Editor's Note: July is Ice Cream Month on Serious Eats: New York! To celebrate, we're spotlighting a scoop we love every day.
The problem isn't what to get at Il Laboratorio del Gelato; I've never had a scoop there I didn't like, so it's one of those few places where you can really order whatever you want, because it'll come out great.
The problem is how to make the most of combining those flavors. Even a small gives you two scoops, and I don't think I've ever seen someone leave the counter with just one.
After plenty of trial and error, I think I've hit on my favorite, a triple threat of chestnut honey, green tea, and grapefruit sorbet. This being Il Laboratorio, all the flavors are clear, bright, and impressively faithful, but there's something special about the mix of nutty, caramel honey with grassy matcha and the bitter-tart citrus jolt of grapefruit. Scoops of three, especially with a sorbet, are recommended in a cup, not a cone; there they pack the scoops into discrete layers, which make an ice cream cupcake of sorts.
Since Il Laboratorio changes its flavors regularly, I can't always score this combo. But I now walk in with a plan of attack: a citrus sorbet (lime, yuzu), a green grassy gelato (mint, tarragon), and something deep, sweet, and nutty (black sesame, coconut, cashew). The mix makes for more than three great flavors—it's a balanced, spare sundae that never disappoints.
What are your favorite Il Laboratorio flavors, and how do you mix them?