This article was originally published in August 2018.

Dessert is a dish best served frozen on a sultry Missouri day. There is no tastier way to cool down than with ice cream, and there are plenty of places around the Show-Me State to get a scoop of the sweet, creamy treat. Historians often credit the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis as the event that brought the ice cream cone to the masses; in 2008, Missouri declared it the official state dessert. Missouri’s selection of ice cream can take your taste buds from classic to contemporary and even around the world. Here are some stops to consider for a statewide tour of summer’s most delicious delights.

Photo by Jonathan Pollack

Ices Plain & Fancy • St. Louis

2256 South 39th Street 314-601-3604 •

The vibrant color palette of blues and pinks sets the tone for fun at Ices Plain & Fancy. As customers watch, the staff  makes ice cream to order using liquid nitrogen at 321 degrees below zero. The plumes of smoke that appear as the ice cream flash-churns are reminiscent of a magic show. Small blowtorches are employed on the outside of the mixing bowls to quickly melt any hardened ice cream. In less than a minute, the ice cream—made up of 16 to 18 percent butterfat—is ready to eat.

“Flash-churning with liquid nitrogen freezes the cream so quickly that it doesn’t have a chance to form large ice crystals, so you end up with ice cream with an incredible silky-smooth texture,” says owner and operating manager Darla Crask. “Our technique may look crazy fun, but it’s not just a gimmick. We believe it’s the best way to make ice cream.”

Flavors such as mint chip, cherry cordial, and peanut butter chocolate populate the traditional end of the menu; more inventive creations include the winter seasonal Campfire S’mores, a smoked treat featuring roasted marshmallow ice cream topped with graham crackers, chocolate squares, and homemade hot fudge. The 21-and-older crowd can try the cocktail ice creams and boozy floats, such as Johnny Jump Up (vanilla ice cream blended with Jameson, apple bitters, and Strongbow hard cider) and Ancho & Lefty (chocolate ice cream, spicy Ancho Reyes liqueur, Aztec chocolate bitters, ancho chile powder, and cocoa nibs). Even dogs can be part of the experience at Ices Plain & Fancy. The Sticky Charlie contains sweet potato, yogurt, peanut butter, and anchovy for man’s best friend, and 50 percent of its sales benefit Stray Rescue of St. Louis.

Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream • Columbia

21 South Ninth Street • 573-443-7400 •

This downtown Columbia institution garnered national attention in 2011 for blending boiled cicadas—covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate—into a brown sugar and butter flavored ice cream. Patrons pack the whimsical parlor hungry for its imaginative flavors such as lavender honey, cucumber melon sorbet, floral orange, green tea, and maple sea salt. Many of the recipes incorporate ingredients from local producers, including Patric Chocolate, Les Bourgeois Winery, Boone Olive Oil Co., Broadway Brewery, and Harold’s Doughnuts. Stop outside for a selfie with the statue of Sparky, the late English bulldog who is the ice cream shop’s mascot.

Giofre Apiaries • Millersburg

573-310-9711 •

With four tablespoons of Missouri honey in each pint, Giofre Apiaries ice cream is truly buzzworthy. Owners Domenic and Nancy Giofre harvest honey from their own bees and blend it with honey from other Missouri producers to have enough to make 200 gallons of ice cream per week. They also use local fruits and nuts as much as possible. The couple has developed interesting flavors, including root beer float, coff‹ee, elderberry, salted caramel with bacon, raspberry, and pumpkin, but honey enthusiasts might want to opt for the simplest off‹ering.

“The honey flavor is most prominent in the vanilla ice cream,” Nancy says. “Overall, customers can expect a creamy and smooth ice cream with great flavor. We chose not to add food coloring, but what it lacks in color, it makes up for with natural flavor.” Giofre Apiaries honey ice cream is available at restaurants, shops, and grocery and convenience store locations in central Missouri, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Illinois.

