As a vacation destination resident, I have my favorite local outposts; best homemade ice cream, best soft serve… you catch the drift.
I love trying new flavors of just about anything, and although my main men Ben & Jerry never fail me with Chunky Monkey or Cherry Garcia, sometimes you just need to step out of the pint.
Toscanini’s in Cambridge is the spot to break out of any ice cream or flavor slump. Situated down the block from the Central Square T station at 899 Main St., Toscanini’s was deemed the “The World’s Best Ice Cream” by The New York Times, and held Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston crown from 2011 to 2013.
Even on a rainy Sunday, the ice cream joint was packed with locals and college students alike.
Toscanini’s offers your classics like French vanilla and Belgian chocolate, but the trip to Cambridge is truly worth it for the shop’s more unique flavors. The menu is in constant rotation, but some of the more interesting concoctions on the menu on Nov. 7 included orange clove, strawberry mascarpone, and spiced cranberry sorbet.
I personally indulged in a scoop of the goat cheese brownie, ringing in at $4.25; chunks of brownie mixed into a a creamy ice-cream base where you can actually taste the creaminess and distinct tang of the goat cheese.
If you have a smaller appetite, micro scoops are $3.50 wheras two scoops are $5.50. For those looking to take home the memories, pints are $6.75.
The shop was opened in 1981 by Gus Agostina Rancatore, who was found at the shop Sunday mixing flavors with cardamom and saffron. He says a lot of inspiration comes not only from his readings and travel, but also the international community around the shop that makes up Cambridge and MIT.
“We try to make ice cream flavors from other countries and other parts of the U.S.,” Rancatore said. “We don’t try to be transgressive. If we make an unusual ice cream, we made it for you to like, not to annoy you.”
Rancatore has been making ice cream since his first job at Steve’s in Somerville, where he learned the majority of his ice cream making skills. Although he has a keen sense for the inventive and flavorful, Rancatore prefers chocolate chip ice cream.
Besides ice cream, Tosci’s, as it is fondly called by regulars, offers a variety of espresso drinks as well as coffee and teas and everything from homemade cookies to jumbo muffins and cinnamon rolls, opening at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends (they stay open till 11 p.m. everyday). The spot it warm, and family friendly. It is important to note that the shop is currently not handicap accessible at this time.
Jon Zalesky of Newtown sat at the center table of Tosci’s with his wife and daughter Sunday enjoying a scoop of the pumpkin. Zalesky previously attended MIT and leaved mere steps from Toscanini’s, offering not only a tasty, but nostalgic experience.
“The ice cream is awesome,” he said. “The flavors are amazing and some of the items on the list you couldn’t find anywhere else.”