Home Tourism Where Ice Cream Fans Can Find Their Fix in Tel Aviv


Where Ice Cream Fans Can Find Their Fix in Tel Aviv

by Mackenzie Landi
Where Ice Cream Fans Can Find Their Fix in Tel Aviv

Follow us on a sweet voyage through the very best frozen dessert parlors in the city famed for top-tier culinary.

It was after a visit to the recently opened Tel Aviv gelato bar of Michelin-starred chef Eyal Shani that I realized why a “must-taste” tip to a hyped gelato spot in Florence (which entailed a half-hour wait in line) proved so underwhelming.

For years, Israeli ice-cream chains such as Golda have been raising the bar with their wide range of smooth textures and imaginative flavors. But what has really elevated our taste buds is the artisanal gelato now popping up across Tel Aviv.

This is where you get to experience inventive flavors — burnt marshmallow and caramelized roses are just two examples — a creaminess that glides down the throat and a sweetness that is never cloying.

Just in time for the summer season (although there’s no reason not to make it a year-round treat), here are a few options that make the case for Tel Aviv as the best Middle East ice-cream destination.

Note: The ice cream stores listed below do not have kosher certification.

Where Ice Cream Fans Can Find Their Fix in Tel Aviv

Cassata 

Park Hamesila, 12 Yehuda HaLevi St.

Be prepared to wait in a long line at Eyal Shani’s recently opened gelato/wine bar situated on the green belt of Park HaMesila between grungy hipster Florentin and upscale Neve Zedek.

As you inch forward, everyone seems to be chatting happily about what flavors to choose from as they run up to peek at the list tacked up at the entrance.

Many want a fix of their favorites (mine are dark chocolate with rosemary, cinnamon almond and lavender honey) but some are willing to venture into unknown territory: sage butter, lemon milk or creme fraiche with sea salt and olive oil, perhaps.

This time, my daughter decides on burnt marshmallow just to prove it actually tastes as if it was made over a bonfire — and it does!

You can get your scoops in a cone or in retro Italian-style metal bowls.

Cassata also serves ice cream sandwiches, affogato, wine and cocktails (a granita margarita, for example) based on what’s in season or the chef’s whim.

Seating is in the candlelit area around a lightwood contemporary-style communal table with art-lined walls (the exhibition rotates) or outside in a garden.

Arte Glideria

11 Nachalat Binyamin St.

After taking in some jazz at Beit Ha’amudim, it has become a ritual to stop off at Arte, a small glidaria (ice cream parlor) that spills out onto the Nachalat Binyamin pedestrian street, with its beautifully restored architecture.

Founded by Italian natives Marco Camorali and Sissi Pagani, who trained at the Natural Gelato Academy in Tuscany, the philosophy here is authentic Sicilian gelato made of the highest quality ingredients without any artificial additives.

Vegans and those with gluten sensitivity will find many options suitable for their dietary restrictions. This includes the cones, too.

For the adventurous gourmand, there are flavors such as caramelized roses, avocado cream, goat cheese with pear and honey or butter bread (a unique flavour of butter, cream and French baguette). Other offerings are tiramisu, coffee and cassata Siciliana (in traditional fashion with pieces of glace fruit).

Chocoholics can choose from Azteca chocolate, allspice chocolate, cinnamon chocolate and orange-and-chocolate almond cream.

Mystic

138 Dizengoff St.

Marc Sztykman was in the fashion business in Paris but decided to study ice-cream making after he moved to Israel eight years ago. Then he put his heart and soul into Mystic, an ice cream parlor he opened on Dizengoff Street.

It’s a cool and calming spot done up in soft art-deco green and pink with light wood accents.

Sztykman’s aim is to make a high-quality product with the best raw materials (his nougat comes from Montelimar and pistachios from Sicily) with a texture that is “not too hard or soft” or overly sweet.

All the cones and paper-thin lightly caramelized wafer served with the scoops are made on site daily. You can also choose to have your scoop between a buttery brioche.

Flavors that wow include French nougat with orange blossom and honey, liquorice (surprisingly subtle) and a pear sorbet. I left popcorn for next time.

Where Ice Cream Fans Can Find Their Fix in Tel Aviv

Cremerie De L’eclair

Flagship store: 53 King George St.

While chef Tomer Levi’s ice-cream store has grown into a chain (and plans are already underway to open in multiple locations abroad), the originality of his  creations couldn’t be overlooked for this list.

Ice cream in a “luna park of tastes” is served here in an endless variety of ways – between a toasty warm eclair, brioche, macaroon, cinnabon or sweet calzone.

The novel idea came to Levi, he says, while he was eating an ice cream and a hot pastry in a snowy, minus-10 degree Prague.

Levi, with Willy Wonka pride, is full of showmanship and dispenses his Rimini imported sauces (Hershey, Nutella, Kinder, blueberry, red velvet and more) from a row of containers with taps hanging down above the counter.

Be forewarned: Cremerie De L’eclair is for those with a very sweet tooth. Take its signature treat as one example: a toasty hot eclair filled with ice cream and topped with a sauce and sprinkles of your choice.

Other highlights are the gluten-free Bounty cookie sandwich made with coconut biscuits dipped in dark chocolate sauce with Nutella ice cream in the middle and the cookie knafe – two thin knafe (traditional spun Arab pastry) biscuits filled with vanilla ice cream and dipped in pistachio sauce with a sprinkling of toasted pistachio nibs.

The Snickers Twister on the menu also caught my eye: vanilla caramel ice cream piped to a peak in a cup with the addition of hot peanut butter cookie shards and slathered in Lotus sauce.

Branches of Cremerie De L’éclair in Ashdod and in Givat Shmuel (both outside Tel Aviv) are certified kosher.

Originally posted on israel21c.com

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