“Artisan” Definition: a person or company that produces something, usually food or wine, in limited quantities, often using traditional methods.
Is it possible to find delicious, artisan ice cream in Montana and Idaho? Of course; you just have to know where to look. We’ve done the research (yum!), so you can enjoy locally made, truly gourmet ice cream.
Sweet Peaks Ice Cream was founded in 2010 by two ice cream loving Montanans, Marissa and Sam. They are proud of carefully crafting their ice cream and sorbets in Whitefish, Mont.
They use Montana dairy products and a selection of quality ingredients, many of which hail from the mountains. Marissa and Sam’s welcoming ice cream shops are also located in Missoula, Kalispell, and Bozeman, as well as in Spokane, Wash.
Their ice creams include locally inspired flavors, like Montana Christmas—pine-soaked ice cream with huckleberry jam—or Flathead Cherry Chocolate. Classics such as Lafaza Madagascar Vanilla are offered, too. To keep things interesting, Sweet Peaks frequently rotates its flavors. sweetpeaksicecream.com
Big Dipper Ice Cream, with shops in Helena, Missoula, and Billings, has been serving hand-made ice cream since 1995. The company has been featured in Good Morning America, and has been chosen as one of America’s Best by Food and Wine Magazine, USA Today, Budget Travel, and others. Besides their three store locations, Big Dipper has a traveling ice cream truck called “Coneboy.”
The artisan ice cream can also be found at restaurants in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Check out Big Dipper’s Facebook page for current flavor offerings.
Some of the more unusual flavors include Cardamom, El Salvador Coffee, Huckleberry, Black Licorice, and Espresso Heath. They also have classics such as Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate, Coconut, and Salted Caramel. Sorbets include lemon and tangerine. bigdippericecream.com.
Imagine ice cream infused with beer, wine, and spirits, or ice cream scoops paired with beers or wines in a “flight tray.” These are among the creative offerings you’ll find at Boise’s artisan ice cream shop, The STIL. Owners Dan and Kasey opened The STIL in July of 2017, and, less than a year later, the shop was voted one of Boise’s Best in the Dessert Category.
Their hand-crafted ice creams—made in-house daily, using Idaho dairy milk (they also have dairy-free and vegan options)—along with the shop’s entertaining atmosphere, have earned The STIL mentions in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Sunset Magazine. The owners will open a second location soon in southeast Boise. ilovethestil.com.
Located on First Street in the popular resort town of Sandpoint, north Idaho, family owned Panhandle Cone & Coffee features unusually flavored and deliciously creamy ice cream. They also serve coffee from a local favorite, Evans Brothers Coffee.
The owners of Panhandle C & C say they are committed to using only the highest quality ingredients, which are often locally sourced. For example, their honey is purchased from Queen Bee Honey in Clark Fork, several miles north of Sandpoint.
Depending on the season, ice cream flavors might include Wildwood Amaretto & Alder; Huckleberry Jam; Honey, Cinnamon & Frankincense; Pumpkin Pie; Black Pepper, Pistachio & Date; Honey Chai Praline; and the classics, Vanilla and Chocolate. They also have non-dairy options. The owners have recently opened a new shop in the college town of Moscow. coneandcoffee.com
In Coeur d’Alene, you’ll find yummy, made-on-the-premises ice cream at Abi’s Artisan Ice Cream. Abi’s mission is to produce a superior product, using organic and locally sourced products. The shop was recently honored as the North Idaho Business Journal’s “2019’s Best of Ice Cream and 2nd Best Dessert.” Besides classic ice creams, Abi’s also provides dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options. They are also a peanut-free and tree-nut-free facility, because the owners’ daughter Abi is allergic to both. The locally-owned shop is also known for gourmet hot chocolate and homemade baked goods.
The seasonal flavors often change daily and might include Lemon Olive Oil, Strawberry Hibiscus Sorbet, Rosemary, Dog Sorbet (carrot), Arnold Palmer Sorbet (lemon and tea), Coffee Toffee, Brown Sugar Bourbon, Sweet Cream, Huckleberry, and Caramel Buttercream. You can also find Abi’s ice cream at various local businesses. abisicecream.com — ISI