628 Harrold St, FW. 817-782-9670. Noon-9:30pm Sun-Thu, noon-10:30pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
5724 Monahans Av, FW. 682-312-9115. 10am-10pm Mon-Thu, 10am-11pm Fri-Sat, 10am-9pm Sun. All major credit cards accepted.
The trouble with traditional ice cream stores is that the entire place has to be kept as cold as a refrigerator to stop the merchandise from melting, as anyone who has walked into a Baskin-Robbins or a Cold Stone Creamery can attest. Recently, two high-end chains that sell the cold, sweet stuff have opened shops in Fort Worth which promise both good ice cream and a place where you can sit and eat it without requiring a jacket in the heat of summer. They deliver on that promise, for a price.
The Southern California-based Creamistry does it with liquid nitrogen. You can choose an ice cream base of regular or organic cream, or sorbet or coconut milk if you’re keeping it vegan. After you choose your flavors and toppings, your server pours liquid nitrogen over the base, creating a photogenically billowing cloud of smoke that will enthrall the kids. (If you stand in the fog, it’ll also give you a gentle, cooling sensation.) When this ice cream comes out of that, it’s hard as a rock, so best give it a minute or two to let it soften up a bit (or order a milkshake — a Nitroshake, they call it — that can be enjoyed right away). The ice cream’s hardness has its upside, since less of it is likely to wind up melted in the bottom of your cup when you’re done. The sauces on offer can either be drizzled on top of the confection or swirled into it, so if you want veins of marshmallow cream or kiwi sauce running through your scoop, you’re in luck.
Regular scoop $5.95
Large scoop $8.50
As far as exotic flavors go, there’s matcha or Thai iced tea, if you’re in an adventurous mood. The toppings include enough breakfast cereals to stock the shelves at your supermarket. The scoops here are too big to go into a cone, but for an upcharge, you can score a waffle cone, a brownie in the cup along with the ice cream, or simply a whole bowl made out of chocolate. My espresso scoop featured chocolate curls whose abundance and uniform size were impressive. The Fort Worth location was the first in North Texas (others are now in operation), and it fits in nicely with its Golden State brethren MidiCi and 85°C Bakery Café on the Left Bank, which perhaps we should call “Little Malibu” instead.
Maybe you’re not impressed with an ice cream shop that sells only ice cream. In that case, you may want to hit the gelato place known as Amorino. This is also a chain, but it’s based in Paris. There are only 13 locations in the entire United States, though other shops appear as far away as Riyadh, Busan, and Réunion Island. At Amorino, a single scoop of gelato can contain an unlimited number of flavors, and the server will painstakingly carve the scoop into the shape of a flower and top it with a gelato macaron. Better yet, they’ll bake an entire waffle for you with three scoops of gelato, whipped cream, and sauce. (The dish is called La Bella.) The Fort Worth location is located at the Shops at Clearfork, because where else would it be?
Pear and gianduja tart $4.85
Classic cone $6.25
La Bella $9.90
The gelato quality is not as even as a place like Paciugo. My chocolate gelato and Sicilian orange sorbet scoop was a good marriage, but the coffee gelato I ordered later had an off-putting, weird burned note up front. I have better news to report from the Italian pastries: traditional panettone, crostata with Morello cherries. My pear and gianduja tart didn’t give much sense of the fruit, but the crust was the ideal amount of crumbly. The accompanying macaron was a flavor bomb of chocolate gelato between the delicate layers of cookie. When the weather gets cold, the shop also offers 10 different varieties of hot chocolate and even more kinds of Italian coffees.
It’s a pity that these shops can’t pass on their savings on air-conditioning costs to us in the form of lower prices. You’ll pay through the nose for the scoops here. Then again, ice cream is a treat, and if you believe in splurging on little things, the ice cream at Creamistry and Amorino will remind you to enjoy being rich or let you feel rich for a while.