Nothing beats the summertime sun better than a frozen treat. But don't just settle for the first thing you pull out of the freezer case at the grocer. There are several local places serving up some unique and delicious variations on your warm-weather favorites that are guaranteed to cool you off and please your palette.

Frozen custard is as much a St. Louis culinary staple as toasted ravioli, and no place does it better than the venerable Ted Drewes, which has been turning out chilled goodness for the better part of eight decades now. Ted Drewes always has been known to come up with some interesting and tasty flavors, and this year they've outdone themselves with two new creations: Lemon Crumb, a citrus and graham cracker double-threat; and the S'More, a take on the campfire classic featuring chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker. If you develop a taste for these this summer, not to worry, they'll be available all year round.

Ted Drewes, 6726 Chippewa St., 481-2652,

Webster Groves favorite Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream is getting seriously creative with its concoctions. According to owner Beckie Jacobs, the shop has started an in-house program called Leap of Faith in response to some of their customer's unique flavor requests. Every couple of weeks--or whenever inspiration strikes--Jacobs and crew whip up a small amount of custom ice cream that veers a little bit off the beaten flavor path. A small amount (about a gallon and a half or so) is made available by the scoop, as well as by the quart, for take-home use. Some recent concoctions have included a poundcake trifle (chunks of cake with strawberry and lime), lavender blueberry and a spicy peanut butter with bacon, chocolate and chipotle. Traditionalists shouldn't despair, though, the classics are still available.

Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream, 8130 Big Bend Blvd., 962-2700,

At Cielo in the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, pastry chef Peter Whitely is also taking some similarly flavorful liberties with gelatos and sorbets. And while they always stock the stand-bys like chocolate and vanilla, Whitley and his team have come up with some uniquely delicious alternatives, from cappuccino rum and black forest cake gelatos to a red wine and pink peppercorn sorbet. Some of these are the result of brainstorming sessions between Whitely and Cielo's executive chef Fabrizio Schenardi. But many, like the wine and peppercorn combo, have resulted from Whitley challenging his staff via 'mystery baskets,' where periodically someone is chosen to receive several mystery ingredients from their kitchen peers and come up with something delicious.

Cielo, 999 N. Second St., 881-5800

On the frozen yogurt side of the fence, local favorite FroYo is heading into sumer with a panapoly of new flavors and promotions. New taste sensations will include Mayan Mango, Sea Salt Caramel, Mocha Choa-latte and Lotta Colada, and there will also be new non-fat shakes ad smoothies available. Area FroYos also will be featuring the ‘Froyo Mix Fusion,’ where customers turn over their creations to a professional Froyo ‘mixologist’ who'll turn the yogurt and toppings into a solid concrete-style dessert.

FroYo, various locations,

With cool creamy and delectable options like these readily available around town, you may never chase down the neighborhood ice-cream truck again!




Here are a few more unique and chilly options to beat the heat:

Pastaria: The latest eatery from chef Gerard Craft has garnered a fan base for its gelatos, as well as its hand-made pastas. Currently, there are 11 ever-changing flavors available to diners, and we're told that pints will soon be available to go.

7734 Forsyth Blvd., 862-6603,

The Gelateria: The authentic Italian desserts at this South City spot are made in-house with local milk from the Chester Dairy Company.

3197 S. Grand Blvd., 776-3500,

Frostbite Gourmet Ice Cream: Frostbite doesn't do retail yet, but they'll provide fresh ice cream for your private event, served via pedal tricycle and available for trike delivery in the Lafayette Square area. Their ice cream is made the old-school way, with wooden churns and rock salt.


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