Once a cause of conflict between immigrant and local ice-cream makers, there’s now a huge selection of both Italian-style, artisinal and local offerings across the city. From traditional gelatos and frozen yoghurt to popsicles and vegan scoops, here are my top spots to get your ice-cream fix in and around Amsterdam. But beware: most retailers are only open from March to October.
If you’ve spent more than a few hours in the city, you’ve probably already spotted this popular ice-cream chain. Although it may be a somewhat obvious choice, you really can’t beat the deliciousness and flavour selection of this artisanal ice-cream maker. IJscuypje started as one small shop near the Albert Cuypmarkt and has quickly expanded to become one of Amsterdam’s most ubiquitous ice-cream shops with 15 stores and stalls across the city. The brand makes their ice cream fresh on location with delicious ingredients using traditional Dutch recipes. If you’re watching the waistline, they have a good selection of sorbets and sugar-free options, too.
While frozen yoghurt seems to have a reputation as ice cream’s not-so-popular cousin, Frozz is making it, well, cool again. Opened in 2010, Frozz was the first to introduce America’s frozen yoghurt hype to Amsterdam. Their 100% natural yoghurt is made using milk from Dutch cows and is frozen on site. Although the sweet treat is as healthy as you can get with less than 100 calories per cup, the variety of toppings like fruit, nuts and chocolate are all too tempting. They now have three permanent locations in Amsterdam, including at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and can often be found at major festivals and events.
The country's first popsicle bar is on a mission to positively change the country's ice-cream landscape in a socially responsible manner. IJsmanschap serves handcrafted ice cream on sticks using completely natural ingredients. While some of you may scoff at the thought of eating an ice lolly if you’re over the age of eight, they’re making a comeback in all the hippest cities like New York and Tokyo. Try one of their bestselling flavours (chocolate hazelnut, white chocolate with raspberry, strawberry and coconut mango) or sample a limited-edition offering.
Van Spilbergenstraat 2H
Serving the tastiest ice cream in Haarlem (and possibly in the Netherlands) is IJssalon Garrone. This family-run ice-cream parlour has been making ice cream since 1949 using traditional Italian recipes and only the freshest ingredients. As well as all the usual flavours, give your taste buds a treat with their more unexpected combinations, such as lychee, gooseberry and olive. If that’s not enough to convince you, the ice-cream maker has also won numerous awards in the ice-cream world – and the experts are very rarely wrong.
Grote Houtstraat 179, Haarlem
Van der Linde
Vying for the title of best ice cream in the country, Van der Linde serves – wait for it – just plain old natural-flavoured ice cream. And nothing else. But this ain’t no Mr Whippy; it’s a soft, velvety sugar cloud of frozen whipped cream. Choose from cones, cups or waffle ice-cream sandwiches, each in three sizes. A long line regularly snakes out the door of this narrow, generations-old shop in Amsterdam’s city centre, so be prepared to wait.
Yes, yes I know the title says five ice-cream spots but there's just so many good ones to choose from! Honourable mentions include De Pijp’s Massimo Gelato (for its authentic Italian recipes and ingredients, local organic milk, artisanal techniques); Monte Pelmo (for its interesting flavours such as lemon cheesecake, stroopwafel, blood orange and limoncello); NICE (organic Dutch lollies made with only fruit, water, tea or juice and a little cane sugar or honey– great for kids); Juicebrothers x Van Leeuwen (Amsterdam’s very first vegan ice-cream bar imported straight from New York).