Sugar Rush: Spumoni at L & B Spumoni Gardens

Sugar Rush

Your daily dose of something sweet.


[Photographs: Max Falkowitz]

If you go to L & B Spumoni Gardens without ordering the namesake dessert, you're missing part of the journey.

L & B is a uniquely Brooklyn place, and their pizza is uniquely theirs (or is it?), but their spumoni is part of a grander tradition.

Spumoni as we know it in the U.S.—a creamy frozen dessert much like Italian cream ice, often studded with fruit and nuts, served in a multi-flavor mashup—is just one of a number of creamy not-quite-ice-cream desserts from yesteryear. Take semifreddo as one; British spoom—sorbet with meringue—as another. You know Neapolitan ice cream? Likely a direct spumoni descendent.


You could say—and I will—that L & B's spumoni sets the archetypical American spumoni standard. You can order its chocolate, pistachio, and cremolata (vanilla almond-cinnamon) components separately, but they really come alive when ordered together, the chocolate adding bitter depth to the vanilla, the pistachio layering on fruity, nutty flavors. L & B's spumoni is creamy and devoid of ice crystals, paradoxically light and rich in a way that eludes most ice creams. Their pizza is of course a Brooklyn icon. This should be too.

L & B Spumoni Gardens

2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11223 (map)

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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