London can get particularly hot and sticky in the summer months and what better way to cool down, than with an ice cream. But, where to go?
SCOOP 40 Shorts Gardens, London, WC2H 9
I've been wanting to visit for some time as this great ice cream parlour, Scoop, is very popular and I have only heard good things. Once you're inside the door you'll be greeted by a massive display of at least 15 flavours of gelato, all heaving and rolling majestically in their containers; some drizzled with rich dark chocolate, some dotted with little crunchy biscuits. The interior is bright and cheery, decked out with orange walls and bright tables.
I decided to go for my favourite flavour, pistachio and I wasn't disappointed. The ice cream was full of flavour and very creamy and I also went for the chocolate cone which was really delicious and not too flaky like some I have tried before. According to their website, Scoop's pistachio ice cream is "uniquely made with pure pistachios from Bronte, a tiny Sicilian village" and you can really tell the difference and that they are obviously made with something special from the delicious taste. All ice creams are entirely free of artificial flavourings and preservatives but this doesn't alter the taste whatsoever.
Extremely worthwhile visiting this place and very satisfying on a hot day, although beware, there will be some queues. If you want to check out the flavours online before you go, you can view them here.
They don't just have this Covent Garden venue though; they also have two other fabulous parlours in Soho and South Kensington and they do home delivery if needed. Details here.
GELATORINO 2 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5JD
This Covent Garden parlour, Gelatorino, is one of the most authentic Italian gelateria experiences in London. Old-fashioned machines run behind the counter all day, making the freshest possible gelato, with a light, velvety texture. So, if you are looking for genuine Italian gelato in London then this is it.
The service here is friendly with suggestions and offers to sample flavours you may not have tried before which is always a bonus. For a full list of flavours, take a look at their website where they even tell you what a particular flavour ice cream is made with. My personal favourite was the pistachio, with fresh Bronte pistachios and a real creamy taste, it was just delicious. I also had a taste of the dark chocolate sorbet. Very rich and full of flavour, next time I will definitely go for this one I think.
You can have your ice cream here in a cup or a biscuit cone or in an "Affogato" speciality cup which is "gourmet speciality-gelato with melted gianduja, fresh zabaione, a shot of espresso, fresh fruit or "panna montata" whipped cream."
Gelatorino is also perfect for dinner parties as they offer take-away insulated boxes which keep the ice cream at the perfect consistency for up to an hour during transport before popping it into the freezer when you get home. You could even pretend you made it...
No matter the weather, no matter the day, winter or summer, treat yourself and go for a sweet frozen treat at Gelatorino. You won't regret it.
GELUPO 7 Archer Street, London, W1D 7AU
From the people behind the Italian restaurant Bocca di Lupo just across the road, this gelateria, Gelupo, is a celebration of authentic Sicilian ice creams.
There are around 20 flavours offered each day and, apart from a few classics such as pistachio ice cream and strawberry sorbet, recipes tend to be on the sophisticated side, such as summer pudding ice cream with vodka and sponge.
This place is well worth seeking in Soho purely in my opinion for the coconut sorbet. It was absolutely delicious and full of flavour, like nothing I have ever tasted.
I also had a little taster of the blood orange granita, which was amazingly refreshing and delicious and the tiramisu ice cream which had little pieces of cakes in it. This is another true gelato parlour in the heart of London and one of the finest ice cream parlours in the City.
NARDULLI 29 The Pavement, London, SW4 0J
Nardulli is a small, simply decorated ice cream parlour handily located in South West London's Clapham Common.
Adults and children rave about Nardulli's as it is the best place for ice cream in South West London.
This is a proper Italian outfit, run by Lorenzo Nardulli, with lots of traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, along with some newer concoctions such as the recent strawberry sorbet.
There's a range of flavours with all the classics and some more unusual ones such as After Eight, Ferrero Rocher, fig and hazelnut. The After Eight is my personal favourite as it is so creamy and deliciously full of flavour. They list all their favours on their website too so you can always check out what you may like before you even get there, although they are always willing to let you sample.
You can get takeaway pots and cones, or sit down and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. If you do decide to takeaway, they pack up your ice cream in a special polystyrene container so that it is still frozen when you get home. A single scoop here is £2.10 but they are extremely generous with their scoops and it is completely worth it. Another true Italian ice cream parlour in London.
FREGGO 27-29 Swallow Street London W1B 4QR
Set just off Regent Street, Freggo, with its striking purple and silver interior and lively music, makes a great pre or post-shopping treat.
Along with the usual vanilla and strawberry flavours, you'll find Irish cream, chocolate-speckled banana split, and if you aren't such an ice cream fan, a malbec and berry sorbet. The ice cream parlour is Argentinian so this sorbet is definitely worth a try as it testifies to the shop's Argentinian roots.
Freggo is from the owners of famous Argentinian steak restaurant chain - Gaucho - and is conveniently next to the one in Swallow Street, so pop to Gaucho for a yummy steak and chips and next door to Freggo for dessert where you feel like you are in a cocktail bar, minus the alcohol. It even stays open until 2am.
Know any other great ice cream parlours? Let us know.