There are some things that Arizona residents probably appreciate more than most people. Rain jumps to mind. Another is ice cream.
It looks like the Arizona summer was designed for ice cream. It’s our secret weapon. Ice cream is not an indulgence in Arizona. Sometimes it comes down to survival. At least we tell ourselves that’s when cravings hit.
For the few minutes we work our way through a delicious scoop, we feel comfortable and relaxed. The heat and the sun are forgotten. Suddenly everything seems fine with the world.
When you’re on the road this summer, it’s important to always know where your great ice cream parlor is located. It may depend on your survival.
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Prescott: Fite and Sons Mercantile
You can grab a whiskey-infused ice cream at Whiskey Row. What more perfect Arizona experience than that?
Just walking in this happily crowded space is fun. The front half of the old general store is filled with toys, gifts, local souvenirs, and a year-round Christmas shop. Walk toward the back and you’ll get the smell of roasted nuts and homemade candy.
Ice cream is handcrafted in small batches. Besides the traditional fare, guests can enjoy more exotic combinations such as smoked cherry cheesecake, honey lavender, habanero peach syrup, and extra-fine caramel whiskey toffee. Lemon biscuits like lemon meringue pie cone. Pistachios are rich in flavor like gelato.
Even the family dog can join in the fun. Fite’s sells ice cream made with peanut butter, bananas, and frozen yogurt. There is a patio outside and seating in front of the attractive shop.
details: 208 Montezuma Street, Prescott. 928-445-3524, https://www.fiteicecreamprescott.com.
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Sedona: Rocky RD Ice Cream Co.
Road trips to Red Rock Country got even sweeter starting in 2017 when this mom-and-pop shop opened in Oak Creek Village. There has been such demand for gourmet ice cream made on the premises that the owners opened a second location in West Sedona in September 2020.
Handcrafted ice cream and syrup are made in small batches with no added preservatives or artificial colorings. Quick freezing ensures freshness and a creamy texture.
More than 20 flavors are offered at a time and include vegetarian options and low-sugar options. You can savor the fresh fruit in the elegant jubilee of cherries. Bourbon pecans are smoked and sweet. A modern addition, the hazelnut churro offers a buttery, toasted richness with every bite.
Waffle cones are freshly baked at home. And when you can order a prickly pear float, you know you’re in Arizona.
details: 7000 State Route 179, Village of Oak Creek, and 2055 SR 89A, Sedona. http://www.rockyrdicecream.com.
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Jerome: Coppertown Coffee and Gelato
Jerome has a way to make the most of small spaces. Coppertown Coffee and Gelato occupies an area the size of a food truck on Main Street.
Order at the table and don’t expect any seating. This is a walk around gelato. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of seating nearby as well as the large, rolling stone steps of Jerome Park. It’s easy to find a beautiful perch with views where you can enjoy your sweet treat.
Coppertown offers a wide range of specialty coffee drinks, some fresh pastries, and six flavors of homemade gelato. The modern assortment included Oreo, mocha, pistachio, mint chips, blueberry, and mango-peach syrup.
The berries have a natural fruity flavour. A mint slice could use just a few chocolate chips, but it has a velvety texture and a wonderful mint flavor, perfect on a summer afternoon.
details: 111 Main Street, Jerome. https://www.coppertowncoffeeandgelato.com.
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Flagstaff: Shoppie Sweet Shop
It looks like you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s meditation room as soon as you’re inside the Sweet Shoppe. All of your senses are engaged in this old fashioned candy store. They just celebrated their eleventh anniversary last month.
The building is overflowing with every antidote known to palpitate a sweet tooth. Luxuriously decorated caramel apples, fresh fudge, cut fudge, toffee and an amazing array of chocolates are available. The dessert is cooked at the front of the house and lucky customers often get free samples.
Sweet Shop also infuses original premium gelato made with all-natural ingredients and no flavoring oils. Seasonal flavors rotate between 16 types of gelato and four flavors of sorbetto.
