Alabama: Magic City Sweet Ice
City: Homewood (near Birmingham)
The owners of this café and “full-service dessert shop” got their start selling Italian ices from a pushcart at street markets and other local events. Today they offer a wide range of choices in several categories — gelato, sorbet, Italian ice, “gelati” (Italian ice topped with frozen custard), and “Magic Misto” (frozen custard and Italian ice blended into a smoothie), as well as iced soda, ice shakes, and milkshakes.
Alaska: Wild Scoops
Launched in 2015, using all-natural flavors with Alaskan add-ins, Wild Scoops has already created more than 100 flavors. A few examples: Jamberwocky (sweet cream and locally made mango-ghost-pepper jam), Yukon Gold (sweet cream, homemade fudge, and AK Chip Co. potato chip toffee), and Sitka Swirl (salted caramel swirl with Alaskan sea salt). Sorbets and dairy-free desserts are made as well.
Arizona: Novel Ice Cream
Standard flavors are available at this purveyor of locally made small-batch artisanal ice cream, but so are things like Bourbon Caramel Toffee Crunch and the Fat Elvis (with peanut butter, banana, and bacon). The shop features the Dough Melt — a glazed doughnut stuffed with a scoop of ice cream and then hot-pressed to seal the edges — and the Leslie Knope, an ice cream sandwich between two European-style waffles.
Arkansas: Loblolly Creamery
City: Little Rock
This community-focused creamery works with Arkansas farms, craft food producers, and breweries to create such flavors as Barnhill Strawberry Buttermilk, Dunbar Garden Fresh Lavender, Rock Town Bourbon Pecan, and Arkansas Motley Farm Pumpkin Patch.
California: Bobboi Natural Gelato
City: La Jolla
Classic Italian gelato flavors are always available at this casual ice cream parlor in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla — pistachio, dark chocolate, stracciatella, etc. — but there are also such innovations as Rosehoney (made with organic honey and Lebanese rosewater) and Matchatella (matcha tea with chocolate shards). There is a second location in San Diego’s Little Italy Food Hall, where popular choices include Blood Orange and Salted Caramel.