July is National Ice Cream Month, and that’s cause for celebration.
So is that fact that National Ice Cream Day also lands this month, on the third Sunday in July.
July and August are busiest for scoop shops. Enjoy it while it lasts. The hot sun quickly melts the sweet frozen cream, reminding us that summer is fleeting.
Outside of national chains – such as Ben & Jerry’s, Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery, which all have Inland Northwest locations – this is where to go for ice cream in the Inland Northwest.
Try the honey-cinnamon ice cream at this Montana-based regional chain that features honey from Missoula’s Wustner Brothers and milk and cream from Montana dairies. Founded in Whitefish in 2010, Sweet Peaks opened its newest location – the first in Washington state – in downtown Spokane in May. It opened its first shop in Idaho, in downtown Coeur d’Alene, two years ago. Both usually carry nine signature flavors as well as a bunch of rotating seasonals. Classics are chocolate, vanilla, grasshopper mint, huckleberry, salty caramel, honey cinnamon, cupcake, espresso and coconut. Seasonals include pine and chocolate, caramel s’mores, blackberry lavender and, at the holidays, Montana Christmas with Douglas fir tip-infused cream and a huckleberry swirl. Most don’t include artificial flavor or color. The espresso flavor features coffee from Doma Coffee Roasting Co. in Post Falls. Spokane: 415 W. Main Ave. (509) 474-9096. Coeur d’Alene: 108 N. Fourth St. (208) 666-0832. sweetpeaksicecream.com.
Sweet Annie’s Artisan Creamery
Annie Stranger launched her ice cream cart in the summer of 2016 after moving back to her native Inland Northwest from New York City. She’d spent most of the previous 10 years as a graphic designer in the Big Apple. These days, she’s devoted to making ice cream from organic milk and cream from Pure Eire Dairy. She makes ice cream in the egg-less Philadelphia-style in flavors such as the Bee’s Knees (butter-flavored ice cream with swirls of local honey and homemade honeycomb candy), Vanilla Veracruz (a Mexican-inspired vanilla that tastes a bit like horchata), and Elephant Tracks (malted milk-chocolate ice cream with homemade crisped-rice chocolate-bar bites and mini marshmallows). Look, also, for lavender and lime, stout and pretzel, cardamom orange, and more. Pints are available online, at Rocket Market and My Fresh Basket, and at her mobile cart, which can be found this time of year at local farmers markets. Find her schedule at anniesicecreams.com.
This cozy corner scoop shop on Spokane’s South Hill makes its own ice cream with liquid nitrogen. The Scoop has been using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze ingredients since 2014, and if you’re lucky enough to be there while they’re in production, it feels sort of like a science experiment. Ice cream is made in small batches, and it’s fun to watch. Just ask culinary guru Alton Brown, who visited the Scoop in 2015 and posted photos of his visit on his Instagram account. In addition to liquid nitrogen ice cream, the Scoop is known for its house-made Liege-style waffles. Try a scoop on a waffle. Flavors include salted caramel, banoffee pie, Nutella, caramel coffee toffee, Roast House coffee and cream, key lime pie, mint chip, birthday cake, mocha brownie, basil and more. 1001 W. 25th Ave. (509) 535-7171. thescoopspokane.com.
Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle
This whimsical corner shop – in a building shaped like an old-fashioned milk bottle – serves up a sense of nostalgia along with ice cream sundaes, cones and cups. The structure, a local landmark, was built in the early 1930s and was originally used for selling dairy products, such as cream and milk. Mary Lou’s makes its own ice cream. Look for flavors such as birthday cake, butterscotch, cookie dough, cotton candy, fresh banana, licorice, strawberry cheesecake, maple nut and more. 802 W. Garland Ave. (509) 325-1772. marylousmilkbottle.com.
