ORLANDO, Fla. – The dog days of summer are upon us and keeping cool is the number one thing on everyone’s mind.
That’s why former President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day in 1984.
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Reagan’s proclamation described ice cream as a “nutritious and wholesome food.” Whether nutritionists agree with that is another matter, but one can’t help but associate ice cream with happy memories and good feelings, so in a world turned topsy turvy, an ice cream cone can feel pretty wholesome.
And Americans clearly love their ice cream. The International Dairy Foods Association said the average American eats about 4 gallons of ice cream a year.
So if you want to celebrate National Ice Cream Day this Sunday, here are just a few places in the Orlando area that specialize in this favorite frozen treat.
Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory – 520 N Main Street, Kissimmee
This magical ice cream place lets you choose a base (including sugar-free and lactose-free options) and some toppings and — through the sorcery of liquid nitrogen — creates a custom ice cream treat just for you. This café in downtown Kissimmee is popular for kids with its on-site bouncy houses for paying customers and birthday party packages.
Bacio — 8734 Lee Vista Blvd., Orlando
Bright colors, Instagram-worthy sundaes and Italian coffees are all on display at Bacio Ice Cream Shop in Orlando, not far from Orlando International Airport. The shop has gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free options, which means this shop is sure to please your whole crowd.
Frutamix – 253 Ocoee Apopka Rd., Ocoee
Mexican treats both savory and sweet are the stars of this tiny but popular shop in Ocoee. With your birria tacos and elotes, be sure to pick up some ice cream – they have several flavors. You can get scoops in a cup or cone, try a Fresas con Nutella or get a paleta (ice cream pop!).
Goff’s Drive in — 212 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando
This historic, family-run soft serve shop is no-frills but much loved for its sweet treats and inclusive nature. So it was a shock when someone set the little ice cream shop on fire earlier this year.
However, the owners, with the help of the community, are getting ready to reopen on Monday, July 18. It’s one day after National Ice Cream Day, but who’s to say you can’t celebrate a day late?
The Greenery Creamery — Two locations in Orlando and Sanford
This fancy ice cream shop makes locally-sourced dairy and plant-based ice cream in small batches and fancy flavors that rotate. This month, for instance, The Greenery Creamery is featuring strawberry yuzu lemonade, key lime pie and milk and cookies, to name just a few. They even have ice cream flavors for dogs!
Ice and Bites Café — 3402 Technological Ave. #220, Orlando
Taiyaki is popular at this eatery by the University of Central Florida. You can fill a fish-shaped waffle with ice cream and fun toppings like Pocky sticks and fruit skewers.
Not in the mood for taiyaki? Get your ice cream in a cup, or try an affogato cloud — ice cream and a double shot of espresso, topped with cotton candy. They have a full menu of regular food as well, along with Sno Bowls and boba tea.
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream — Multiple locations
You simply can’t leave Kelly’s off any list of Orlando ice cream shops. This mom-and-pop shop started as a food truck visiting markets and events before opening the first location in Audubon Park in 2015. They’ve expanded since then, with five shops around Orange County and in Oviedo, plus counter service at Foxtail Coffee locations too. That’s a lot of ice cream!
Speaking of which, Kelly’s features classic flavors, some originals like Cookie Monster and Banana Pudding, and a selection of seasonal featured flavors, which you can add to cups, cones and sundaes. Kelly’s says it has about 100 ice cream recipes that it rotates through throughout the year, so you never know what you’ll find when you step up to their counter.
In honor of National Ice Cream Day, Kelly’s is offering buy one, get one free scoops of ice cream in cups or cones at participating locations.
Martin’s Dreamery Creamery and Coffee House — 1945 County Rd. 419, Suite 1151, Oviedo
Martin’s is a family-owned shop that specializes in ice cream but also in baked goods (like Keto donuts!), breakfast sandwiches and coffee. So they are open early in the morning. And is it ever too early for ice cream?
Martin’s makes all its ice cream in-house, with six to eight regular flavors plus rotating seasonal flavors like Key Lime and Bithlo Mud. Dairy-free options are also available, made with coconut milk.
Mr. Freeze Ice Cream Trucks — Various locations
Does anything say summer more than chasing after a neighborhood ice cream truck? Those days are not over folks. Not if Mr. Freeze can help it.
Mr. Freeze Ice Cream Trucks feature traditional soft serve ice cream and Italian ice, which can be added to sundaes, soda floats and more. Mr. Freeze is largely available for events only, but they also do local drives around the Orlando International Airport neighborhoods, like Lake Nona, Lee Vista and the Goldenrod area.
Follow their social media sites to find out where they are going next.
Midnight Sun Ice Cream Sandwich Co. — Various locations
Handmade flavors stuffed between two fancy cookies, all made to order. An Alaska husband and his Florida wife have joined forces to create ice cream sandwich art inside a yellow truck. This is not your grandma’s ice cream, unless your grandma is into Malbec-Strawberry, or Miso Butterscotch, or goat cheese-mission fig-port swirl ice cream.
And the cookies – pumpkin seed shortbread, cashew macarons, candied orange-allspice shortbread. Yeah, they fancy.
You can find Midnight Sun at food events around Central Florida.
Nan and Pop’s Ice Cream Shop — 351 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood
What do you do when the kids fly the nest and you are on your own again? These grandparents opened up an ice cream shop and named their ice cream and bubble waffle creations after their grandkids. That’s called scoring points. They also sell “freak shakes” filled with all kinds of goodies, and sundaes featuring Selma’s Cookie Company cookies.
The Soda Fountain -- Multiple locations
A longtime College Park staple, The Soda Fountain features homemade ice cream by the scoop, sundaes, milkshakes, floats, special treats and an adult milkshake menu called “The Blacklist.” The Soda Fountain now has a second location off East Michigan Street in the Conway area too.
On Sunday for National Ice Cream Day, The Soda Fountain is offering free scoop of ice cream with the purchase of a single or double-scoop cup or cone, from noon to 4 p.m.
Wafu — 3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando
The News 6 Florida Foodie featured Wafu before they opened their new permanent space on the second floor of East End Market. Wafu specializes in soft serve in taiyaki cones, but they have waffle cones too, and fancy toppings like mochi, Pocky and Matcha Powder.
You can also get Taiyaki with savory and sweet fillings too.
West Orange Creamery — 1575 Maguire Rd. #101, Ocoee
Everything about this place in Ocoee screams old-timey soda fountain, down to the wood accents, the lighting, the big mirror, and the fact that they sell cherry lime rickey phosphates, made by a “soda jerk.” They also sell egg creams which, for folks up north, that’s pretty exciting.
Of course, this is a story about ice cream, so let’s touch on that. All your classic ice cream treats are here, with free “Jimmies” for the asking. They also sell special, extra fancy milkshakes worthy of the ‘Gram.
Wondermade — 214 E. 1st St., Sanford
The tagline of this shop in Downtown Sanford is “Love and Marshmallows,” but they also sell handmade ice cream too which can go well with fancy marshmallows. Wondermade makes regular and vegan ice creams in classic and not-so-classic flavors, like cornbread or maple bacon or — here’s a surprise — S’more.
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