This all-natural ice cream began slowly, a labor of love by two young Italian entrepreneurs. And then a mere few years later, there were a dozen shops popping up all over Paris. That was around the time they had been bought out by Unilever. Huge conglomerate ownership notwithstanding, the all-natural gelato remains top quality. So much so that I insisted my mother try some on her recent visit to Paris. Adored flavors include their blueberry sorbet and also their granitas in addition to their seasonal gelato flavors. Another nice thing is that there are locations all over the city, so pretty much whichever historical monument you might be visiting that day, there will be a Grom nearby.
A new way of serving up ice cream... the basic ingredients of milk and sugar and flavorings are spread out like a crepe but on an iced pan (-30°C). This freezes the mixture instantaneously and then the ice cream is dished up in curled rolls. Very fresh and fun. The flavorings are all natural and heightened for taste. Flavors include things like very fresh mint, a tart lemon with more of an accent on citrus than sweet ( a rarity with lemon flavors) and even some traditional (French) holiday flavors revisited like spice cake and candied chestnuts for Christmas time festivities.
The opening of this family-run pastry and ice cream shop on the Ile St.-Louis officially cemented what the French press dubbed the ice cream wars of Ile St.-Louis. I beg to differ. In my opinion, it simply firmly cemented Ile St. Louis as Paris' ice cream island. Senoble has been in the business of providing top quality, artisan sourced dairy products to consumers since over a century. This is their jaunt into providing an ice cream shop direct to dine-in customers who can enjoy their signature flavors of fromage blanc (like a smooth cottage cheese), cheesecake and yogurt. And, if you want a real chocolate high, try a scoop of their 90% dark chocolate, it's like a sorbet and tastes like an iced dark chocolate bar. Choco-heaven. Dine in at this stylish ice cream shop or take your ice cream to go to eat along the banks of the Seine.
Searching for real buttercream frosting in Paris can be a challenge. In fact, after years of looking for the real thing (since Sugar Plum closed) you could say you just had to be satisfied with sugar icing in its place. But now, since late 2016, this young French woman (with Haitian roots) has succeeded in mastering the art of buttercream frosting and has added it to her delicious cakes and cupcakes. What's more, she's convinced her florist neighbor to add beautiful fresh flowers as decoration and Voila - the perfect wedding, birthday and special occasion cakes. It's definitely worth the scenic bus ride up to the 18th arrondissement to pick up one of these beauties. But keep in mind, for full size cakes, they must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. And if ice cream cakes are your fond holdovers from childhood, you are now in luck, too.
Positioning himself as the rock-n-roll pastry chef, Michalak offers a whole new take on what it means to be a top-notch pastry chef in Paris. Following a pop-up cream puff stand he did in partnership with another chef a couple years ago, he went ahead and opened his own pastry-making workshop in the 10th arrondissement. For many years the only place you could purchase Michalak's confections were at the Palace Hotel where he has long been the resident-pastry chef. But, since, it's said, the cream rises to the top, now Michalak has just opened in recent months his first patisserie in Paris and it's in the lovely and convenient Marais district, just behind the BHV, in fact. It's best to come in with no expectations and just let your tastebuds be delighted with shapes, forms and combinations that are altogether a different take on the meaning of "French patisserie."
Pierre Hermé, the recognized world's best pastry chef, launched into ice creams years ago. One of the things that he loves to do is mix unusual flavors together in a method that the French call panaché. Meaning it is a far cry from spumoni when you order their red fruits and mint flavor. The flavors are not entirely mixed and do remain individual but they are thoroughly blended giving you a very minty red fresh fruits experience. Another signature here is their Miss Gla Gla ice cream sandwich pastry. Indeed, this pastry chef is one of the most famous for his macarons, so when he whips up a crispy shell for his ice cream sandwiches, you can bet that they are going to be light and perfectly matched to the ice cream in the middle. The packaging renders them surprisingly easy to eat as well with or without a fork.
Created by an accomplished and recognized master pastry chef, David Wesmael, who is specialized in ice cream, the flavors of the ice cream here are rivaled only by the packaging design. His design and packaging, in addition to his all-natural recipes and flavors, elevate ice cream to a whole new level. Why? Because you can now finally take your ice cream on a picnic or down to the Seine with you and it will still be cold and frozen an hour or even two later. He also has re-imagined the ice cream sandwich/ bar into something more refined and in keeping with French patisserie. But his real signature are the little ice cream puffs that look like puff pastries but are made from ice cream with a chocolate shell and a center of praline or other high-end sweet. This is ice cream at its innovative best.
The first France-based Italian ice cream chain to do Italian gelato, this ice cream shop has seen enormous success. Their signature is to craft the ice cream on top of the cone in the shape of flower petals, handing you a rose bouquet of an ice cream cone. This has proven to be a big hit with young girls and ladies alike as well as their menfolk. They have other treats, too, like sorbet ice tea and seasonal special flavors like this season's energy mix. For those who want something even more substantial, you can also order the waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce or the gelato drenched in Italian coffee. This central location on the island is open all summer long and doesn't close until midnight.
This is the city's still-reigning king of ice creams and can be credited with establishing Ile St.-Louis as ice cream island. It was founded by the Berthillon family in 1957 and today it is still the offspring who run this family owned shop. Most people are content to line up outside and wait to get their ice cream cone to take away. But if you truly want a singular experience, do the sit down dining in their charming dozen or so seat ice cream shop. The newest development is that this summer (2018) they just opened up an annex shop across the street. But that still didn't give them enough motivation to stay open for August. But nothing to fret over, since a half dozen or so locations like cafés on the island serve Berthillon ice cream. So you won't have to miss out.
Following Berthillon's long reign as the nearly the only choice when it came to quality ice cream, this boutique ice cream parlor opened up in the Marais only a few years ago and quickly saw lines a street long trailing out their doors daily. The cool and sweet talent behind this shop is Chef Emmanuel Ryon, decorated with the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (high accolades by French standards) designation and specialized in ice cream. His partner, Olivier, handles the business side of things. For a real treat, indulge in his ice cream pastries. The Fraisier consistently gets high ratings and one taste will tell you all you need to know. They are like little ice cream cakes. Another cult product here is their Babas soaked in rum. You can buy them in a glass jar and take them home to put over your vanilla ice cream just before devouring.