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As the temperature rises, there’s nothing better than a refreshing scoop (or two) of ice cream to keep you company as you wander around the city. While the chilled dessert is widely available in many forms, be it from 7-Eleven, the Mister Softee ice cream truck, or dedicated ice cream parlours, why not take things to the next level this summer with some hand-crafted iced treats? Here’s where you can find some of the best artisanal ice cream and gelato in Hong Kong.
While the word “artisanal” seems to add more value to anything and everything it describes, there is more to artisanal ice cream than a higher price point. Many elements go into perfecting the iced treat, but when businesses use this word to describe their products, it usually refers to ice cream handmade by an artisan following a traditional recipe.
As artisanal ice cream is generally made with fresh produce and ingredients with no added preservatives, artificial flavours, emulsifiers, and other stabilisers, it is often considered the healthier alternative in the ice cream game. Plus, this type of ice cream can be identified by its heavier, creamier texture compared to store-bought alternatives.
From quaint corner shops and ice cream counters to chic dessert cafés, here are our best picks for where to find artisanal ice cream and gelato in Hong Kong.
Using only the best-quality ingredients, Messina’s gelato is made from scratch in-house using milk from Jersey cows following a recipe perfected after years of experimentation. Currently offering 30 core flavours, six Hong Kong exclusives, and five rotating specials in-store, you can also enjoy Messina’s irresistible gelato at home with its family-sized to-go tubs.
Locally-inspired flavours include the egg tart, an ode to the iconic custard pastry made with egg custard gelato and sprinkled with caramelised puff pastry, and the black sesame tong yuen, where roasted black sesame gelato is topped with chewy glutinous rice bites in a reimagining of the traditional Cantonese dessert. Messina’s Yototokult! is a light citrus yoghurt sherbet that resembles the taste of the popular probiotic drink, Yakult, and the tofu fa sees the soy-based dessert transformed into a tofu gelato layered with red sugar.
Messina, 37–43 Pottinger Street, Central
Famous for its gelato roses, Givrés’s artisanal ice cream has long been a staple refreshment in the city on hot summer days. Located on the corner of Staunton Street and Shelley Street, Givrés offers city dwellers a one-stop-shop for quality, artisanal ice cream, coffee, and more!
Signatures include the rose affogato and floating rose coffee, while the waffle rose—an elegant and delicious gelato rose nestled in the middle of a folded egg waffle—is also a hit with locals and visitors alike. You can also keep things simple with a rose cone, which can come in as many as three flavours, and watch the delicate rose be crafted right in front of you.
Barista by Givrés, 7 Staunton Street, Central
XTC Gelato makes its artisanal treats fresh on a daily basis using natural and responsibly-sourced ingredients. Cups, cones, and shakes are available, but take-home tubs, small cups, cookie sandwich, and gelato sticks and cakes can be ordered from the website, so you can enjoy a full artisanal ice cream experience in the comfort of your own home. Dairy and fat-free sorbetto are also available in coconut, passionfruit banana, raspberry, and more.
XTC Gelato, Shop B, 45 Cochrane Street, Central
Plumcot is primarily a bakery, but artisanal ice cream is also available for sale on its website. All ice cream is made in-house by Plumcot, and flavours change depending on seasonality and fresh ingredients available at the time of making. Signature flavours include the Crunchy, made with Valrhona milk chocolate, caramel apple, and roasted peanuts, and a unique blue cheese ice cream that intrepid dessert lovers will definitely want to try.
Plumcot, 10A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Fancy a scoop to keep you company as you sail across the harbour? Head over to Igloo Dessert Bar at Central Pier 7 before your ferry’s departure time. Serving up quality artisanal gelato, ice pops, and frozen treats, Igloo has everything you need to keep your cool as summer approaches. Have Igloo’s delicious scoops in a cup, cone, cookie bowl, ormini tart, or pair it with one of Igloo’s fluffy egg waffles! Vegan ice cream is also available in flavours such as dark chocolate, dark chocolate orange, coconut water, black charcoal, and oat milk.
Igloo Dessert Bar, Shop C, G/F, Pier 7, Star Ferry, Central
Dood Bottega uses only the best ingredients from around the world for its artisanal gelato. Flavours include evergreen staples as well as seasonal specials. From premium Kyoto matcha to Sicily pistachios and French vanilla beans, you are guaranteed the best experience with Dood Bottega’s scoops—this might just be the one worth breaking the bank for.
Dood Bottega Gelateria, Shop B201–23, B2/F, K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Teemtonefai is a local ice cream brand that specialises in artisanal ice cream as well as clever allusions. Its name is an ode to the Cantonese pronunciation of packaged ice cream cones (甜筒; tim4 tung2) and also refers to the man behind the brand, Thomas Fung. Its logo not only resembles that of the colour expert Pantone, but the design of its ice cream tubs also mirrors the aesthetically-pleasing colour palettes produced by the company.
Flavours differ depending on seasonality, but you can keep an eye out on Instagram for quirky specials. Teemtonefai also regularly hosts pop-up stores around the city, with the K11 Art Mall one due to close soon. If you miss it, another pop-up is no doubt on its way!
Here is a boutique dessert shop specialising in handcrafted pastries and gelato. As its name suggests, one of the signature items at Owl’s is freshly baked choux pastries sandwiching creamy gelato. Crowd-favourite flavours include the red velvet, praline noir with chocolate chips, and Mango Tango. Although the crème brûlée puff has no ice cream in its core, its aromatic caramelised top is sure to impress.
Owl’s Choux. Gelato. Coffee, Shop H, 32 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui