If you’re in Columbia, South Carolina, and looking for a sweet treat to beat the heat, you won’t have to look far. Columbia is home to some of the best ice cream shops in the state, with a variety of flavors and styles to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for classic vanilla or something a little more unique, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Chasing your sweet tooth in the a.m.? Check out my guide to the best donuts in Columbia!
What’s the best ice cream shop in Columbia?
Some of the most popular ice cream spots in Columbia include Sweet Cream Co., Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop, and Zesto of West Columbia. Sweet Cream Co. is known for its creative flavors and high-quality ingredients, while Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop offers a wide variety of gelato flavors that are sure to please. Zesto of West Columbia is a classic fast food joint that also serves up some of the best ice cream around.
If you’re looking for something a little different, you might want to try some of the unique ice cream flavors available in Columbia. From lavender honey to bourbon bacon, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re torn between ice cream and frozen yogurt, you might want to consider the pros and cons of each before making your decision.
Related Article: The Best Restaurants in Columbia!
Popular Ice Cream Spots in Columbia
If you’re looking for a sweet treat in Columbia, South Carolina, you won’t have to look far. There are plenty of popular ice cream spots in the area to satisfy your cravings. Here are some of the top spots to check out:
Sweet Cream Co.
Sweet Cream Co. is one of the most popular ice cream shops in Columbia, and for good reason. They offer a variety of unique flavors that you won’t find anywhere else, like lavender honey and salted caramel.
Sweet Cream Company also offers a Boozy Shake of the Month, featuring a different flavor each month with a shot of alcohol mixed in. Ice cream isn’t just for kids! Who wouldn’t like an adult milk shake?
They also use high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients to make their ice cream. Some of their unique flavors include:
|Honey Lavender||A floral and sweet ice cream with a hint of honey|
|Cinnamon Roll||A cinnamon ice cream with chunks of cinnamon roll mixed in|
|Thai Tea||A creamy and spicy ice cream with flavors of Thai tea|
|Blueberry Cheesecake||A rich and creamy cheesecake ice cream with swirls of blueberry sauce|
For a twist on a classic dessert, try the banana split shake at Sweet Cream Company. This indulgent treat features vanilla ice cream blended with fresh banana, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of a banana split in a drinkable form.
Sweet Cream Company offers custom ice cream cakes with a variety of flavors and toppings. If you’re looking for something a little different, this is the place to go.
Not only do they make some of the best ice cream in Columbia, but they’re one of my top picks the best places to get dessert in Columbia.
The Baked Bear
If you’re in the mood for something a little more indulgent, The Baked Bear is the place to go. They specialize in ice cream sandwiches made with fresh-baked cookies. You can choose your own cookie and ice cream flavors to create a custom sandwich that’s perfect for you.
Chocolate chip cookies are a popular choice, but you can also try oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, or sugar cookies.
They also offer other treats like brownies and hot fudge sundaes.
For a thick and creamy treat, try an ice cream shake. The Baked Bear offers a variety of flavors, including classic chocolate and vanilla, as well as more unique options like “mint chocolate chip cookie dough” and “bear batter”.
You can even create your own custom shake with your favorite ice cream and mix-ins.
Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop
For a taste of Italy, head to Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop. They specialize in authentic Italian gelato made with fresh, natural ingredients. They offer a variety of flavors, from classic chocolate and vanilla to more unique options like blueberry cheesecake and hazelnut. Other fun flavors include:
- Banana Nutella
- Stracciatella (chocolate chip)
They also offer sorbet for those who prefer a dairy-free option. For a unique twist, try their “brioche con gelato” – a warm, sweet bun filled with gelato.
Zesto of West Columbia
Zesto of West Columbia is a classic ice cream shop that’s been around for over 60 years. They offer a variety of ice cream flavors. My personal favorite is Chocolate Thunder (chocolate ice cream with chunks of brownie and fudge mixed in).
They also offer other treats like hot dogs, italian ice, and burgers. If you’re looking for a nostalgic experience, this is the place to go.
LICK Ice Cream
LICK Ice Cream is a newer addition to the Columbia ice cream scene, but it’s quickly become a favorite. They offer a variety of unique flavors like honey lavender and goat cheese and fig. They also offer vegan and dairy-free options for those with dietary restrictions.
For a portable ice cream treat, try an ice cream sandwich. LICK Ice Cream offers a variety of flavors, including “brown sugar bourbon” and “strawberry basil”. You can even choose your own cookie flavor for a truly custom experience.
Marble Slab Creamery
Marble Slab Creamery is a chain ice cream shop that offers a variety of flavors and mix-ins. You can choose your own ice cream and mix-ins to create a custom treat that’s perfect for you. They also offer ice cream cakes and other treats for special occasions.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream is another chain ice cream shop that’s popular in Columbia. They offer a variety of classic flavors as well as more unique options like cotton candy and maple bacon. They also offer sundaes, shakes, and other treats.
Indulge in a decadent sundae at Kaminsky’s, a dessert cafe with locations in Columbia and Charleston. They offer a variety of sundaes, including “the kitchen sink” – a massive dessert featuring eight scoops of ice cream, eight toppings, and whipped cream.
One popular option for adults is the adult milkshake. These milkshakes are made with alcohol and come in a variety of flavors. At Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe, you can try the Irish Car Bomb milkshake, made with Guinness, Bailey’s, and Jameson.
