A comfort food: everyone has one. This is the food you eat to help you feel better in difficult times. My comfort food relaxes me when I’m stressed, makes me feel less homesick, and best of all, is available almost everywhere.
From Magnum bars to chocolate sundaes, little gelato shops or fancy cafes, ice cream is pretty much universal. The certainty of ice cream is something that comforts me when I’m having troubles on the road or feeling just a little too far away from home. I’ve even ventured out in a snowstorm before to get some cookies and cream! That being said, I have quite a few ice cream stories and recommendations…
Searching for Ice Cream in Paris
On my last night in France, I was staying with my travel buddy in his aunt’s house, in a suburb of Paris. After dinner, I suggested we take a walk. As we wandered out of the house, I suggested we grab some dessert. I was hoping to find a cute ice cream shop, but no such luck. Paris’ suburbs are mostly residential, with a few small grocery stores and a couple really large malls. Almost everything was closed as we walked through the town square, so we took another street up to a huge mall in the area. The only thing open was McDonald’s. My travel buddy, being French, had no problem ordering a vanilla cone, but I was determined. I flew across an ocean, for god’s sake. If I was going to get mediocre soft serve, it should at least be French.
We ended up walking back to where we came, and managed to find a small corner store that was still open. I peeked in the door and voila! There was a small cooler with ice cream bars. I chose a Magnum bar (one of my all-time favorites), paid, and left. We managed to get lost getting back to the house, but I didn’t really mind wandering for a little bit more with the sunset in the sky and frozen creaminess in my hand.
Ice Cream : Vienna Edition
I’ve been to Vienna more than I have been to any other foreign city. I’ve walked around the First District more times than I can count, most times with my mom and sister in tow. I remember many occasions when that walking gets me hungry. After walking around all day, I always want ice cream.
There are a few famous ice cream shops in Vienna, but my all-time favorite is at Schwedenplatz, close to the city center. It’s immediately visible out of the U-bahn station, most likely crowded with people. It’s called Eissalon, and once you make your way to the front, anything’s good to order. You can either sit in the cafe or out in the square, in the company of everyone from toddlers to elderly couples enjoying their ice cream.
I don’t think there is a fiercer loyalty than than the loyalty you have to your local ice cream shop. I’ve been to ice cream shops from Singapore to London, and still I keep coming back to Bobtail’s ice cream company, about a block away from my house in Chicago. Their ice cream is all made in-store and is creamy and delicious. Some of their more off-beat flavors include Cubby Crunch (with rainbow sprinkles, cookies, and toffee) and Signature Sunset (merlot ice cream with dark chocolate chips). I’ve been there in the dead of winter, and in the middle of the night. This is a must for anyone in Chicago!
What’s your favorite ice cream place? Have you had any interesting experiences involving ice cream?