Betty Rae’s Ice Cream • Kansas City

7140 Wornall Road • 816-237-1168 •

The rotating list of 24 house-made flavors at Betty Rae’s Ice Cream features creative combinations such as chile mango; morel mushroom; chicken and waes; ricotta, basil, and pine nut; and strawberry and rhubarb crisp. Seasonal fare marks holidays with sweet potato and marshmallow for Thanksgiving, and Guinness, Bailey’s and Jameson cake for St. Patrick’s Day. With a nod to Kansas City’s barbecue roots, one of Betty Rae’s most talked-about flavors showcases candied beef burnt ends mixed into a sweet cream base with ribbons of caramel made of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que original sauce. On Taco Tuesdays, patrons can order any three flavors of ice cream, with any sauces and toppings, served in a fresh waffle taco shell. The trendy spot also has shakes and malts, floats, sundaes, and ice cream sandwiches.

Pineapple Whip • Springfield

3850 South Campbell Avenue, 1310 South Glenstone Avenue, 1517 West Battlefield Road • 417-207-3975 •

The treat at this establishment is a blend of soft serve and sorbet. The Fortner family— which has owned and operated Pineapple Whip since 1974—expanded beyond the original pineapple flavor to include orange, strawberry-kiwi, mango-peach, grape, orange, and banana-pomegranate (aka nana-granate).

“The product is as unique as you get,” says co-owner Zach Fortner. “It’s a nondairy, fruit juice-based soft serve, with no fat, cholesterol, high-fructose corn syrup, or gluten. It’s a great option for people who have never been able to enjoy ice cream.”

Once only available at the Ozark Empire Fair, the vegan refreshment is now sold all summer at three locations around Springfield.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard • St. Louis

6726 Chippewa • 314-481-2652 4224 • South Grand Boulevard • 314-352-7376 •

The St. Louis summer tradition of frozen custard at Ted Drewes dates to 1930. The concretes are so thick that they— and the spoon—stay cemented when you hold the cup upside down. Malts and shakes, sundaes, floats, cones, ice cream sodas, and cookie sandwiches are also on the menu. Ted Drewes makes its frozen custard with milk, cream, eggs, sugar, pure honey, and natural vanilla. Customers enjoy it plain or get it blended with various mix-ins. The Hawaiian Delight comes with pineapple, bananas, coconut, and macadamia nuts. Pistachios and a secret blend of chocolate come together in the Terramizzou. The Cardinal Sin is mixed with tart cherries and hot fudge. National Geographic ranks Ted Drewes among the top 10 places in the world to eat ice cream.

Andy’s Frozen Custard • 18 Missouri Locations

The frozen custard at Andy’s is always served within one hour after it is made. The brownies, pies, shortcakes, and cookies that are blended into the frozen custards are baked in-store each day. Andy’s has cones, splits, sundaes, shakes, floats, concretes (frozen custard blended with toppings), malts (frozen custard blended with toppings and malt powder), old-fashioned freezes, (frozen custard blended with soda), and old-fashioned sodas (scoops of frozen custard with flavored syrup and seltzer). Seasonal flavors, such as pumpkin pie, candy cane, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, and blueberry, pop up on the menu year round. The first Andy’s opened in Osage Beach in March 1986, and the company soon expanded to Springfield. Today, there are more than 60 locations across Missouri and 10 other states.

Crown Candy Kitchen • St. Louis

1401 St. Louis Avenue • 314-621-9650 •

An extreme sweet tooth is required to conquer the Crown Candy Kitchen challenge, which promises five free malts or shakes to any individual who can finish drinking all 120 ounces in a half-hour. If a commemorative T-shirt and a spot on the Wall of Winners isn’t your aim, this 105-year-old soda fountain— the oldest in St. Louis—is still worth a visit. The homemade ice cream is 14 percent butterfat. The flavorings, such as pineapple-orange, Ozark black walnut, black cherry, banana, raspberry, and others, are made in-shop in an antique copper candy kettle. The Crown, one of 14 sundaes on the menu, is vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge and caramel sauce, and a generous helping of butter-roasted pecans. Two people can share the “elegant” French Sundae, which features strawberry, pineapple, and marshmallow sauce, a sliced banana, whipped cream, crushed toasted cashews, chocolate sprinkles, and a cherry atop a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Buck’s Ice Cream Place • Columbia

1405 East Rollins Street • 573-882-1088 •

Golden french vanilla ice cream and swirls of dark dutch chocolate come together in Tiger Stripe, the signature flavor at the University of Missouri’s campus ice cream shop. Buck’s Ice Cream opened in 1989, two years after MU graduates Wendell and Ruth Arbuckle created an endowment for ice cream research. Each week, the food science students who operate Buck’s produce 100 to 150 gallons of ice cream for students and non-students alike. Black walnut, cookies and cream, mocha fudge, raspberry, and rocky road are some of the other regular menu items. They also develop seasonal offerings. At $2 for one scoop and $3 for two scoops, the academic ice cream is a budget-friendly indulgence.

