Montana: Big Dipper Ice Cream
In addition to the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry and the hardly exotic coconut and salted caramel, this Missoula institution also proposes such flavors as Cardamom, Bubblegum, Black Licorice, and Espresso Heath. In addition to the main shop, Big Dipper’s Coneboy ice cream truck plies the streets of Missoula, and there are offshoots in Helena and Billings.
Nebraska: Coneflower Creamery
This “farm to cone” operation offers ice pops, ice cream floats and sandwiches, homemade toppings and sauces, and artisanal root beer. The handmade ice cream offerings include Vanilla Bean, Dark Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel, and a host of varying seasonal flavors.
City: Las Vegas
The specialty here is shaved ice cream (sometimes called shaved snow — not to be confused with shaved ice), fluffy curls of frozen dessert shaved off a solid block. Choose from a wide range of toppings to complete the experience. Base flavors include mango, taro, coconut, green tea, and black sesame, as well as seasonal choices. Some 24 toppings may be added, ranging from fruit and candy chips to several kinds of cereal and red bean paste. Then sauces go on top. Ten ready-made combinations are also offered, such as Balboa Banana, with banana snow, almonds, rainbow sprinkles, and chocolate sauce.
New Hampshire: King Kone
The soft-serve ice cream stand King Kone opened in Merrimack, just outside Nashua, in 1972. (Last summer, the owners launched an offshoot at the Sagamore Golf Center in North Hampton, near the New Hampshire coast.) Flavors, some of which change periodically, include chocolate, vanilla, coffee, black raspberry, and mint.
New Jersey: Torico Ice Cream
City: Jersey City
Torico started as a deli but evolved into an ice cream shop when the proprietor’s hand-cranked offerings became increasingly popular. The ice cream is no longer hand-cranked, but it’s still made in-house, with a repertoire of more than 65 flavors. More than 40 of these are always available, including many variations on chocolate, as well as things like Cherry Pistachio and Coconut and Cream. Seasonal flavors include Java Mocha Donut and Spicy Eggnog in the fall and winter and Jackfruit and Avocado in spring and summer.