Get the scoop on the SoCal ice cream brands to crave

Sweet Rose Creamery's Caffe Latte Chip
Maya Wong

A very cool part of my job entails scouting the best the West has to offer—including ice cream. I eat a lot of ice cream, so I was excited to see four of Southern California’s most popular ice cream brands at the Outpost Trade Show in Los Angeles earlier this month. I made my way through each brand’s offerings like any official researcher would do. The verdict? I’d happily make a trip to L.A. any weekend just to have another scoop each of these four flavors.

Caffe Latte Chip by Sweet Rose Creamery

Santa Monica’s Sweet Rose Creamery takes you right back to your favorite childhood ice cream shop. Simple, no-fuss, quality ice cream in all the classic flavors: vanilla, chocolate, cookies and cream, mint chip, and more. They marry this sweet nostalgia with a modern artisanal, local-seasonal sensibility: each batch is handcrafted daily using ingredients from the Santa Monica farmers’ market, located only a mile away. Their Caffe Latte Chip has delicate chocolate shavings mixed in (because who wants to gnaw on frozen-hard chocolate chips in their ice cream?) and a silky-smooth coffee base.

Roasted Strawberry & Toasted White Chocolate by Salt & Straw

There are Salt & Straw locations across the West, but only the Southern California shops offer Roasted Strawberry & Toasted White Chocolate. This fruity flavor is everything you crave from the reputed quirky ice cream brand, probably the closest you’ll get to a real-life Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The strawberries come from Oxnard, California, and are roasted to release their sweetness, while the white chocolate is toasted until it gets perfect caramelized.

Choco Choco from Le Cafe de la Plage Malibu

The best chocolate ice creams aren’t child’s play. They should taste like Choco Choco from Le Cafe de la Plage Malibu—intensely deep and dark. The regular and vegan ice creams at this cafe/ice cream shop hybrid draw a crowd of SoCal locals, who drive to the Westside for the shop’s popular black vanilla with activated charcoal, too.

Almond/Cashew Milk Soft Serve by Yogaurt

I have to hand it to Yoga-urt for making an organic soft serve that satisfies both my vegan friends and me, someone who is admittedly skeptical of non-dairy ice cream. Instead of traditional cow’s milk, the base is made in-house with an almond and cashew base. It’s not as heavy as typical frozen yogurt, and is swirled with flavors like strawberry, green tea, blueberry, and Thai iced tea. Bliss is but a chocolate shell, chewy-soft mochi, and fresh-cut strawberry trio of toppings away. Find their shops in Glendale and Echo Park.

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