Leave no cone unturned

Got a hot scoop for ya — five, in fact. Let these local ice-cream joints restore some chill to your summer swelter
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  July 11, 2012

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Toscanini's 

TOSCANINI'S

899 Main St, Cambridge | 617.491.5877 | tosci.com | Amid strains of Arcade Fire, Toro Y Moi, and other indie-rock stalwarts, Toscanini's production chief Andy Dubyoski churns out between 50 and 60 flavors per month during the broiling summer season. "They almost change by hour," he says. "We're constantly rotating." Dubyoski finds inspiration from whatever fresh ingredients he can get his hands on; this summer, his ice creams and sorbets are featuring lots of fruit (everything from mango to plum) and herbal flavors, such as blackberry basil. As Dubyoski explains, "We don't have any secrets. We're going to make a peach ice cream that tastes like peach, with maybe some bourbon to add complexity." Other summer highlights include the delicate and controlled mint ("We made mint instead of the typical peppermint chip") and a particularly full-bodied strawberry concoction. Recently, Dubyoski has also tried his hand at making "fun" popsicles, in such flavors as raspberry lemonade. The bustling Central Square storefront makes for some primo crowd-watching; bliss out with your cone on one of their cushy couches — if you can get a seat, that is.

_Neil Patch

PICCO

513 Tremont St, Boston | 617.927.0066 | piccorestaurant.com | Know this: Picco is no shabby soft-serve shack. The first thing I thought upon entering this South End restaurant/bar/ice-cream parlor was that I was way too dressed down to be eating there. Though their prices are reasonable, Picco is an upscale joint, their classy atmosphere aided by a jazz soundtrack evocative of the best cafés you've never been able to eat at. The main courses — the pizza, the mac and cheese — are delicious, but the ice cream truly steals the show. The selection, a mixture of traditional staples and some fun experiments, changes weekly (but the most important and popular dishes have a permanent home on the menu). Three must-try summer flavors are passion fruit (a citrusy punch in the face), coconut chip (by far the most subtle of all the flavors, with just a hint of coconut as an aftertaste), and honey (which tastes more like honey than most honey I've eaten recently). By far the highlight of the dessert selection would be the gingerbread à la mode, served warm with vanilla ice cream and a sweet raspberry sauce. Let's just say it plain: Picco should be your destination for a cool South End treat.

_Nick Johnston

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Lizzy's Homemade Ice Cream 

LIZZY'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

29 Church St, Cambridge | 617.354.2911 | lizzysicecream.com | As the smallest of their three locations, Lizzy's Church Street counter-service shop is a great pit stop during a day of summertime strolling in Harvard Square. Traipse through Harvard Yard with a scoop of banana, or test out "Mad Dog Mango" (their spicy spin on sherbet) before hitting up the bargain basement at the Urban Outfitters across the street. Or, if you're after a more sedentary ice-cream experience, you can cart home a pint of the frozen goods to scarf as you watch TV in the AC. I particularly enjoyed their ginger flavor, a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, studded with little chunks of real ginger. Armed with an array of Tofutti, froyo, and sugar-free offerings, Lizzy's has a little something for everyone.

_Brittney McNamara

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  Topics: Food Features , TOSCANINI'S, ice cream, food features,  More more >
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