Words by Olivia Bauso; photos by Olivia Bauso & Maria Posato
Going out for ice cream should be more than just driving through the nearest McDonald’s.
It should be a ritual practiced by families, couples, and friends that creates an experience for everyone. This experience can be even better when the treat you’re getting comes from a locally owned business that serves homemade and/or locally sourced desserts.
Next time you’re in the mood for a scoop—or more, we won’t judge—head out to one of these shops for a treat you can’t get anywhere else.
Ginger Lion Ice Cream
This handmade, hard ice cream shop is currently in its soft opening (Monday, June 13 was day one!), but already folks are flocking in for creative flavors like orange chocolate chip (pictured above) and homemade waffle cones made fresh daily in-house on a waffle iron. You won't find Ginger Lion on social media just yet, partly because owner/resident ginger lion Bradley Ettinger doesn't even have his OWN Facebook page - but look for the bright ice cream flag on Winton Road, just across from Winfield Grill in the North Winton Village. (A big thanks to Chris at Exploring Upstate for the tip!)
Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream
Located in the heart of the South Wedge, Hedonist creates small batches of ice cream and sorbet using locally sourced ingredients. They offer only eight homemade flavors at a time, including two dairy-free options, in order to keep their supply fresh. A hedonist is someone who is in pursuit of sensual pleasures, and this shop is devoted to showcasing the pleasure of ice cream.
Tucked away behind the canal in Fairport, this ice cream and sorbet shop offers 24 in-store flavor selections, all of which are homemade with responsibly sourced ingredients -- no dyes or preservatives added. Even Moonlight Creamery's single use bowls and spoons are made from 100% biodegradable materials. Contemporary indoor and outdoor seating is available.
Royal Cafe, a family friendly gelateria near the Fairport Erie Canal Lift Bridge, serves dozens of fruit, traditional, and seasonal flavors of gelato. The cafe even makes spaghetti sundaes with vanilla gelato “spaghetti,” strawberry “sauce,” grated white chocolate “cheese,” and brownie “meatballs.” Gelato has less fat and sugar than ice cream, giving it a silky texture that is easier to digest. This means you can eat more, and the employees will certainly give you your deserved amount.
Read's Ice Cream
Read’s is an independently owned store located on East Henrietta Road. Their homemade ice cream and custard is available February-December, and you’ll want to make the trip even in winter months. They also serve lemon and tangerine ice, homemade waffle cones, and Arctic Swirls (your choice of topping mixed with soft serve custard). All of Read’s frozen products are handmade right on the premises.
Pittsford Farms Dairy & Bakery
Located near the Erie Canal in Pittsford, this family owned business has been serving dairy products for more than a century. Pittsford Dairy offers 30 hard flavors each day in addition to their frozen custard, available in chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating flavor. An additional 30 flavors of ice cream can be purchased by the quart. Indoor seating complements the farm feel with long wooden tables and old giant milk cans that work as stools. Outdoor tables and benches are also available.