- We’re on a mission to find the best of the best ice cream in Los Angeles.
- After reading several articles and Yelp reviews, we’ve narrowed down the final four: Sweet Rose Creamery, Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream, Wanderlust Creamery, and Fosselman’s Ice Cream Company.
- We visit each one to see what sets them apart. Then, we pick the winner!
The following is a transcript of the video:
Caroline: Hello, people! So today is a really exciting day because I am going to be eating a lot of ice cream. Now I have tried tons of cool ice cream flavours in the past. I’ve tried really fancy ice cream, giant ice cream, ice cream with interesting toppings, and today, I am on the hunt to find the best ice cream in Los Angeles. So I have been scouring the internet to find everyone’s recommendations of what ice cream parlors I should try. I read Yelp and a bunch of articles, and I’ve narrowed down the final four that, weirdly enough, I haven’t tried before.
So those four are: Sweet Rose Creamery, Mashti Malone’s, Wanderlust Creamery and Fosselman’s Ice Cream.
So without further ado, let this ice cream journey begin.
Our first stop on our ice cream journey is here at Sweet Rose Creamery. Sweet Rose Creamery has been here since 2010, and they were founded right here in Santa Monica with a total of five locations throughout Los Angeles. So what’s really cool is that they’re using all fresh ingredients from the Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market, and it’s coming right here to the ice cream shop where they’re making the ice cream fresh daily, and it comes straight to the counter and into your waffle cone.
In the kitchen, everything is made from scratch, starting from fresh eggs right down to the dairy base. We watched them prepare their classic mint chip ice cream. The shop is always changing up its seasonal flavours.
All right, so we have the mint chip ice cream that we made in a waffle bowl covered in sprinkles. The flavour of the mint really pops out at you more than the cream. I think it’s because we’re using really, really fresh ingredients. It’s not like the artificial mint flavours that you find in gum or you find in other ice cream. You get the fresh flavour, but it is not overwhelmingly minty.
Now it’s time to visit Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream. Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani are credited for introducing Persian ice cream to LA.
Mashti: I’m Mashti Shirvani, the older brother. I came here before the the revolution in Iran. In 1980, I opened this business. I had little savings. I bought the business from the landlord, and I started making ice cream for local Iranians. Every single person, I was giving them samples, that’s how I built my business.
Mehdi: We don’t create, like, weird flavours. It’s mostly floral or fruit-based or herbal-based, things like that. Some of our ingredients come from overseas from different countries. We get ingredients from Iran if there is no sanction. From the Persian Gulf area, from Lebanon, from India, we get so many herbs and spices.
Caroline: The best seller: the saffron pistachio rose water ice cream. The shop uses imported saffron from Iran.
Mehdi: Right now there is a sanction, but right before the sanction, we bought enough for the next couple of years.
Caroline: They grind the saffron and put it in hot water overnight. It’s mainly used for the colour of the ice cream.
Mashti: These are my food colourings, all natural.
Caroline: But it’s natural.
Mashti: Yeah, everything is natural, yeah.
Caroline: They sprinkle their secret herb blend into every ice cream.
Mashti: Just a little, that’s all. Not much sugar.
Caroline: The key ingredient is the rose water.
Mehdi: Rose was very unusual and unknown to American cuisine. They’d never heard of rose water. So it took him and us so much sampling and kind of lecturing about the ingredients so those who were not familiar with the flavour to kinda accept that rose can be eaten too. It’s just like vanilla. But the thing is, vanilla is more popular here, rose is more popular in other parts of the world.
Caroline: And finally, they add the pistachios.
So we’re gonna try the classic Mashti ice cream sandwich. This is two wafers with saffron ice cream rolled in pistachios. This is their most popular flavour for years, and I’m really excited to taste it. It’s really nice ’cause you get little chunks of pistachios that were blended into the ice cream but also whole pistachios all around the sides. It kinda gives that nice balance from the creamy ice cream to the crunchy pistachio. The texture, this gets an A-plus. It is just creamy and stretchy. It’s just so satisfying, wow, mm.
From Hollywood to Tarzana, it’s time to try Wanderlust Creamery.
Wanderlust Creamery is an artisanal ice cream shop, and all of our flavours are inspired by travel. We’ve been in LA now for about three years. I’ll think of a place I’ve been or somewhere I wanna go. I’m inspired by childhood memories and also other peoples’ travels. When my friends come back from different places, they tell me about, “Oh, my God, I had this amazing dessert in Sardinia” or “I had this ice cream flavour in Japan.” And then I’ll do a little bit of research, and then I’ll go from there.
Caroline: Some of the the flavours include Sticky Rice and Mango inspired by Thailand, Japanese Neapolitan, Smoky Road inspired by the Pacific Northwest, Pretzel Rúgbrauð inspired by Iceland, and passionfruit and cacao inspired by Brazil.
We watched them prepare one of the seasonal flavours, Breakfast at Café Du Monde, inspired by New Orleans. For the Breakfast at Café Du Monde, they steep the ice cream base with French roast coffee and Café Du Monde chicory coffee. Then, they mix the ice cream with pieces of fried beignets.
Wow, this is really good. It is a very strong coffee flavour. If you love coffee ice cream, this is like 10 steps higher than that. The bitterness of the coffee really balances out the sweetness of the ice cream.
