Some people say that life is not a competition, but most of us in DC would disagree. After all, living and working in DC means being at the center of world-changing events almost every day. This makes us think, quite rightly, that we have the best of everything. But there is one “Best of” list where DC gets no love: Ice Cream.
Check out a Best Ice Cream in the US list and you will be told that all of the good stuff is either in California or New England. Well, we in DC beg to differ, since we have an abundance of incredible ice cream makers right here inside the Beltway. In fact, our biggest problem is narrowing down the list to just a few! So check out this collection of great creameries and just know that it could have been twice as long.
Ice Cream Jubilee: (website) Founded by former Homeland Security presidential appointee Victoria Lai, Ice Cream Jubilee is an award-winning local favorite with two locations at Navy Yard and Logan Circle. Featuring cream and milk from a local creamery and flavors that feature local favorites like Zeke’s cold brew and District Doughnuts vanilla bean doughnuts, this is as quintessentially DC as you can get.
Maryland Dairy: (website) Celebrating 90 years of amazing ice cream, the University of Maryland’s dairy offers their fabulous flavors on-campus or direct to you through their catering service. Besides their inventive flavors, they also make sundaes, banana splits, root beer floats, and other soda fountain favorites.
Pitango Gelato: (website) Founded in 2006 by Noah Dan, Pitango has four gelaterie throughout the DMV creating gelato the old-fashioned way. Run by self-described “control freaks” who reject the chemical-laden franken-ice creams of commercial makers, Pitango uses grass-fed cow’s milk and free-range eggs from Pennsylvania’s Spring Wood Organic Farm to create the most authentic gelatos and sorbets possible.
Moorenko’s Ultra Premium Ice Cream: (website) A pioneer in premium ice cream, Susan Moorenko has been making her ultra-premium ice cream since 2002 in her former shop in McLean (RIP) and in her Silver Spring location. Her ice cream is available throughout Northern Virginia in a number of grocery stores and throughout the rest of the state in select retailers like Whole Foods and other local gourmet markets.
RareSweets: (website) Founded by renowned pastry chef Meredith Tomason of Tribeca Treats, Magnolia Bakery, and Craft Restaurant, RareSweets is a totally sweet experience, combining a bakeshop, coffee shop, and ice cream shop. Perpetual award-winner and seasonally focused, Tomason’s ice cream shop combines the unusual like sour cream & sorghum or yellow watermelon with the classic flavors of Americana to create truly rare sweets.
milk bar: (website) At the other end of the culinary and aesthetic spectrum is milk bar, the brain child of Springfield, Virginia native Christina Tosi. The former pastry chef at Momofuku, Tosi created milk bar as a sister pastry shop to David Chang’s famed restaurant. The shop is a combination pastry shop and ice cream shop, featuring the signature cereal milk soft serve, as well as other fun and fruity flavors. In addition, shakes, floats and milkquakes are on offer in this hot-pink-bubble-letter confectionary. Check out the DC “Bake the Book” classes where you can create recipes from Tosi’s cookbooks and take home the results.
Le Diplomate: (website) In keeping with its French theme, pastry chef Fabrice Bendano offers a variety of favorites on the menu like palet chocolat-framboise, coupe glacee choco-café, and artisanal ice cream and sorbets. What you may not know, though, is that you don’t need a reservation to enjoy these authentic French sweet treats. The gourmet glaces and sorbets are served from a vintage tricycle cart parked outside Le Diplomate every weekend during the summer months, to ensure you never have to do without.
The Dairy Godmother: (website) From the elegant to the sublime, The Dairy Godmother’s Alexandria location serves frozen custard, sorbets, and treats like homemade marshmallows. Never go anywhere without your pup? With Puppy Pops on offer in two flavors (pumpkin and banana) and squirrel dog cookies, you can sit outside on the blue benches and share a sweet treat with your favorite Fido.
There are so many amazing shops in DC that we’ve only just scratched the surface. Let us know where you love to grab a cone so we can feature it in part two. And if you’re looking for a home within strolling distance of your favorite shop, we’re ready to help you start your search. Sign in and let one of our Eng Garcia Grant Realtors help you find the right place in the right neighborhood wherever you want to be in and around DC.