Where to get great ice cream, gelato and sorbet in London?
Summer is (technically) here!
Firstly, some facts about ice cream, gelato and sorbet so you can be really clever while you enjoy your cone:
Gelato is not just Italian for ice cream. It’s a totally different thing:
- The base is milk/cream and sugar, versus cream, eggs and sugar for ice cream. (You might find some gelati with eggs, if it suits the recipe, like a zabaglione ice cream.)
- It has less fat than ice cream, a minimum of 4% versus 10% for ice cream (which premium ice cream will be higher).
- It’s served warmer than ice cream – around -12 vs -18.
- It is more dense. It doesn’t need as much air whipped into it because it typically has less fat.
Sorbet is totally dairy-free. But it is not always fat-free, because it can be made with nuts or chocolate. Its base is sugar and water.
Come and join us on an Ice Cream Tour. Also, there’s space on one this Saturday at 12pm! Email email@example.com if you want to join us!
Listen to Jen talk about ice cream on The Next Delicious Thing podcast, below then read on for a long list of the best places for ice cream, gelato and soft serve in London::
Or watch it on YouTube!
The Top Places for Ice Cream in London
The Parlour by Ice Cream Union – Pavilion Road, Chelsea. Ice Cream Union are predominantly wholesale but this is their one public outlet. Expect 20 of their 60+ flavours.
Chin Chin Ice Cream Parlour – the UK’s first liquid nitrogen parlour opened in Camden in 2010 and their second spot opened in Soho in 2017. Expect lots of creativity, super smooth ice cream and Instagrammable hot chocolate and desserts.
Ruby Violet – behind Kings Cross Station, excellent ice cream cookies – you can create your own from a selection of usually four cookies and whatever ice cream they have in the counter.
Udderlicious – Islington, Covent Garden and Wembley Boxpark – on the sweet side but has lots of fans
Ben & Jerry’s – by the scoop! On Wardour Street in Soho. They buy in the excellent baked goods from social enterprise Luminary Bakery to make ice cream sandwiches. There’s usually one or two flavours they don’t sell by the tub in supermarkets.
Casey’s in Clapton. Ice cream on a stick, dipped in chocolate, in the summer only.
Crosstown Doughnuts – now also selling ice cream. Many locations across London!
MaMason’s Dirty Ice Cream – Kentish Town, Chinatown and Westfield London.
Darlish – Covent Garden, St Albans and Hatfield House
Minus 12 Degrees – Herne Hill
Reenie’s Ice Cream Bar – London Erskine Road
Gelateria Romeo & Giulietta – London Albion Road.
The Top Places for Gelato in London
Gelupo Gelato – after Jacob Kenedy of Bocca di Lupo started serving homemade gelato on the dessert menu people went mad for it so he took over the space opposite on Archer Street in Soho near Piccadilly Circus. Expect long queues, it’s probably the most famous place for gelato in London.
Gelatorino – Covent Garden
La Gelatiera – Covent Garden, Stratford East, Crouch End and the Oxo Tower in Southbank. Home of 2 Golden Fork – winning gelati: the pistachio sorbet and Hazelnut IGP gelato
Snowflake Gelato – Westfield Stratford, Soho, South Kensington, Marble Arch, Westfield London and The 02.
Amorino – the place that makes your gelato look like a flower. Multiple locations.
Grom – famous in Europe, currently only in London on Piccadilly. Also found in supermarkets.
Jack’s Gelato – found at Panzer’s Deli in St John’s Wood
Badiani – Notting Hill, Chelsea, Canary wharf, Angel, Elephant and Castle, Mayfair and Covent Garden.
Venchi – Multiple locations including Covent Garden, London Kings Road and Richmond
Jefferson’s Gelato – Balham High Street and Brixton
Bears – Ravenscourt Park and Brook Green
Oddono’s – Wimbledon, Chiswick, Battersea, Hampstead, South Kensington, Stoke Newington,
Olivogelo – Belgravia
Narduli – very popular in Clapham Common
Gelato Mio – Holland Park, Notting Hill, St John’s Wood, Fulham and Muswell Hill.
GioLato – NEW! by Victoria Station. I haven’t been yet but it looks great.
Candiero – NEW! on Lower Ground by Waterloo. Run by Italians who used to have a Gelateria in The Hague and recommended by an Italian friend of mine.
Gelateria 3bis – Notting Hill and Borough Market
Morelli’s – In Covent Garde, Broadstairs in Kent and around the world!
Duci London – Chiswick
Top Places for Soft Serve in London
Tsujuri – two spots in Soho, London Camden, London Chinatown, Manchester Chinatown, Liverpool, Newcastle Chinatown
Milk Train – in Covent Garden near the Strand, the place with the fairy floss clouds.
Flat Iron – comes free after your steak, but only once you pay and leave your table.
Rosslyn Coffee – three sites, all in the city of London Tower 42, 118 London Wall, 78 Queen Victoria St
Towpath Cafe – London 42 De Beauvoir Cres
Le Choux – London Ladbroke Grove
Dàppa – Spitalfields Market
Milk – in Balham, on weekends only
Leonida’s are apparently doing soft serve too!
