8 Quintessential Ice Cream and Gelato Shops in Charleston
For a hot and humid town, Charleston doesn’t have a long history of ice cream shops. Most frozen desserts are imported — whether that be from Ohio or recipes by way of Italy. These are the few ice cream and gelato shops worth a visit in the Lowcountry.
Note: Map points are not listed by rank
1 Park Circle Creamery
Park Circle Creamery is Park Circle neighborhood favorite. The shop offers 16 handcrafted flavors, including a maple bacon flavor. The sweet stop hopes to serve “a spoonful of smile” with each scoop.
Cirsea Ice Cream started as a dessert at Chinese restaurant Red Orchids, but when word spread of co-owner Kelly Chu’s delicious creations, and demand rose, it was time to take the business further. Now Cirsea can be found in retail freezers across the Lowcountry. Choose from flavors like black sesame, strawberry goat cheese, vanilla black pepper, and more.
For those not familiar with the Ohio-based chain, know that owner Jeni Britton Bauer and her employees wake up with one thought, “How can we make a better ice cream today?” One taste of the locally-sourced ingredients can confirm their handiwork. Food & Wine once stated, “No one makes ice cream like Jeni Britton Bauer.”
Anyone who has dined at 39 Rue de Jean knows the temptation of neighboring Paolo’s Italian Gelato with the giant cone sculpture parked out front. Paolo Dalla Zorza set up shop in 2003 and has served authentic Italian desserts ever since.
Kilwins is a downtown Charleston favorite. The shop may be known for its pecan pralines, but they also have waffle cones full of scoops of frozen flavors and are rumored to have the best salted caramel ice cream in town.
After learning the art of gelato, father and daughter Hugo Heule and Joany Heule-Missotten moved from Belgium to Charleston to open a shop. They have a store off of East Bay St. and on on Lower King. Flavors range from pistachio to apple pie.