Updated April 2022
When the sun is shining that can only mean one thing: I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! But you don’t need to visit Italy to get the good stuff – Here is the scoop on the best ice cream here in Northern Ireland, according to a professional ice-cream eater aka Jillian Henning. Take your lick from the cream of the crop.
Northern Ireland Ice Cream Has Never Tasted Better
Famous and award-winning ice cream is the specialty at Morelli’s with over 40 flavours and 100 years of family history, a visit to Morellis at the North Coast is a must.
Their delicious ice cream is made using fresh Double Cream and butter from the historic Ballyrashane Creamery. These rich dairy ingredients are created using milk from cows that graze in the fields of Northern Ireland’s spectacular Causeway Coast.
My favourite location is Morelli’s Portstewart’s Promenade. Morelli’s is right in the heart of everything, and their ice cream certainly won’t disappoint. I have a tradition that I always get a special sundae purchased for me by my dad on my birthday.
My favourite go-to ice cream is either the Dime or Raspberry Ripple flavour or the Morelli’s “Yellow Man” Sundae composed of honeycomb and vanilla ice cream, marshmallows, honeycomb pieces, toffee fudge pieces, caramel sauce, and fresh cream.
There are other shops located across Northern Ireland – visit their website for more details.
Launched in 1982, Maud’s is another one of Northern Ireland’s most popular ice-cream parlours, creating award-winning flavours of ice cream with supreme ingredients. Maud’s is one of the largest producers of dairy ice cream with their products selling to over 300 stockists across Ireland.
The most famous flavour being Poor Bear’s Delight (honeycomb) ice cream, the parlour has many different flavours and won countless awards. My favourite flavour is a close tie between Choccy Poor Bear’s delight and Vanilla fudge. No point trying to decide, just get one scoop of each!
A chef by trade, Northern Ireland’s own Aaron Heasley launched the luxury gelato on the back of studying a course at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna.
Moon Gelato is going from strength to strength and the product is now attracting the attention of leading gourmet retailers such as Cypress Avenue, Hill street Hatch, SPAR, French Village, Montalto Estate, and of course, where Moon Gelato originated; The Fat Gherkin in Moira.
The Chocolate Salted Caramel is out of this world, don’t just take my world for it, try it yourself at their regular spot in Common Market Belfast.
Graham’s Ice cream
With spots in Rathfriland, Newcastle, and Dromore, Graham’s Ice cream is a County Down institution.
If you are visiting the family-owned spot, they offer a wide range of delicious artisan flavours, but their traditional soft, creamy and smooth vanilla is hard to beat.
Cream of the Coast
New to the North Coast at Magheracross Carpark between Portrush and Bushmills, Cream of the Coast sells Real Dairy Whipped Ice-Cream. They supply ground coffee from micro-roastery Waringstown coffee and other treats and goodies from local suppliers.
Their whipped ice-cream sundaes are spectacular – the nicest whipped ice cream I have ever tasted and the product speaks for itself when the line to get served is halfway across the car park!
Situated on the promenade in Newcastle and owned by husband and wife duo Simon and Jo-Ann, Lick Gelato is the perfect spot to stop by after a trip to the seaside or after a hike up the nearby Mourne Mountains.
They offer a great range of ice cream flavours including Biscoff, Jammie Dodger, and Oreo. Lick also supports local businesses such as Refuge Chocolate, Amarc Catering, Black Box Donuts, Whisk a mallow, The Little Magic Ball Company and Mourne Brownies.
My favourite flavour is their award-winning Toffee. Lick Gelato scooped a gold medal and trophy at the National Ice Cream Championships 2021 and won gold and silver at the National Ice Cream Championships 2022, run by the Ice Cream Alliance (ICA), the sector’s UK trade association. Their toffee ice cream, raspberry sorbet and chocolate gelato beat all entrants in the ice cream competition which has been running for nearly 80 years. The flavours gets 5/5 from me!
Originated in 1954 Kilrea by founder Walter Mullins, Mullin’s first tub of vanilla was made with quality Irish milk and cream.
The company’s products include homemade luxury ice cream, specialty ice cream cake desserts and sorbets for independent scoop parlours, major retailers, and food services.
My recommendation for a take-home treat is Mullin’s Mallowy Chocolate Chunks Ice Cream tub as the Belgian chocolate is so luxurious especially teamed with the marshmallow chunks.
Remember ice cream is not only for the summer period, it is the perfect treat any season. You can bring out the best of the winter coldness by having a big scoop of your favourite flavour with a slice of hot pie. The bigger the better I say.