If one experience could improve an already lovely day in Asheville, it’s a quick visit to one of the city’s many ice cream shops. In Asheville, you’ll find every variety of your favorite dessert, including both classic scoops and creative flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for something daring or nostalgic, you’ll definitely want to add these essentials to your local ice cream itinerary:
Remember when you were a kid and the ultimate summer treat consisted of a simple ice cream sandwich? You can recapture the appeal of this quintessential warm weather delicacy at Sunshine Sammies. Of course, the ice cream sandwiches served there don’t look quite like the traditional version you received as a child. Instead, they take the concept a step up with unique treats such as the refreshing Key Lime Pie Sammie, which includes a graham cracker cookie and wonderful key lime ice cream.
Vegan visitors don’t need to compromise, as Sunshine Sammies offers dairy-free options that are just as delicious as standard ice cream. If you prefer to focus on the ice cream and not the sandwich, you’re welcome to order a pint. Don’t be afraid to get adventurous with flavors that include Concord grape or marzipan truffle.
Yes, Asheville Chocolate specializes in truffles, but the acclaimed shop offers so much more. When you want a treat that will help you cool down, you’ll feel compelled to order a scoop of gelato. Featuring creamy milk sourced from local grass-fed cows, this delicacy is sure to please. Choosing a flavor can be difficult when so many amazing options are available, but you can’t go wrong with the traditional Italian variety known as Stracciatella.
Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream
Kilwins may be a nationwide chain, but each shop has a local, neighborhood feel that you’ll appreciate. This is certainly true of the Asheville Kilwins, where you can find many different types of sweet treats. A mix of classic and creative flavors are offered here, including a colorful Superman variety that little tykes adore. The ice cream tastes wonderful in cup or cone form, but you can also up the ante by ordering a sundae.
Whit’s Frozen Custard
With two Whit’s locations in Asheville and another in nearby Hendersonville, you should never be far from frozen custard. As ice cream’s premium grade, this indulgent treat goes above and beyond to put you in a true state of bliss. Between the pasteurized eggs and 10 percent butterfat, it’s easy to see why the custard served at Whit’s is so wonderfully creamy.
If you’re struggling to choose a scoop, be sure to take a look at the flavor of the day. Carefully selected based on seasonal preferences, trends, and holidays, these flavors can be found in a helpful calendar. Otherwise, you’re welcome to mix and match toppings to create your own unique flavor. Specialty treats such as banana splits and strawberry shortcake are also delightful, although younger visitors may prefer the Dirty Worm or Happy Sundae.
Ultimate Ice Cream
The former social workers behind Ultimate Ice Cream decided that they could do the most good for the Asheville community by opening an ice cream shop — and after just one visit, you’ll agree that they’ve succeeded in this lofty mission.
The Ultimate menu is divided into categories such as “always” (featuring such standards as fresh strawberry and salted caramel) and “sometimes” (including unique options such as blue cheese caramel swirl and goat cheese Bing cherry). Many visitors go straight for the boozy options, which infuse whiskey, spiked cider, and other alcoholic beverages.
If possible, consider ordering Ultimate’s flavor of the month. A portion of the proceeds will support one of the Asheville area’s many inspiring charities or causes. Examples include the Field of Dreams Playground and LEAF in Schools and Streets.
The Hop Ice Creamery
Delicious dairy-free ice cream can often be difficult to find, but you won’t be left wanting if you hit up The Hop in West Asheville. This gem of an ice cream parlor sells several varieties that vegans will adore. If you’re looking to keep your sugar consumption to a minimum, you can also take advantage of no-sugar-added options. The menu does an excellent job of pinpointing which types of ingredients are in various flavors, so you’ll know if you’re about to consume soy, gluten, or nuts.
Everything served here is made from scratch, lending it a fresh taste that cannot be mimicked. Prices are reasonable, so you’ll have no objection to ordering two scoops, or better yet, one of the signature desserts. If you need a little caffeine to help you get through the day, don’t hesitate to also order an espresso or flavored latte.
The Freeze of Asheville
Formerly known as Tastee Freeze, The Freeze of Asheville is an unassuming little spot is well-known by locals, who flock here during the summer for both soft-serve and hand-scooped ice cream. The specialty desserts are both creative and indulgent, with favorites adding candy such as Snickers or Reese’s. The Boston Shake is a unique find worth ordering, as it defies expectations by placing a sundae on top of an already delicious shake.
Drive-through service is ideal when hot weather has you unwilling to leave the air-conditioned comfort of your vehicle. Otherwise, try one of the tables out back, where you can take in the neighborhood vibes as you enjoy your ice cream.
Your visit to the Biltmore Estate may seem like perfection, but it’ll be that much better if you stop by the onsite ice cream parlor. Drawing inspiration from the original Biltmore Dairy Bar, this quaint establishment serves delectable Winky Bar Sundaes. Don’t feel discouraged if you notice a long line when you arrive. The service here is remarkably quick, so you should have an ice cream cone in your hand in no time.
Many flavors are bound to capture your attention, but the banana pudding is arguably the most memorable. Feel free to order one of The Creamery’s many other treats, such as bread pudding or a fresh chocolate chip cookie. If you need a quick boost of caffeine, you can also grab a cup of coffee.
Asheville has a way of elevating the most simple culinary concepts without feeling pretentious — and ice cream is no exception. Get ready for an ice cream experience like no other as you sample your way through this charming city.