April 3rd, 2015 at 8:30 am

best ice cream in Santa Barbara

When ice cream shops in Santa Barbara are being discussed, one is on the tip of almost everyone’s tongue: McConnell’s.

At age 66, McConnell’s is legendary not only in its hometown, but also up and down the coast. The family-operated firm pasteurizes its own grass-grazed dairy ingredients in its creamery downtown, mixed with fresh local, cage-free organic eggs, and pure cane sugar. The handcrafted ice cream is made from scratch, in small batches.

The team regularly churns out a wide variety of flavors that have kept customers coming back for more since founders Gordon “Mac” McConnell and his wife, Ernesteen, opened their first store on West Mission Street in 1949. A recent look at the menu includes Brazilian coffee chip, California lemon zest, churros con leche, Santa Barbara strawberry, Turkish coffee, and Vermont blueberry. Sorbets are offered, too, as is a dizzying array of frozen yogurt including red velvet cake, Southern salted butter, toffee nut, death by chocolate, and graham crackers and milk.

The company has a second Santa Barbara shop on State Street, as well as one in Ventura and another at Los Angeles’ Grand Central Market. Pints are sold around the state by purveyors such as Whole Foods Market, and you can order online to have product shipped to your door, packed in dry ice.

McConnell’s isn’t the only ice cream shop in Santa Barbara, of course. The usual franchises are represented, including Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery. But locals and visitors also frequent a number of others for their frozen delights such as gelato and yogurt. Here’s a list of a few and what they have to offer:

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