Austria’s fondness for ice cream cannot be understated. Thanks to the abundance of good quality milk and cream from the country’s dairy herds, and the fact that Austrians love a sweet treat, there are ice cream parlours almost everywhere. The country has a long-standing tradition of ice cream making, and artisanal producers often use recipes that have been handed down through the generations.
In recent years, there has also been a surge in popularity for vegan offerings and now many shops offer dairy-free options. One of the most appealing attributes of much Austrian ice cream is that local ingredients are often incorporated. In addition to using milk from local farms, some parlours also make the most of regional and seasonal specialities such as Cornelian cherries or dirndl – small red berries not to be confused with the traditional skirt of the same name.
The Graz branch of Eis Greissler, which opened in 2013, is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. This stylish little shop carries a range of 24 different ice creams. Unusual flavours as goat cheese, pumpkin seed oil and star anise mean the ice creams at Eis Greissler are an intriguing departure from classic vanilla. Made with organic milk from a nearby farm, they offer the perfect way to cool down on a summer’s day.
Eis Greissler, Sporgasse 10, 8010 Graz, +43 (0)664 311 9195
This dairy-free ice cream parlour has been taking Vienna by storm. Founded by sisters Susanna Paller and Cecilia Havmöller, who have been vegans for more than 20 years, it produces small batches of artisanal vegan ice cream using only natural ingredients. These are freshly made every day, where possible from local and organic produce, and served in biodegradable cups with biodegradable spoons. The ice cream shop’s pastel-hued interior adds to the charm of a visit here.
Veganista, Neustiftgasse 23/3, 1070 Vienna, +43 (0)1 961 0845
For more than 10 years, delicious tubs of Tomaselli Gelateria ice cream have been a common sight around the city of Innsbruck, especially during the summer months. The secret of the company’s success lies in the high quality of its ingredients. Fresh fruit and Tyrolean milk are processed according to an old Italian recipe. A wide range of flavours, reasonable prices and natural ingredients make this is as close to a non-guilty pleasure as ice cream can get.
Tomaselli Gelateria, Hofgasse 5, 6020 Innsbruck, +43 (0)512 574609
Open from June to September, the ice cream parlour at Café Dallmann in St Gilgen near Salzburg sells only the finest homemade gelato. Harnessing the creativity customers also enjoy in the company’s pastries and cakes, the shop sells colourful, flamboyant sundaes, elegant ice cream cones, and ice cream with coffee for those seeking something with a little more kick. With 24 different varieties of ice cream, there is something for everyone. Popular with locals and visitors alike, this welcoming café offers outdoor seating and is a perfect place for relaxing with a cold dessert on sunny days.
Café Dallmann, Mozartplatz 2A, 5340 St Gilgen, +43 (0)6227 22082
Leones Gelato opened in 2015 in a former shoemaker’s shop in Vienna’s 8th district. Lisa and Giorgio Leone make traditional Italian ice cream at the back of their beautifully designed parlour. Throughout the summer, there is a changing selection of 12 ice cream flavours, prepared freshly each day. In addition to the signature gelato made with organic milk, there are also sorbets made from fresh fruit and vegan options such as coconut and dark chocolate.
Leones Gelato, Lange Gasse 78, 1080 Vienna, +43 (0)1 352 5252
When long-established Italian ice cream company La Romana opened a gelateria in Vienna in 2015, it was an immediate hit with visitors and locals alike. La Romana was founded in 1947 and has an impressive heritage of crafting delicious ice cream. Visitors can choose from original flavours such as pear scented with ginger, eggnog, and yoghurt with honey and nuts. Freshly whipped cream, organic milk, and free range eggs are the basic ingredients behind every flavour available.
La Romana, Stiftgasse 15-17, 1070 Vienna, +43 (0)1 523 2300