Pay homage to the peach state with a scoop ofFried Peach Piescream made from whole fried hand pies stirred into a sweet cream base. The southern sweet will also be served at B’s Cracklin’ BBQ during the summer months. 

660 Irwin St. NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 678.705.7945, JakesIceCream.com

Paolo’s Gelato Italiano

Officially, Paolo’s is a gelateria. Unofficially, it’s the best gelato in Atlanta. Italian-born Paolo Dalla Zorza opened Paolo’s in 2000 to bring the taste of his homeland to Virginia Highlands. Not only does the shop serve the creamier, smoother and silkier cousin to ice cream, it also has Italian coffees, candies, cookies and customizable cannolis. 

Health nut? Take note: Gelato is the ultimate paradox in dairy treats. Milk-based gelato typically contains less than 7 percent fat, and fruit-based gelato has less than 2 percent, making it a more health-conscious choice than traditional ice cream.  

A go-to gelato is Stracciatella (strotch-E-uh-TEL-uh), the Italian version of chocolate chip ice cream. The fior di latte base, or “flower of milk” base, has plenty of chocolate bits.  

1025 Virginia Ave. NE, Georgia, 404.607.0055, PaolosGelato.com