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Norwegian chai at Izzy’s Ice Cream

Rick Nelson

Lara Hammel and Jeff Sommers turn out a first-rate coffee ice cream. But they also know their way around chai, cleverly boosting its mellow flavor with crumbs from cardamom toast. $6.02 single scoop, $8.44 double scoop.
1100 S. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-206-3356 and 2034 Marshall Av., St. Paul, 651-603-1458,

Salted caramel swirl at Sweet Science Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Swirl ice cream at Sweet Science Ice Cream in St. Paul
Salted Caramel Swirl ice cream at Sweet Science Ice Cream in St. Paul

Rick Nelson

Yes, salted caramel is ubiquitous, but Ashlee Olds makes her spectacular version stand out by folding prodigious amounts of a salty (it’s French grey sea salt) caramel sauce into vanilla bean ice cream. Seriously, wow. $5.50, $8.25.
1360 N. Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul,

Stracciatella at Sonny’s Cafe

Rick Nelson

Ron Siron and Carrie Gustafson are, without question, the region’s top gelato makers. Nowhere is that prowess more evident than in this sumptuous vanilla bean gelato peppered with finely shaved chocolate. $4.75, $8.75.

3403 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-824-3868,

Sweet Basil Vanilla at LaLa Homemade Ice Cream

Rick Nelson

Owner Jennifer Lisberg blends fragrant, pale green basil sorbet into a sumptuous vanilla ice cream, a refreshing and ingenious combination that perfectly embodies the essence of Minnesota summers. $5, $7.
3146 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-824-5252,

Raspberry Chocolate Chip at Sebastian Joe’s

Rick Nelson

There are a handful of “always-and-everyday” flavors at this 34-years-young marvel, including the don’t-miss “Pavarotti” (caramel-bananas-chocolate), but warm weather seems to dictate fealty to this tasty beauty. $4, $5.40.
4321 Upton Av. S., Mpls., 612-926-7916 and 1007 W. Franklin Av., Mpls., 612-870-0065,

Rhubarb at Pumphouse Creamery

Rick Nelson

There’s a reason why this tart-sweet beauty is Barb Zapzalka’s bestselling seasonal flavor: It’s fantastic. And it couldn’t be simpler, just pieces of local, organic rhubarb, swirled into her sublime Madagascar vanilla base. $4.32, $6.91.
4754 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., 612-825-2021,

Vanilla-lavender at Grandpa’s Ice Cream

Rick Nelson

Don’t let anyone convince you that vanilla is the, well, vanilla choice, because vanilla is the bedrock of all ice creams. Still, vanilla is even better when it’s dressed up with a hint of breezy, summery lavender. $3.80, $6.95.
1258 E. Moore Lake Dr., Fridley, 763-572-2078,

Butterbeer at Honey & Mackie’s

Rick Nelson

Of all the kid-friendly — and kid-at-heart-friendly — flavors in the case (black licorice, cookie dough), the biggest eye-catcher is this sweet, honey-colored confection, powered with bits of butterscotch candy. $4.75, $5.50.
16725 County Road 24, Plymouth, 763-225-6682,

Black at Milkjam Creamery

Rick Nelson

Chef Sameh Wadi and his crew create the Twin Cities’ most intensely colorful frozen treats. Their summit is this dark-as-night ode to all things chocolate (and black cocoa). It’s dairy-free, but you’d never know it. $4.05, $7.83.
2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-424-4668,