Seek out the right streets at the right times, and get ready to experience a different kind of cool. Seattle's ice cream entrepreneurs are have gotten wheels, stocking trucks and carts with the same sort of fresh-made artisan treats featured in new shops around town. Different vendors feature intriguing flavors, organic ingredients, and often buy suplies locally—the person scooping your ice cream might well have baked and hand-rolled the cones. Remember the jingle of the approaching ice-cream truck? The sound still brings kids racing down neighborhood streets, seeking to cool off with a Popsicle or Choco Taco.
Treats at the new trucks tend to run a dollar or two more than Good Humor or Klondike bars, just as a salted caramel cone at Molly Moon's is pricier than a scoop of Baskin-Robbins. The tradeoff is that the money supports local producers, the desserts are delicious, and the ingredients aren't highly processed and artificial.
The ever popular Choco Tacos sold by old-fashioned trucks are heavy on maltodextrin and cellulose gum, high-fructose corn syrup, fractionated palm kernel oil, and artificial flavors. We're confident that kids will be equally thrilled by creamy stracciatella from the Parfait Ice Cream truck, made with Dagoba chocolate and organic, local mint leaves. And don't forget the added fun of sampling eclectic flavors samples like chocolate chai and Meyer lemon.
The elegantly patterned, chocolate-brown truck has only one drawback, which may disappoint those looking for the traditional experience. No music.
For that, we'll have to visit the Molly Moon's truck, which even plays an original signature tune—appropriate for a truck that debuted at the Sasquatch Music Festival. In addition to sundaes and scoops, this truck boasts ice-cream sandwiches made with praline-style cookies.
Other mobile ice cream outlets operate without a motor. One of our favorite options is Half Pint Ice Cream. You're likely to run into this cart at local farmers' markets, where you can try their rotating weekly flavors. These can be as simple as chocolate chip, or as exotic as Earl Grey and mojito sorbet. They are even known to consider new flavor suggestions!
Interested in more ways to have nostalgic summer fun? Check out some of our suggestions!
Seattle food writer Rebekah Denn needs to taste just a couple more flavors before picking a favorite.