Favorites include triple chocolate and toasted coconut. Kahlua tiramisu contains Lady Finger biscuits. Mackinac candy is as decadent as it sounds, and filled with rich candy bars.
details: 15 E Aspen Ave., Flagstaff. 928-213-9000, https://sweetshoppecandy.com.
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Lake Havasu City: Scoops
Visitors to Lake Havasu City have two ways to cool off in the summer heat. Spend the day on the water or visit Scoops in the Uptown area.
Scoops has the feel of an old fashioned soda fountain, even with antique equipment and decor, and appears to serve as a community gathering place. They handcraft their ice cream in small batches using fresh, natural ingredients. Even the waffle cones are home made.
The ice cream menu is always changing but you will never be disappointed. Maple nut includes real maple syrup. This delicious Cappuccino Crunch has an array of coffee flavor wrapped around chunks of Heath bars.
Crepes, biscuits and homemade pudding are among the list of other desserts available. Or try a sundae whipped into a homemade salted caramel sauce.
details: 2014 McCulloch Blvd. N., Lake Havasu City. 928-453-7084, https://www.scoopshomemade.com.
Prescott: Whiskey Row Therapy Center
If you’re not walking around Courthouse Square in Prescott holding a big cone of ice cream, you’re doing something wrong. Among all the shopping windows and shaded benches, this downtown is made for ice cream.
Treat Center is a sprawling sweet shop with an array of homemade indulgences. There’s gourmet popcorn, candy, various kinds of crunchy and assorted items dipped in chocolate and plenty of kid favorites like Tootsie Roll, Bit-O-Honey, and Razzles.
Over 30 flavors of ice cream are made locally at Young’s Farm. About half are on display at any given time and include traditional and specialty flavors, such as licorice and cotton candy.
The salted caramel swirl is as rich and creamy as you wish. Peaches have bits of fruit and taste like a summer breeze. Cranberry and fruit are always the most popular flavor.
details: 156 Montezuma Street, Prescott. 928-445-5377.
Tucson: Hub Ice Cream Parlor
Probably not everyone who visits bustling downtown Tucson stops for a sweet treat at the Hub Ice Cream Parlor, it looks that way.
There’s always a steady crowd flocking to the airy space with vaulted ceilings and chandeliers to sample some of the 300+ flavors made on site. They use only natural ingredients and their own pasteurization, which creates a distinctive silky texture.
Each week they make batches of over 30 flavors of artisanal ice cream and vegan sorbet. Options can range from Guinness chocolate to toasted strawberries to vegan almonds with chunks of coconut, chocolate chips and almonds.
Prickly pear syrup is another vegetarian option, sweet but tart. This prickly pear fruit drink blends with lemon juice and features a nice crunch from the agave barrel seed.
Plenty of other cuisine at the Hub is made in-house, too, including cookies, pops, ice cream tacos, and sundaes topped with fancy sauces that add extra flavor.
details: 245 E. Congress Street, Tucson. 520-622-0255, https://www.thehubicecream.com.
Sedona: Black Cow Café
Since 1998, the Black Cow has been an icon for candy seekers in the Upper Sedona region. They make enough homemade pastries every day to fill a bakery. Cookies, brownies, lemonade slabs, pasta and fresh pancakes are all tantalizing options.
But it is the ten flavors of ice cream made on the premises that attract the most visitors. Gorgeously full-bodied, a cone of Belgian chocolate, mint chips or prickly pear provides the energy you need to visit the dozens of shops and galleries in Sedona. Salted Vanilla introduces the smoky-roasted ingredients of malted milk.
Black Cow also offers a selection of fresh fruit and desserts to mingle with your ice cream. If that still isn’t enough to satisfy your craving, try one of the best sundaes, packed with toppings.
And there’s always Ala pie mode. Mm, homemade pie slice topped with homemade ice cream…
details: 229 State Street 89A, Sedona. 928-203-9868, https://www.blackcowcafesedona.com.
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