Move over Italy, Provence is the new home of quality ice cream making. There’s fresh fruit and fresh talent in abundance, so here’s a little round-up of the best places to get a cooling cone.
C for Provence, Lourmarin, Place Henri Barthelemy
Clement is a precocious young ice cream maker and he’s backed up by his parents who keep the business ticking over while he is concocting new recipes. The latest addition to his carnival of flavours is a basil sorbet which acts as a great palate cleanser between courses. The grilled almond is also unmissable. Special mention must go to the cones, which are homemade and a delectable snack in themselves.
Scaramouche, Cereste, Cours Aristride Briand
What a success story. Scaramouche opened in 2013 in a small shop in Cereste. It now has additional shops in Paris and Banon, as well as two ice cream trucks and numerous resellers. The formula for success is cream from Jersey cows and an adventurous use of Provencal flavours, including exotic scoops such as fennel seed ice cream and black winter truffle ice cream.
Glace Leon, St Cyr Sur Mer, 58 Avenue du Port.
40 years old and going strong. Glace Leon is a real family affair with responsibility for the business passed down through the generations. Visit St Cyr Sur Mer and the longest queue in town will always be at Glace Leon. Exotic flavours like creme brulee and lemon meringue pie top the list of best sellers. Happiness is a double scoop and a seat on the seaside promenade watching the world pass by.
L’Art Glacier, Les Hautes Terrasses, Ansouis
And a couple of old favourites to finish with: firstly l’art glacier perched on a hilltop just outside the southern Luberon village of Ansouis. The terrace of this ice cream shop/ice cream restaurant is sensational. Fully 100 meters long with seating for 100 plus clients and views that sweep out across the Provencal countryside. With a setting like this, the owners could serve up Carte D’Or and still be sure of a full house. Instead the Art Glacier is run by the second generation of a family of ice cream makers from Lyon. Their creations are visually arresting and a joy to taste.
Glacier Le Quille, Miramas and Le Roque D’Antheron
Arguably I have saved the best till last. Glacier Le Quille has been famous for decades. It terrace overlooking the sea in Miramas is a wonderfully picturesque setting to enjoy any of its 100 different ice cream desserts. Visitors have been known to take over 30 minutes to finally make their selection. Personally, I take all of 10 seconds – I always judge an ice cream shop on its vanilla. Here it’s rich and indulgently creamy with sumptuous notes of vanilla. Perfect with a squirt or two of chantilly.