South Dakota: Stensland Family Farms
City: Sioux Falls
Stensland is a family-owned farm near Larchwood, Iowa, 15 miles or so southeast of Sioux Falls, and that’s where their original farm shop is located. The Sioux Falls location sells all the farm’s dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream, but adds freshly hand-dipped ice cream specialties to the menu. Fancifully named choices include Conquer the Craving (brownie batter with brownie chunks and cookie dough), Heavenly Holstein (cream swirled with black-and-white cookies), Gravel Travel (salted peanut butter ice cream with Oreo chunks and caramel swirls), and Monkey See Monkey Do (banana with walnuts, peanut butter, and chocolate flakes).
Tennessee: Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar
Among the more unusual flavors at this well-loved local spot are Red Velvet Cake, Blackberry Cornbread, Loaded Butterscotch, Maple Blondie Walnut, Coffee Fudge, and Fudge Covered Cookie. Another genre-bending option, which was offered for a limited time only, was Cake Soup — which had six kinds of cake blended in.
Texas: BigDash Ice Cream & Pastries
This unusual operation in a Dallas suburb specializes in Middle Eastern pastries but also stretchy Syrian-style ice cream as made famous by the Bakdash ice cream parlor in Damascus. The texture of the ice cream derives in part from the addition of sahlab, a natural gum derived from orchid roots. The basic choice here is so-called Arabic Ice Cream — milk, cream, rosewater, and sahlab, topped with pistachios. Other flavors include Bubble Gum, Salted Butter Caramel, and Oreo.
Utah: Dolcetti Gelato
City: Salt Lake City
This father-and-daughter operation calls itself Salt Lake City’s oldest gelato shop. The hand-crafted choices include Pear, Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Basil, Lime-Thyme with Mint, and Strawberry Balsamic.
Vermont: Shy Guy Gelato
Run by a Vermonter who trained in Italy and a local restaurateur, Shy Guy offers such choices as pistachio, dark chocolate sorbet, and stracciatella, as well as specialty flavors like Maple Bacon and Matcha Mint Chip.