Bonedaddies – soy soft serve in some locations which might include Bermondsey, Soho, Victoria, Bond Street, Old Street, Putney and Richmond
Shackfayu – in Soho, near Leicester Square: matcha soft serve (with the kinako French Toast!)
Or just come and join us on an Ice Cream Tour!
Did I miss any? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to tag @thenextdeliciousthing if you try any of these and share on social media!
Read the transcript of Episode 17 on Ice Cream here:
Gelato is not just the Italian word for Ice Cream
ice cream, flavours, gelato, sorbet, eat, fat, cream, chocolate, air, delicious, tour, dairy, visit, eggs, sugar,
Jennifer Earle, Maya
Please I want ice cream. Please I want ice cream. I want ice cream.
I’m Jen. That was Maya. This is The Next Delicious Thing, your weekly update of what’s worth eating, with a side of food geekery and sometimes insider interviews with food industry people. This week, it’s all about ice cream. And it’s just me, no interviews today.
Did you know that I do ice cream tours? Back in 2013, there were already so many ice cream stores and gelaterias that were really impressive. And since then the number has just grown. That was the time when I had just quit working for other people. And I was just full time running chocolate ecstasy tours. I thought I could add to the range of things that I offered with an ice cream tour because, like chocolate, there were people who were making incredible things, so different from what you would find in supermarkets, in terms of the quality and also in terms of the variety of flavours. It was also – coincidentally – there were two or three weeks where it was so hot that I only sold like two pairs of tickets, which was not enough money to live off. So I thought that ice cream tours would help to be a balance for when it was too hot for people to consider ice cream. And anyone who works in the… sorry, too hot for people to consider chocolate. And anyone who works in the chocolate industry will tell you how much their sales plummet when it even goes over 25 degrees.
So the ice cream tours just felt like a really fun way…. And also with ice cream, you can try so many more flavours. And in our ice cream tours it’s two and a half hours and you try more than 20 Different favours because you can try lots on tiny little spoons. But also you have the opportunity to have like a whole…sometimes you just need a whole cone to yourself. So there’s that too. We promise people will be completely full of ice cream. And, in the last place we visit, you get to eat as many flavours as you like and as much of them until you say mercy. Basically. Nobody has thrown up so far. Really not the goal. But the places that I take people to, I love. There are so many amazing ice cream places in London. This isn’t going to be a podcast with a list about all the places that you can go to, although what I will do is create a list on thenextdeliciousthing.com of all the places that seem to me to be of a standard that I would expect worth visiting. And I’m not going to pick my favourites from that. There’s probably only one or two that I wouldn’t rate massively, but even those ones have queues and what I know about, from having done tours for 17 years, is that everyone has different favourites so I’m going to create a list for you. But what I wanted to do in this episode is help you understand that gelato is not just the Italian word for ice cream, and a few other fun facts.
Specifically I like to think of the ice cream umbrella term. So yeah, definitely do not want to stand under an ice cream umbrella. Sorry, that was such a dad joke.
But underneath ice cream, you have ice cream, gelato, sorbet, granita, soft serve, parfait, I guess. So I think of ice cream as covering all of those things. But ice cream itself is quite different to gelato. So I’m going to share what those differences are. There’s quite a few. And that way you can be super annoying / knowledgeable when you meet people the next time you want to eat ice cream, but also just because I think it’s interesting to know the difference between these things. And I’m also going to share with you a couple of things that I tried this week which unsurprisingly, one of them was ice cream, which was part of what prompted me to think of this and the fact that it was really warm when I was eating this ice cream although now it is raining again and cold.
So: ice cream versus gelato. One of the most obvious differences is in the ingredients. Basically ice cream is typically a custard style base so it is eggs, cream and sugar. And then whatever flavourings are added to that to make it more interesting. Even vanilla like plain ice cream has vanilla added to it. In gelato you might get Fior de Latte which is just milk and no vanilla or anything else added to it. But typically in ice cream there is at least vanilla and ideally what you want in good quality ice cream or gelato or any of the others is that those flavourings are the real food. So actual chocolate, actual strawberries rather than strawberry flavouring. So the ice cream, as I said: cream, sugar eggs. Gelato typically is milk and sugar, usually milk and cream and sugar, but it is much lower in fat than ice cream, per kind of gram; by weight. And it does sometimes have eggs in it, but that will typically be because it is based on a dessert. So for example a zabaglione flavoured gelato, or Bonet, which has egg – eggs, or egg yolks – in them, and so that in that case, you will find eggs in gelato. But typically, gelato does not have eggs and ice cream does.