They also offer a variety of bundt cakes and crumbl cookies to pair with your ice cream.a
|Ice Cream Shop||Specialties|
|Sweet Cream Co.||Unique flavors, locally-sourced ingredients|
|The Baked Bear||Ice cream sandwiches made with fresh-baked cookies|
|Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop||Authentic Italian gelato, dairy-free options|
|Zesto of West Columbia||Classic ice cream shop experience|
|Lick Ice Cream||Unique flavors, vegan and dairy-free options|
|Marble Slab Creamery||Customizable ice cream treats|
|Bruster’s Real Ice Cream||Classic and unique flavors, sundaes and shakes|
Customer Service in Ice Cream Shops
One way to gauge the quality of customer service at an ice cream shop is to look at online reviews. Yelp and TripAdvisor are great resources for finding reviews from real customers.
Pay attention to comments about staff friendliness, speed of service, and overall experience. Keep in mind that some negative reviews may be outliers, so it’s important to read a variety of reviews to get a well-rounded perspective.
Another way to assess customer service is to observe the staff in action. Are they welcoming and friendly when you walk in the door?
Do they take the time to answer your questions and make recommendations? Are they efficient in taking orders and delivering your ice cream? These are all important factors to consider.
If you’re looking for a shop with exceptional customer service, consider Sweet Cream Company. With a 4.5-star rating on Yelp and rave reviews about staff friendliness and efficiency, this shop is a top pick for many locals and visitors alike.
Additionally, their commitment to using local and organic ingredients adds to the overall experience.
The Art of Making Ice Cream
The best ice cream is made with high-quality ingredients and a lot of care. Whether it’s handmade or homemade, the process of making ice cream is a labor of love that requires patience, precision, and a little bit of creativity.
One of the keys to making great ice cream is using fresh, high-quality ingredients. This includes fresh cream, milk, and eggs, as well as any additional flavorings or mix-ins. Many artisanal ice cream makers use local and seasonal ingredients to create unique and delicious flavors that reflect the flavors of the region.
Another important factor in making great ice cream is the process of churning. This is the process of mixing the ice cream base while it freezes, which helps to create a smooth and creamy texture.
There are many different methods of churning, including using a hand-cranked churn, an electric churn, or even a stand mixer with an attachment.
When it comes to making homemade ice cream, there are many different recipes and techniques to choose from.
Some recipes call for cooking the ice cream base on the stove before churning, while others use a no-cook method that involves mixing the ingredients together and churning.
There are also many different flavors and mix-ins to choose from, ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous flavors like lavender or bacon.
Frozen Yogurt Vs Ice Cream
When it comes to frozen treats, two of the most popular options are frozen yogurt and ice cream.
While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two.
Frozen yogurt is made from yogurt, milk, and sugar. It is lower in fat and calories than ice cream and often contains probiotics, which can be beneficial for gut health.
On the other hand, ice cream is made from cream, milk, and sugar. It is higher in fat and calories than frozen yogurt and does not contain probiotics.
Taste and Texture
Frozen yogurt has a tangy taste due to the yogurt, and it has a lighter, smoother texture than ice cream. Ice cream, on the other hand, has a rich, creamy taste and a denser texture.
Both frozen yogurt and ice cream can be dressed up with a variety of toppings, including fruit, candy, and syrups.
However, frozen yogurt is often paired with healthier toppings like fresh fruit and granola, while ice cream is often paired with indulgent toppings like hot fudge and whipped cream.
Both frozen yogurt and ice cream can be served as soft serve, which is a popular option at many frozen treat shops. Soft serve is made by churning the frozen treat at a high speed, which adds air and gives it a lighter, fluffier texture.
|Frozen Yogurt||Ice Cream|
|Composition||Made from yogurt, milk, and sugar||Made from cream, milk, and sugar|
|Fat Content||Lower in fat than ice cream||Higher in fat than frozen yogurt|
|Calories||Lower in calories than ice cream||Higher in calories than frozen yogurt|
|Probiotics||Contains probiotics||Does not contain probiotics|
|Taste||Tangy||Rich and creamy|
|Texture||Lighter and smoother||Denser|
|Toppings||Often paired with healthier toppings||Often paired with indulgent toppings|
|Soft Serve||Can be served as soft serve||Can be served as soft serve|
The choice between frozen yogurt and ice cream comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a healthier option or want a tangier taste, frozen yogurt may be the way to go.
Ice cream may be the better choice if you’re in the mood for something indulgent and creamy.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top-rated ice cream places in Columbia, SC?
According to Yelp and TripAdvisor, some of the top-rated ice cream places in Columbia, SC are Sweet Cream Company, The Baked Bear, Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop, Zesto of West Columbia, and Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe. These places offer a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
What are the most popular ice cream flavors in Columbia, SC?
The most popular ice cream flavors in Columbia, SC are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. However, many ice cream shops in the area offer unique and creative flavors such as lavender honey, blueberry cheesecake, and bourbon pecan.
Where can I find the creamiest ice cream in Columbia, SC?
If you’re looking for the creamiest ice cream in Columbia, SC, you should check out Sweet Cream Company. Their ice cream is made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients, and they offer a variety of flavors that are sure to please.
Are there any unique ice cream shops in Lexington, SC?
Yes, there are a few unique ice cream shops in Lexington, SC. One of the most popular is Sweet Pea’s Homemade Ice Cream, which offers a variety of flavors made with fresh, local ingredients.
What are the best ice cream options near the Sandhills area of Columbia, SC?
If you’re in the Sandhills area of Columbia, SC, you should check out Pelican’s SnoBalls for a refreshing treat. They offer a variety of flavors of shaved ice, as well as ice cream and other desserts. Another great option is Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, which offers a variety of classic and unique ice cream flavors.