Once upon a time, getting a Mr Whippy with a flake (and perhaps even some strawberry sauce) would be enough to keep kids happy on a sunny day.

But now, with social media opening our eyes to a myriad of exotic flavours and stylishly presented desserts, ice cream parlours have had to up their game.

HeraldScotland:

One of the latest firms to tap into this demand for gourmet ice cream is Minted, a high-end ice cream parlour on Byres Road in Glasgow’s West End. It opened last summer -after a slight delay caused by the Covid pandemic- and is owned by brothers Christopher and Tom Glancey.

“I think my childhood self would be very pleased if I told him I owned an ice cream shop,” laughs 30-year-old Tom, “as I remember the feeling of joy whenever I got handed a cone as a kid.”

But while running an ice cream parlour might be the stuff of childhood dreams, the target audience for Minted goes far beyond excitable kids. “People are drinking less and consumer habits have changed,” explains Tom. “We want to be a destination: a place for the local community to stop in, for students to hang out with friends, for people to come on a date night.

“That is a key ambition. Lots of people now go for dinner on Byres Road or Ashton Lane but then come to us to get their dessert.”

But while Scottish summers don’t always guarantee ice cream-friendly conditions, Tom insists it is becoming less of a seasonal product.

“People will go and treat themselves to ice cream on a Friday night, no matter what the weather, and that’s being accelerated by deliveries through apps like Just Eat. 

“The impact of social media is massive. Before this business I didn’t realise how impactful it actually was, but if an influencer or a food blogger puts a picture of our product on their page we can be mobbed for the rest of the weekend as a result.

HeraldScotland:

“A café round the corner from us got 250,000 views from a TikTok video of their pancakes. People are interested in the origin behind their food these days, so we make TikToks of our ice cream being made to try and drum up some excitement.

“There are trends we have seen overseas in America and down south -especially in London- where making ice cream has become theatre in the way you dress it up. Whether it is wrapping it in candyfloss or dipping it into sauce, customers want to try the next big thing and then post it online.

“We have 18 flavours in the cabinet but we regularly change them, as well as what’s in our soft serve machine, so even if a customer comes in a week after their first visit they should experience totally new flavours to try.”

The soft-serve ice cream machine is Minted’s version of a Mr Whippy, but with Jersey cream and Madagascan vanilla pods used as a base for ever-changing flavours. It has proved a hit: and an upcoming collaboration with Glaswegin to create alcoholic versions will cement the grown-up revival of a childhood staple.

www.mintedicecream.com

Milk Barn, Glen Farm, Falkirk

HeraldScotland:

We are all increasingly interested in the provenance of the food that we eat. And at the Milk Barn in Falkirk, set in the middle of rolling countryside, you don’t have to worry about the carbon footprint of your ice cream. It could hardly be fresher – coming straight from the milk of the cows in the surrounding fields and then being churned at the farm.

www.themilkbarn.co.uk

Jannettas Gelateria, South Street, St Andrews

HeraldScotland:

The queues snaking down South Street in the summer months should be as good an indication as any of the quality of ice cream at Jannettas. They have an impressive 54 varieties: vanilla for traditionalists, or chilli chocolate and key lime pie for the adventurous, as well as dozens of varieties of sorbet and frozen yoghurt. They have even introduced a new Biscoff version for those who are loyal enthusiasts of its cinnamon flavour.

www.jannettas.co.uk/

Alanda’s Gelateria, Quality Street, North Berwick

HeraldScotland:

As an ice cream parlour based on ‘Quality Street’, you wouldn’t expect anything less than excellence from Alanda’s Gelateria. This was proven by their recent ‘Champion Ice Cream’ win at the Scottish Ice Cream Championship in the Royal Highland Showcase, where the judges were particularly enamoured with their apple strudel flavour. A small, family-run business, Alanda’s uses local ingredients in their creamy gelato, which is all homemade from scratch in their ice cream parlour and micro factory.

www.alandas.co.uk

Drummuir Farm, Clarencefield Road, Collin, Dumfries

HeraldScotland:

This family-run farm produces its own ice cream and has an outside play area to let kids run around in. There is an array of flavours to choose from – the slightly obscure liquorice or ginger – with a service where you can phone in advance to check if your favourite flavour is available.

www.drummuirfarm.co.uk/

Mary’s Milk Bar, Grassmarket, Edinburgh

HeraldScotland:

More than just a trendy name, at Mary’s Milk Bar all their ice cream is made from scratch every morning by Mary herself, an expert chocolatier. Flavours change daily -with the latest menus posted on their Instagram page- and they range from goat’s cheese and honey to rose and jalapeno sorbet and everything in between. Mary trained at the Gelato University in Bologna, so it’s fair to say she has learned from the best.

www.marysmilkbar.com