The Scoop on Ice Cream
chill out at these local spots
by Kathryn Brooks and Matt Stewart

We are a city with an ice cream obsession. With record temperatures stretching for months on end, who could blame us? This delicious, cold, creamy, refreshing, sweet treat has the power to cool us off and evoke fond memories of our childhood. So, try these local spots for a quick fix.


At Hotel Valley Ho, they always shake it up a bit. Mint lovers won’t want to miss the featured June Show Stopper Shake at ZuZu, an over-indulgent treat with house-made ingredients piled on top. The Jolly Green Mintser is a vanilla mint shake topped with a cream cheese brownie stack, milk crumb, fresh mint, mint ganache, and Andes Mints. It’s offered daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for $20, and $1 of each shake sold in June will go to the Desert Botanical Garden. Cool and comforting, this frosty treat of the month will surely make your day.


Although a more recent entry to the Valley, this handcrafted gelato, sorbet and ice cream emporium has developed a loyal group of followers. The yummy signature favorite, Fatty Daddy’s Cookie Cup, includes your choice of a single scoop of gelato, sorbet or ice cream, topped with a fresh macaroon and an artisan marshmallow heated with a torch to give it a delicious toasted flavor. The result: the outside crispy and the inside soft and warm. The gelato, sorbet and ice cream entries are all made with local, natural and organic ingredients in a variety of seasonal flavors that rotate weekly.


This award-winning shop has been serving ice cream for over a decade and, all along, everything they offer has been handcrafted – even the ingredients that flavors their ice creams. Treat yourself to the Campfire S’More Sundae with two scoops of Belgian chocolate ice cream, roasted marshmallow, hot fudge and whipped cream served in a bowl waffle bowl. Milkshakes, made with hand-spun milk plus whipped cream, are smooth as silk. I chose to chill out with a  Strawberry Creamsicle Milkshake, a perfect blend of strawberry sorbet and Madagascar vanilla. With flavors like Sweet Berry Cobbler, Butterscotch Custard, and Pineapple Whip, splurge and get a pint to go.


This shop will take you back to your first taste of fresh ice cream. It was probably on the back porch, on a lazy hot summer day, with a scoop of sweet strawberry or real vanilla. At Churn, they haven’t forgotten and know that the tastiest and best quality ice creams are made with those same simple, fresh ingredients from years past. You won’t discover anything you can’t pronounce or scary chemical additives, preservatives or stabilizers in the confections. Sundae lovers should try the Kitchen Sink, made with peanut butter ice cream, bananas, a salted caramel drizzle, whipped cream and chocolate chunks. If you just want a scoop, be sure to have it in their handmade pretzel cone.


Established in 1928, MacAlpine is a blast from the past. Bordering the historical Coronado District, it’s one of the last remaining soda fountains in the country that still serves up a heavy dose of quirky nostalgia. With a hodgepodge of retro garden seating out front, MacAlpine is equal parts ice cream shop, restaurant and secondhand store. There’s a long list of soda-fountain classics like malts, shakes, sundaes, cream sodas, phosphates and egg cream. All ice-cream concoctions are made with Thrifty ice cream, and customers can customize their selections with 99 syrup flavors. Sit at the counter and swivel on your stool with an ice cream soda, hot fudge sundae or old-fashioned lemonade.


Revisit your childhood and stop up Scoop and Joy Lounge. With over 60 flavors, the selections include exotics like Banana Cream Pie, Cafe Caramelo, Kahuala Truffle and Honeysuckle Rose as well as the basic vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and cookie dough. The kid-themed sundaes are too cute for words with toppings decorated to look like adorable animal faces. And, they claim that the pineapple, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, lime, lemon and orange Dole Whip is “just like being at Disneyland, only without the wait and price.”


For over 60 years the Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant has been dishing out scrumptious ice cream treats to devoted local and tourist customers alike in Old Town Scottsdale. For the ultimate experience, grab a stool at their authentic ‘50s soda fountain. Virtually unchanged in menu items, décor and location since their beginning, you’ll find shakes, malts, ice cream sodas, sherbets, floats, sundaes and splits as standard fare. For a special treat, try the Camelback Soda, an old-fashioned soda pop confection of either marshmallow, caramel, or hot fudge sauce topping your favorite ice cream flavor.


“It’s all about your dessert” is the mantra of this Asian-based ice cream shop. Located in Scottsdale, Dessert in Desert offers delicious soft-serve ice cream in flavors like Chocolate and Mango Swirl, Matcha, Black Sesame Seed and Milk & Taro Swirl. Be sure to try Taiyaki, a Japanese fish-shaped cake, that comes filled with your choice of red bean, custard, Nutella or cream cheese. Another favorite is Snowmilk Flaked Ice, a classic Korean dessert consisting of shaved ice with condensed milk that’s generously topped with a choice of red bean, strawberry and banana, mango, or blueberry cheesecake