As I said, ice cream, therefore is higher in fat. So there’s more cream and more fat coming from dairy in ice cream. And what that means having more fat is that there is more air. In the industry, it’s called overrun. And it’s described as a percentage by which the volume increases. So all ice cream and gelato or frozen things – sweet things like that, everything under the ice cream umbrella – has to have some air added to it. Otherwise, you just like have a frozen block of cream. And you can’t scoop that. The amount of air though, will give you some idea how premium a product is. So if you have ever bought the cheap kind of tubs of ice cream, and accidentally left it out, and it completely melts, and you just have liquid in the bottom. And you’re like, “who ate all the ice cream?” that is just showing you that it was mostly air. So in cheap ice cream, it might be as much as 90% overrun, which means it’s like almost half air. Premium tends to be more like a 20% increase. And that’s why expensive ice cream looks so expensive, not just because the quality of the ingredients is better, but also because it’s more ingredients. In gelato because there’s less fat, there’s typically less air added so it’ll be more dense, but also tends to be smoother as well and kind of lighter on the tongue with having less fat in it. The other difference and the reason why it’s possible to have less air added to gelato is that gelato is typically warmer than ice cream. Ice cream is stored at – 18. And typically doesn’t warm up much from that although, you know, most things that you buy for your freezer will tell you to keep it out of the freezer for a few minutes to be able to scoop it. Gelato is more like minus 12 so it is still frozen but warmer than ice cream which means you are less likely to get Sphenopalatine ganglia neuralgia, otherwise known as brain freeze.
Sorbet is typically water, sugar and the flavourings. Typically, sorbet is fruit based. So that will be a Strawberry, Mango, banana, passionfruit. Less so banana, but you can actually have sorbets that are made with nuts or with chocolate. So while sorbet is typically fat free, there’s no cream or other dairy, you can have sorbets, like I said, out of nuts or chocolate and those naturally have fat in them. So you will get a much creamier texture, but it’ll still be considered a sorbet because it doesn’t contain dairy. If it’s always just made of fruit, it might look like the healthier option because it’s lower in fat. But quite often we eat a lot more of it because it’s not as satiating. It’s not necessarily healthier. So you might end up eating a tonne more of it and the fact that it doesn’t have fat to accompany it might mean that your sugar level spikes and you eat more later. So I love sorbet, I love ice cream. Choose whichever one you want to eat rather than choosing it because it’s like lower in fat or something. That would be my advice, but I’m not a nutritionist. I think it’s fascinating because a lot of times people do choose it because they think it’s healthier. And I think like with everything, it is nuanced. I’m gonna leave it there. But if you join our ice cream tour, you get lots more fun facts like that. The reason that I wanted to talk about ice cream was sparked by – as I said – a visit that I made to an ice cream shop.
So most of the places that are great for ice cream in London are actually gelaterias, but there are a few that make ice cream. One of those is Ice Cream Union or the Parlour by Ice Cream Union. It’s the only place where they sell to the public although you might have tried the ice creams in restaurants because mostly they do wholesale. It is in Pavilion Road so just by Sloane Square in Chelsea, and they have over 60 flavours but in the store they usually have about 20 at a time. They really are superb. Sorbets and ice creams. The matcha was particularly impressive that uses Lalani Tea which is really high end matcha. There’s no bitterness, it’s just this, just this pure… green isn’t really a taste, but it’s really just pure and clean and refreshing.
I also love the honeycomb and the ginger. The sorbets are phenomenal, really refreshing, really full of flavour and… yeah, so I highly recommend visiting Ice Cream Union. The other place for ice cream that is brilliant is Chin Chin and they’ve been around since 2010. They have a shop in Camden and also one in Soho. Chin Chin was the first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlour. That means that because the ice cream is made super fast by like… it’s frozen super fast, then you get fewer of the ice crystals that always happen when you’re making ice cream. So it’s just like ultra ultra smooth and really creative. So that is another one that I recommend, but if you go to thenextdeliciousthing.com you will see all of the things that I recommend.
Other things that I’ve tasted that I absolutely love: two that I’ve spoken about before but I had them again this week: the Dusty Knuckle sandwich. Oh my god, so good. And the praline bar sandwich bar from Harrods. Just ridiculously addictive. I also tried the plant based…I forget what it’s called now… Sorry, Phil. I want to say “Top of the morning” I should get… I have this. I’m going to come back and tell you properly. Okay, it is called “The Dawn of a New Day”. And it is fully vegan, totally plant based and you would never know it. It has an Earl Grey sponge and (chocolate) mousse and poached pear. And it is really, really impressive, kind of restaurant quality. And then the other thing that I was given by a friend: some cookies, and they are called Midnight Pantry. And so I tried the matcha gold. So a matcha-flavoured cookie with white chocolate and the classic chocolate chip that had Shoyu, so like soy sauce, basically. It wasn’t super obvious it was just like adding salt. So just like added a little savoury depth, and they were delicious as well.
That is it for this week. Thank you for joining me and I have a really exciting interview next week with Safia Shakarachi who is a food photographer, chatting all about how to become a food photographer if you’re interested, like what they do, how much they earn, how to how to look for one if you have a food business. So please come back and join me then. Remember to subscribe. Tell your friends. Until next week. Happy eating