Paleteria Tropicana • Kansas City

830 Southwest Boulevard • 816-221-0192 •

Mexican ice pops, known as paletas, are the signature items at Paleteria Tropicana. The cream- or fruit-based treats are made with granulated white sugar, water or soft-serve ice-cream mix, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables. Pistachio, strawberry cream, cookies and cream, coconut, and lime are among the 48 different flavors. For an authentic taste, the paletas are prepared following traditional recipes from Michoacán, Mexico, using ingredients imported from Mexico. Paleteria Tropicana also features 12 rotating homemade ice cream and sorbet flavors that are made fresh daily. One specialty dish is The Mangonada, a mango sorbet with a splash of chamoy and chile Tajín.

“We are recognized for having the largest selection of Latin-themed ice cream and paleta flavors in the metro Kansas City area,” says owner Jose Luis Valdez. “Our store decor and color schemes are based on the decor of paleterias (ice cream stores) found across Michoacán.”

A Little More • Columbia

1010 East Broadway, Suite 102 573-886-0038 •

The Thai-style rolled ice cream trend that started with street vendors in Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia has made its way to Missouri. The ice cream “chefs” at A Little More pour a base of sweet milk onto a cold steel griddle and then use a metal scraper to chop in other ingredients such as cookies, candy, nuts, pretzels, or fruit. The griddle flash freezes the mixture into a thin, flat layer that is scraped into delicate rolls of ice cream. Toppings, such as condensed milk, caramel, strawberry, dark chocolate, or white chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and fruit can be added. Flavors include strawberry cheesecake, green tea, cherry blossom, nocturne (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), and black humor (brownie and Oreos). Everything is made to order.

“People can see how we mix the fresh ingredients in front of them,” says owner Jay Zheng. “We have so many great flavors and more than 32 topping options for customers to choose.”

Gelateria Del Leone • St. Louis

3197 South Grand Boulevard • 314-776-3500 •

The nearly 50 flavors of gelato at this Tower Grove neighborhood cafe are all made from scratch. The shop’s classics include chocolate, butterscotch pecan, and pistachio. London Fog (Earl Grey and vanilla), sweet potato pecan, and Mayan chocolate (chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne) are a few of the house specials. The dairy-free sorbetto, the Italian word for sorbet, comes in pineapple, raspberry, lemon, cherry, and blueberry.

Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery • St. Louis

1637 South 18th Street, 730 De Mun Avenue • 4715 Macklind Avenue • 20 Meadows Circle in The Meadows Shopping Center • 13426 Clayton Road 314-858-6100 •

Skip the bar and head over to Clementine’s for a decadent happy hour. Customers who are age 21 and older can enjoy the micro-creamery’s “naughty” ice creams, which are infused with local wine, spirits, and beers. Flavors include chocolate cabernet, amaretto sour, maple bourbon with candied pecans, boozy banana rum, and mint chocolate stout. Owner Tamara Keefe invented a patent-pending process that allows her to infuse up to 18 percent of the alcohol into the ice cream.

It’s just as exciting on the “nice” side. Strawberry balsamic with white pepper, pistachio, cashew salted caramel, gooey butter cake, and blackberry buttermilk are some of Clementine’s nonalcoholic options. The black cherry ash ice cream combines activated charcoal and Amarena cherries for an onyx-colored frozen dessert. Clementine’s handcrafted, all-natural concoctions can be loaded into waffl‹e cones with uncommon flavors, such as blue corn, toasted coconut, and Orange Dreamsicle.

“We take our time with each customer,” says Keefe. “When you come here, you get a 15minute vacation. People love that they can sample all these interesting and unique flavors that they can’t try anywhere else, and they can also get educated on the ice cream if they want to learn more.”