D.C. Ice Cream: A Primer

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Pumpkin honeycomb and salty apple cinnamon ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee

If you ever check out my Instagram, it looks like all I do is eat ice cream. This isn’t so far from the truth. When I’m not pretending to be productive, cooking, eating out or baking, I’m probably at a local ice cream shop, sampling whatever delicious flavors are on the menu.

When did my addiction start? Early. My mom told me that ice cream was a health food growing up, and I believed it for the better part of my childhood and adult life. College opened my eyes to the combined joy/destructive power of eating entire pints on the reg (read: every day).

I’ve since changed my habits and now I only indulge a few times a week. But when I do, I don’t hold back. As I told my friend Rachel last night when we were standing in line at one of the best local haunts, there’s one kind of person who orders the mini cup. That person isn’t me.

Here are some of the best spots in D.C. for ice cream. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Dolcezza Gelato 

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Roasted strawberry jam and blueberry lavender gelato at Dolcezza

I started going to Dolcezza when I moved to D.C. a few years ago. The flavors drew me in: roasted strawberry jam, blueberry lavender and hairbender espresso are just a few kinds you’ll find on the menu. They also have amazing cookies called alfajores that I would highly recommend.

Flavors rotate seasonally, and I like that. You can tell that the ingredients are fresh. You almost feel like you’re eating a health food…if you try really hard.

Dolci Gelati

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Saffron pistachio and pear cinnamon ice cream at Dolci Gelati

I only recently tried Dolci Gelati, but this is the kind of place that you’ll become addicted to. Whoa. That’s all I can say.

Even though Dolci is more of a traditional Italian gelato shop, the flavors are out of the ordinary. Last time I had the saffron pistachio and the pear cinnamon and they both almost brought me to tears.

Westray’s Finest Ice Cream

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Belgian dark chocolate and peppermint chip ice cream at Westray’s Finest

One day about a year and a half ago, I was walking down the sidewalk by my old job and I saw an ice cream truck on the side of the street. I stopped and tried their Belgian chocolate flavor, and I temporarily blacked out. How is anything this good? I wondered.

Well, it is. Westray’s Finest Ice Cream is living proof. I’ve tried almost every flavor, but my favorites to date are the southern maple cornbread and the chocolate.

I give Westray’s a lot of points for innovation, quality and persistence. Food truck life isn’t easy, but the owners are always smiling and welcoming and proud of what they do.

Ice Cream Jubilee

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Minty chip ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee

I saved the best for last: Ice Cream Jubilee trumps the rest of the list (even though I feel guilty saying it because I patronize every place on the reg and tell them all that they’re my favorite).

The reason why is because Ice Cream Jubilee is consistently good and never disappoints. The flavors are out-of-the-box (read: Thai Iced Tea and Grapefruit Campari), but they don’t hit you over the head with their un-ordinariness. It’s good ice cream. Period. When you have quality, you can afford to take risks.

Conclusion

I’ll stop here before I continue sounding like a marketing exec for Ice Cream Jubilee. But enjoy the aforementioned shops: they all bring their own strengths to the table and honestly, you can’t go wrong.

About Emily Wasserman

Hi! My name is Emily and I'm a writer based in St. Louis. If I was stranded on an island and could request three items of food, they would be avocados, Halloumi and chocolate croissants.
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