July was declared National Ice Cream Month more than 30 years ago, and Americans have been scooping up the frozen delight in celebration. This is particularly true in the capital city, where summer temperatures can slide into triple digits. Local cream, milk, nuts and berries are used to produce spectacular ice cream flavors and sundaes. So when the whole family screams for ice cream, head out for these local businesses for the best of the best.

(credit: gunthersicecream.com)

(credit: gunthersicecream.com)

Gunther’s Ice Cream
2801 Franklin Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 457-6646
www.gunthersicecream.com

Founded in 1940, this Curtis Park institution is topped with the neon figure of “Jugglin Joe” endlessly tossing a scoop of ice cream over his head and onto a cone. Gunther’s ice cream contains a much higher amount of butterfat cream than others use, resulting in richer and creamier ice cream. In addition to the standard flavors, the menu of 40+ ice creams includes Thai tea, maple nut, green tea, birthday cake, Swiss orange chip, lemon custard and mango. Nut lovers crave selections such as pistachio, black walnut, maple nut, banana nut and toasted almond flavors. If you want a creamy dessert without excess sweetener, vanilla and bing cherry ice creams are available with no added sugar. Sherbet, frozen yogurt and a monthly special are also available. Pick any flavor for a handmade ice cream sandwich.

The Parlor
2620 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95864
(916) 977-3997
www.theparloricecream.squarespace.com

This epicurean shop is particularly beloved for its signature ice cream puffs. These are made with ice cream that is stuffed into a glazed donut or apple fritter and then heated, resulting in a warm, cold, melty and delicious dessert. Unique ice cream toppings include potato chips, Fruity Pebbles cereal and crumbled bits of bacon, and ice cream styles are always evolving. Ice cream flavors include a light and subtle 50 Shades of Earl Grey, taro, a smooth vanilla with crunchy cinnamon swirls flavor that is called Wendell, sea salt and caramel and Midnight in Paris, a delectable combination of coffee ice cream with swirls of Nutella hazelnut and chocolate throughout.

Related: Best Chocolate Shops In Sacramento

(credit: leatherbys.net)

(credit: leatherbys.net)

Leatherby’s Family Creamery
2333 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 920-8382
www.leatherbys.net

Classic ice cream flavors like rocky road, strawberry and butter pecan are awesome at Leatherby’s, as are offerings such as chocolate peanut butter, caramel praline, triple chocolate and a rich, luscious mocha royale. Sundaes are great any day of the week, and are created with the creamery’s homemade caramel, hot fudge and chocolate sauces. Design your own, or try sundaes like Paul’s Royale Raspberry Fudge, a rich chocolate cake topped with berries, hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. Kids love Joseph’s Clown sundae, with a scoop of ice cream for a head, cherry and cookie features and a sugar cone hat topped by a maraschino. And if you have only experienced “shakes” at fast food joints, Leatherby’s real, old-fashioned milkshakes will blow your mind.

(credit: vicsicecream.com)

(credit: vicsicecream.com)

Vic’s Ice Cream
3199 Riverside Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 448-0892
www.vicsicecream.com

This family-owned creamery and café is located across the street from Purple Fox Crafts and Gifts and Land Bark Pet Supplies. For many years locals have headed to Vic’s to enjoy ice cream flavors such as chocolate mousse, cherry amaretto, muddy mocha, peppermint, almond fudge, peanut butter cup and peppermint. Seasonal summertime treats include fresh banana, peach and strawberry ice creams, as well as boysenberry and pineapple sherbets. With a week advanced notice, customers can order ice cream pies like Kahlua or chocolate mousse, mint chip, grasshopper, strawberry and black raspberry. Advance notice is also needed for bon-bons, a scoop of ice cream dipped by hand in Guittard’s semi-sweet Chocolate.

(credit: gingerelizabeth.com)

(credit: gingerelizabeth.com)

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
1801 L St., Suite 60
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 706-1738
www.gingerelizabeth.com

A gourmet chocolate confectioner, Ginger Elizabeth also offers ice cream during the warmer months, using local, organic dairy products. New, limited-term ice cream sundae specials have included ice creams flavors such as backyard rose geranium, olive oil and sea salt and orange blossom. The highly popular and unique ice cream sandwiches are made with handmade French macaron meringue cookies.

Related: Best Pizza In Sacramento

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at Examiner.com.

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