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The Top 5 Ice Cream Brands by Mail Order

My Picks for the Tastiest Ice Creams Delivered to your Home

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Call me sentimental, but there is something amazing about walking into a shop where the ice cream is made by hand. Even the most mundane of flavors seems extraordinary compared to most of the stuff you find in the frozen food section of your local supermarket.

There are some real artisans out there making ice cream for folks. Delightful frozen sweets with fresh, natural ingredients - made in small batches with loving care. Classics seem new again - strawberry made with fresh, juicy fruit in season; chocolate made with organic, fair-trade ingredients; vanilla made with real vanilla beans. Experimentation is in, though, and ice cream makers are constantly creating their own modern flavors with a twist - goat cheese with red cherries, sweet corn & raspberries, sweet potato & marshmallow, balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, Mexican chili chocolate, and the list goes on. Here are some of my favorite ice cream artisans.

1. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

With so many incredible artisan ice cream makers out there, it's difficult to label anyone 'the best'. If I had to choose just one, however, it would be Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream - luscious, scrumptious, absolutely delectable in every way!

Jeni Britton Bauer started Jeni's back in 2002 in the city of Columbus, Ohio. There are now 11 scoops shops in Ohio and Tennessee. Jeni and her crack team of master ice cream artisans are constantly coming up with the most delicious flavors - Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet, Brambleberry Crisp, Salty Caramel, Whiskey & Pecans, Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries - just to name some of my favorites.

2. Steve's Ice Cream

Steve's started out way back in 1973. The company has grown but they still make their ice cream by hand and it shows. Beautiful, smooth,tasty stuff with flavors that will blow you away. The perfect combination of ingredients form little pints of frozen heaven!

This Brooklyn, NY company has some very delicious flavors - Strawberry Ricotta, Salty Caramel, and Cinnamon Coffee are incredible. Their Southern Collection, however, is to die for! Bourbon Pecan Pie, Coconut Key Lime Pie, Small Batch Bourbon Vanilla, Nola Iced Coffee & Donuts, and Southern Banana Pudding. The taste is so incredibly yummy, it seems like a dream!

3. Salt & Straw Ice Cream

Salt & Straw Ice Cream are the new guys on the block (in the summer of 2011 they were but a lonely ice cream cart). Only a couple years old, this Portland, Oregon company is making a big name for themselves. Cousins Kim and Tyler Malek use local ingredients to create delishness in a pint - Double Fold Singing Dog Vanilla, Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper, Pear with Blue Cheese, Coffee & Bourbon, Cinnamon Snicker Doodle, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate and Sea Salt Ice Cream with Caramel Ribbon.

If that wasn't enough to blow your taste buds away, they also offer these seasonal treats - Butter Roasted Chestnuts, Peppermint Cocoa, Mulled Wine Sorbet, Eggnog Custard, Bourbon Pecan Pie (my favorite!), Figgy Pudding, and let us not forget Grandma Malek's Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache. Wow!

4. Capogiro Gelato Artisans

This Philadelphia company was founded in 2002 by Stephanie and John Reitano with the purpose of creating true Italian gelati and sorbetti. The name Capogiro comes from the Italian for 'dizzy' or 'giddy'. The folks at Capogiro embrace the crazy title and work diligently to come up with new amazing flavors.

With products that change seasonally, Capogiro uses fresh, local ingredients to create over 250 truly incredible flavors. You will definitely not get bored with this kind of selection! Some favorites include - Chocolate with Banana, Apple (heirloom) with Mascarpone, Acorn Squash, Rosemary Honey Goat's Milk, Lancaster County Neck Pumpkin, Pear with Wild Turkey Bourbon, and Cactus Pear.

5. Chozen Ice Cream

What an inspirational idea! Take the tastiest desserts from Jewish holidays and put them in an ice cream. The result - some seriously delicious frozen goodness! Made with all natural ingredients and dairy from a local farm, this ice cream is incredibly yummy!

Their flavor lineup includes: Apples and Honey (honey ice cream with chunks of green apple), Coffee Talk (espresso ice cream), Coconut Macaroon (almond ice cream with toasted flakes of coconut), Chocolate Gelt (chocolate ice cream with milk chocolate coins), Matzoh Crunch (vanilla ice cream chocolate and caramel covered matzoh), and my favorite - Ronne's Rugelach (cinnamon ice cream with homemade walnut-raisin rugelach). Delish!

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