Carmela Ice Cream

Best Local Ice Cream, August 2009

We get it. Gelato’s concentrated flavors make it très cosmopolitan, and we love those dainty little spoons. But there’s something about ice cream—the way it melts, the way even the most pungent flavors are subdued by the weight of the cream, the way it just makes sense on a fresh waffle cone—that has us feeling, well, warm and fuzzy. The difference between gelato and ice cream has to do with butterfat (ice cream has more). If you want to belly up to a counter or enjoy a scoop at a table, head to 85-year-old Fosselman’s in Alhambra. Still, we found the treats from Carmela Ice Cream—which sells at area farmers’ markets and select gourmet shops—unbeatable. The ice cream coats your tongue, and while flavor novelty isn’t crucial, we couldn’t help being impressed by the salted caramel, brown sugar vanilla bean, cardamom, and lavender honey. Carmela uses only local and organic ingredients: Herbs, flowers, and fruits come mostly from the sustainable Silver Lake Farms. Despite the new-school sensibility, this is old-school ice cream at its pinnacle.