What I’m really here to see is the Flight Around the World. It’s a sampler that includes a variety of 14 flavours on mini cones. I’m really interested in the Ube Malted Crunch from the Philippines. Wow. Raspberry Lychee Rose Sorbet from Paris. This isn’t really citrusy. This is more fruity, I would say. It’s very floral. It’s very light on your palate, but the flavour is very strong. This is a very powerful matcha flavour, really good, really, really good.
Adrienne: Artisanal ice cream’s really big in the city, but we’re one of the few artisanal ice cream shops that are actually from LA. So I think that resonates with a lot of Angelinos.
– I’m, like, a big Yelp person, so I, like, Yelped it.
– Yeah, this place got amazing reviews.
– Yeah, it has really good reviews, and it definitely lives up to the hype, honestly. It’s really good.
– I got Ube and Violet Marshmallow. I just love all the different flavours and how it’s like around the world, and they all taste extremely good.
Adrienne: LA’s a big mixing pot of cultures, and we just wanna have something for everybody.
Caroline: And last but not least, we’re visiting one of the oldest ice cream shops in LA: Fosselman’s Ice Cream Company. If you love watching old-timey movies and visiting historical spots, this is your place. Christian Fosselman started Fosselman’s Ice Cream Company in 1919 in Waverly, Iowa. In 1921, he moved his business to sunny California. Today, the ice cream parlor still remains a family business. The minute you step inside, it’s like walking into an old-fashioned soda fountain shop that includes candy, saltwater taffy, swirled lollipops, and a bunch of historical memorabilia along the walls. And the ice cream, well, that’s literally a labour of love.
John: We make a whole huge variety of ice creams. We do probably 200-plus flavours. And so we work with chefs from country clubs, hotels, restaurants, things like that. So they will come up with unique ideas of something they might want on their menu, and then we also listen to a lot of our customers in the retail stores. Because of the diversity of LA, you know, we’ve changed a lot of flavours we never thought we’d make. So we do a lot of Asian flavours. We do taro root, lychee, black sesame, red bean. Do a lot of Latin flavours: horchata, Oaxacan chocolate, dulche de leche. So that’s kind of reflected a lot of probably the last 20, 30 years of where we’ve kinda changed or modified what we do, and then we still do all the old-fashioned, you know, English toffee, lemon custard, rum raisin, things like that. So it kind of has just evolved over time.
Caroline: All the ice cream is made in-house. Once the ice cream is ready, two employees simultaneously add and mix the additional ingredients. This keeps the ingredients like chocolate chips, cookie dough, red velvet cake, and maraschino cherries from breaking into tiny pieces.
John: My dad always used to say, “Make it so good they can’t resist it,” and I think it’s because we haven’t changed our ingredients as far as cheapening things. We’ve always stayed true to a superpremium ice cream, which is 16% butterfat, never compromised quality.
Caroline: We got a classic banana split. I figured it would be the best thing to get at a classic ice cream parlor. Classic, so good. I love when places get the classic flavours right. Like, you can’t really be a good ice cream place if you can’t get strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla perfect ’cause those are probably like the most popular flavours.
John: There’s been so many generations that come in where we’ve seen parents bringing their little kids in who end up working for us as like a second- or third-generation employee. We just remodeled for our 100th anniversary, and it’s kinda this give-and-take where people are like, “Don’t change anything.” We want it to look like it did 50 years ago, but you have to evolve with time too. But it’s that historical thing that they wanna remember what it was like when they were 10 or 15, and now they’re 50. So it’s cool that we’ve seen that transpire over the years.
Caroline: I feel like I’m on a movie set for the 1950s, 1960s. It’s kinda like being in a time machine the minute you step into the ice cream parlor.
A few days later…
So I’ve had some time to think about all the ice cream that I’ve eaten, and now it’s the hardest part because I have to pick a favourite, and I really can’t. All the places that we visited were so delicious and so unique from one another. I’m really happy I have, like, four new places to try. But we have to pick a favourite, so let’s narrow them down.
The first place we tried was Sweet Rose Creamery, and I think they did the best job incorporating the freshest ingredients into their ice cream. I’d compare their ice cream to a smoothie because of the fresh mint or citrus that they used rather than tasting like artificial flavours you can taste from store-bought ice cream.
For Mashti Malone, they definitely had the most unique ice cream flavours like saffron rose water, date, and lavender. The shop also felt so authentic to LA. It’s one of the older ones on our list, and it still has that simple, homey feel to it.
For Wanderlust, I loved their Flight Around the World. I think it’s such a genius concept to include mini ice cream cones from all over the world. It’s definitely a really fun ice cream tasting experience.
And Fosselman’s by far has the most interesting ice cream making process I’ve seen. They claim to make everything the old-fashioned way, and that’s exactly what they did in the kitchen and out at the counter when you order.
But this is the best of the best in Los Angeles, and if I had to pick a winner out of those four, it has to be Mashti Malone. So Mashti Malone’s obviously had the most unique flavours I have ever tried, and while the ice cream was sweet, all the flavours really came through, like the rose water in the saffron ice cream, or like rich cocoa in the chocolate. So I loved their specialty flavours, and I loved their classic flavours. Mashti Malone’s is such a uniquely LA shop that you can only find here.
You can get great ice cream anywhere, but if you wanna find the best in LA, you have to go to Mashti’s. But that being said, these four places are literally the best in LA, so you’re not losing if you go to any of these places, and I think you should try all of them. And the good thing is is that they’re all in different parts of LA, and if you live in LA or have been to LA, you know getting around town is really annoying, so it’s really nice that I have four new ice cream places to go to no matter where I am in LA.
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