Abi’s Artisan Ice Cream
Ice cream is made in small batches at this nut-free facility. Maren Scoggins aims to use few ingredients and no artificial flavors, preservatives or stabilizers. She named the shop for her daughter Abi, short for Abigail, who’s allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. The malted vanilla with toffee and chocolate chips is a top-seller. Scoggins makes the toffee herself. She also makes the caramel for her salted caramel, jam for her huckleberry and lemon curd for her Lemon Twist. Even the crisp waffle cones and cups, which include a whisper of cinnamon, are made in house. Look for Abi Road with dark chocolate ice cream, white chocolate chips and toffee, brown sugar bourbon, and brown sugar ginger caramel swirl. Sorbets – egg-less, dairy-free – include flavors such as lemon, watermelon and chocolate orange. 112 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene. (208) 930-0699. abisicecream.com.
Panhandle Cone and Coffee
This hand-crafted premium ice cream shop along Sandpoint’s main drag is known for its high quality and ever-changing flavors. Creative combinations include sweet basil and pine nut praline, roasted strawberry and rhubarb crisp, toasted coconut and marionberry swirl, buttermilk huckleberry, salted caramel and brown butter cookie, and orange dark chocolate freckles. Espresso drinks – the shop uses coffee from Evans Brothers, also in Sandpoint – are available, too, as is a mix of the two, such as a cold-brew float or affogato. 216 N. First St., Sandpoint. (208) 265-8996. coneandcoffee.com.
This contemporary scoop shop is known for its creative combinations and flavor names. Chunky Pug features salted caramel flavor and peanut butter cups. Malties Falcon features chocolate ice cream, caramel and pieces of malt balls. Palouse Crunch is made with honey, cinnamon, toffee, almonds and red lentils. After a decade of making and selling wholesale ice cream, Brain Freeze opened a storefront in Kendall Yards in 2014. The South Hill location opened the following year. At each, expect two dozen flavors. They’re ever-changing, selected from a repertoire of some 200 varieties made at the production facility in Spokane Valley. And they’re super premium, or high on butterfat and low on air. Kendall Yards: 1238 W. Summit Parkway. (509) 321-7569. South Hill: 1230 S. Grand Blvd. (509) 309-3830. brainfreezecreamery.com.
Find this food truck at the Best Avenue food truck court in Coeur d’Alene. Consider the chocolate-caramel-pretzel sundae with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. Banana splits are available, too. So are shakes, floats, sandwiches, cups and cones. Street Treat specializes in scratch-made, custard-style ice cream that’s frozen to order using liquid nitrogen. Look for 10 regular flavors, such as vanilla bean, chocolate custard, brown sugar banana, strawberry lemon curd, pistachio, peanut butter, raspberry, strawberry and garden mint. For floats, choose from root beer, orange soda, Coca-Cola, Vanilla Coke and cold-brew coffee. For sandwiches, consider the truck’s Rice Krispies treats. 510 E. Best Ave., Coeur d’Alene. (208) 660-1920.
Pete & Belle’s Ice Cream Shop
Good luck trying to choose. There are 48 flavors and then some. That is, there are 48 different varieties in the display cases. And there are more than 150 in the entire repertoire. The Zanzibar chocolate features three kinds of cocoa. Look, also, for lemon-raspberry, rocky road and, in autumn, Snap O’Lantern with spicy pumpkin-flavored ice cream and bits of gingersnap cookies. Non-dairy soy-based options are available. But most of the ice cream at this scoop shop is super premium – dense and rich and creamy. When it comes to nutritional information, the website advises, “Don’t even ask. … You want nutrition, eat carrots.” Owners Aaron and Rachelle Blackmer named the shop for their children, Peter and Annabelle. They also own the adjacent Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. 1330 N. Mullan Road, Spokane Valley. (509) 924-4718. www.petebelles.com.
