Sprinkled throughout the land of heat waves and record breaking temps are one-of-a-kind shops and chain storefronts that specialize in sweets from the cool side of the dessert spectrum. For those who live in neighborhoods in the SFV not frequented by ice cream trucks (or if you happen to be visiting) your family may find yourselves pining for a frozen treat minus the plastic wrapper. These places definitely hit that sweet spot!
Winter is long gone but there’s one place where the snow never melts. Located in Northridge, Sweet Snow has ventured beyond ice cream, offering several flavors of snow cream including green tea, strawberry and taro. Both “not too creamy” and “not too icy,” sweet snow is crafted using fresh ingredients like milk, pure sugar cane and honey. Not only are there a variety of toppings ranging from fruit to chocolate to cereals but they’ve also got drizzles. Nutella drizzled snow? Yes, please.
The scoop: The staff here is quite generous with their snow. One cup of snow can be shared, although it’s so good you may want your own. Also, seating inside is limited but if you can, grab a seat and challenge your kid to a game of Connect Four or Checkers. Winner gets the last bite of snow!
Keep cool with: The original snow is a popular choice but if you’re still not sure where to start, their most popular flavor combos are posted on the wall.
9420 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
Phone: (818) 886-8081
If your kids are a fan of yogurt then they’re likely to dig this far out yogurt place in Tarzana. Unlike some yogurt shops there are only a handful of flavors here and they are Kosher. Selections ranging from lemonade and green apple to yellow cake batter means there’s still something for everyone. Being one of the hippest contenders in the fro-yo game, they’ve ventured beyond standard toppings. In addition to gummy bears, cookie dough and sprinkles you can adorn your ice cream in chocolate covered rocks and sour belts.
The scoop: There’s no cones here, only cups, but this place still appeals to kids who are a fan of serving themselves. There’s metered parking out front and a Home Goods across the street for mom. This place gets bonus points for having a highchair on the premises for those of us who aren’t into toddler wrangling while indulging.
Keep cool with: The green apple flavor. If you’ve got a kid who loves all things sour, this flavor is sure to make their lips pucker!
5501 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana
Phone: (818) 668-8877
County Fairs and Fourth of July spectaculars aren’t the only place to get a cup of shaved ice. Nestled in the Valley is a bright blue cylinder shaped building offering a variety of cool treats. You can make your own or try one of their “tried and true” combos. With names like Monkey Brains (strawberry and banana shaved ice with condensed milk) and Rockin’ Rainbow (cherry, blue raspberry, and pineapple shaved ice) your kids may have just as much fun ordering them as they do eating them. But shaved ice isn’t their only specialty. They’ve got ice cream, shakes and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
The scoop: At this particular location you order outside so there’s no inside seating. However, there’s shaded seating outside. It’s not unusual for there to be a line, especially on the hottest days but it moves pretty quickly.
Keep cool with: A shaved ice topped with condensed milk. It’s both refreshing and sweet.
Various locations including:
9255 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
Phone: (818) 399-5133
Humphrey Yogart speaks to what can happen when the right ingredients are blended together all in the name of frozen goodness. While some like to have their toppings sprinkled atop their yogurt, at Humphrey Yogart it’s all about blending in order create what you will deem your own perfect concoction. Simply select the sweet or tart vanilla or chocolate yogurts or ice cream and toppings (they have more than 30 to choose from) and wait for the blending machine to work its magic. The end result is a cool treat infused with your favorite flavors.
The scoop: This is the perfect place to take a child with diet restrictions. They offer non-dairy vegan soy based ice cream as well as low carb and sugar free flavors.
Keep cool with: If you’re looking to grab a frozen treat to enjoy while on the go consider a shake or smoothie.
4574 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Phone: (818) 906-2490
Melt Gelato and Crepe Café
Whether to get a cup or a cone will be the least of your worries at Melt, located in the Topanga Mall. The hard part will be deciding which flavor of gelato to get. With Italian gelato, sorbet and yogurt, flavors ranging from red velvet and the classic stracciatella to mango you may wonder if one scoop is even enough.
The scoop: Curious to know what double dutch chocolate gelato taste like? Now’s the time to find out. They are happy to let you sample any flavor. Just ask, don’t be shy. Also, since they are located in the mall you may want to avoid high traffic times. Try to come when they first open.
Keep cool with: The salted carmel gelato; it’s both savory and sweet.
Topanga Plaza (There’s also one in Northridge and Glendale)
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park
Phone: (818) 932-9951
De Soto Pharmacy & Soda Shoppe (Jerry’s Soda Shoppe)
Located inside the De Soto Pharmacy this place is the hidden gem of the San Fernando Valley. If you like your ice cream sprinkled in nostalgia then this is the place for a fun afternoon with the kids. Not only will they love sitting at the Shoppe counter – reminiscent of the days when poodle skirts and sock hops were a thing – but they’ll love all the frozen fare this place has to offer. In addition to food they have ice cream and several other treats including banana splits and sundaes, flavored sodas, shakes and floats.
The scoop: This place is frequented by locals who have been coming for years as well as newbies and those who want to try their well known ice cream soda. If you can, sit at at the bar to get a feel for what it was like to sip soda in the “olden days.”
Keep cool with: The ice cream soda (it’s been featured in news articles and even by the Food Network). The mugs are dipped in chocolate and filled with ice cream, chocolate syrup, seltzer and whipped cream. A chocolate lover’s dream come true.
20914 Roscoe Blvd., Canoga Park
Phone: (818) 341-9515
What are your favorite places in the valley to grab a frozen treat?
– Written and photographed by Krishann Briscoe