Yummy Ice Cream Rolls
You’ll want to watch as they roll. Part of the fun of frequenting Yummy Ice Cream Rolls is seeing how your order is assembled. Ingredients – Oreos, Froot Loops, graham crackers, strawberries – are chopped into an ice cream base atop a round steel plate that’s kept at 5 to 10 degrees below zero. Then, the mixture is spread thin, like a crepe, and pushed into six rolls with a kitchen tool that resembles a putty knife. Customers can create their own flavor combinations or order a signature rolled sundae such as Giant Green with matcha, Monkey Business with Nutella and banana, Morning Cappuccino, Mango Tango and Oreo’s Secret. The novelty ice cream shop opened in Logan Square shopping center near Gonzaga University in mid-March. It opened a sister location, Poke Express, featuring rolled ice cream and poke bowls in May on Spokane’s South Hill. North Spokane: 1601 N. Division St., Suite B. (509) 309-2991. yummyicecreamrolled.com. South Hill: 905 S. Grand Blvd. (509) 960-7739. pokeexpressspokane.com.
This Post Falls shop has specialized in rolled ice cream since 2016 and opened a new, larger location in early June. Customers can choose between several bases – vanilla, chocolate, matcha green tea, coffee, almond milk – as well as flavor mix-ins such as pineapple, banana, Oreo, Butterfinger, toffee and different berries. Toppings include assorted sauces, honey, graham crackers, assorted candies and more. Or, make it easy and pick a predetermined signature rolled sundae. 740 N. Cecil Road, Suite 110, Post Falls. (208) 457-3704. www.facebook.com/freeziarolledicecream.
Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe
This Washington State University gem opened in 1948 and makes its own ice cream using milk and cream from the school’s own dairy farm. It’s typically only open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you can get to Pullman during those hours, you’ll have a hard time deciding between huckleberry ripple, blackberry ripple, cookies and cream, caramel cashew, cappuccino chip, and Apple Cup Crisp with vanilla ice cream, apple flavoring, caramel, oatmeal cookies and warming spices. Look, also, for Cougar Tracks with vanilla ice cream, fudge swirls and peanut butter cups. Check the website or call ahead because Ferd’s does open for some Saturdays – Mom’s Weekend, Dad’s Weekend, Homecoming – and also closes for holidays and school breaks. 2035 N.E. Ferdinand’s Lane, Pullman. (509) 335-2141. creamery.wsu.edu/ferdinands-ice-cream-shoppe.
Roger’s Ice Cream and Burgers
Established in 1940, this ice cream stand and burger joint is a North Idaho mainstay, offering more than 17 flavors of ice cream at three locations: the walk-up east of City Beach; an indoor, sit-down eatery in north Coeur d’Alene; and another, newer spot in Post Falls that opened in 2017. All three are open year-round. Huckleberry is a favorite, especially with beach-goers in summer. Flavors include caramel pretzel, maple nut and Moose Tracks. Walk-up: 1224 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene. (208) 930-4900. North Coeur d’Alene: 155 W. Neider Ave. (208) 664-0696. Post Falls: 403 N. Spokane St. (208) 773-6532. rogersicecreamburgers.com.
Hutton’s General Store
Out on the lake and in need of ice cream? Call ahead and have the frozen treat – and other snacks – delivered to the shop’s gas dock in Neachen Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Or, take a seat at a picnic table on the store’s patio overlooking the water. This gem of an old-timey mercantile offers pizza and pantry items as well as a charming soda fountain and candy in glass jars. 17497 S. Highway 97, Harrison. (208) 676-1215. www.facebook.com/huttonsgeneralstore.
Harrison Creamery and Fudge Factory
Located in one of the oldest commercial buildings in the tiny town of Harrison, this small mom-and-pop shop is legendary for its generously-sized scoops. It serves ice cream from Oregon’s Cascade Glacier company and boasts more than 30 flavors for shakes, sundaes and cones along with home-style fudge and seasonal pies. It’s particularly popular with cyclists taking a break from the nearby Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. 206 S. Coeur d’Alene Ave., Harrison. (208) 689-9241. harrisoncreamery.com.
Doyles Ice Cream Parlor
This seasonal shop – it usually shuts down October to May – has been a cornerstone of the West Central neighborhood since 1939. Jerry Gill bought it in 1991 and began making ice cream with the vintage equipment. This year, though, he announced his retirement on the shop’s Facebook page in February, noting he was “passing the baton” to family members. They reopened the shop for the season at the end of June. 2229 W. Boone Ave.