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During the summer, ice cream transcends the barriers of dessert and becomes an everyday essential. The guilt that often accompanies the consumption of ice cream seems to lessen in the summer. High temperatures and a general loosening of rules during July and August make ice cream feel more like a necessity and less like a splurge. Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.04.24 AM

To celebrate National Ice Cream Day on Jul. 17, I was lucky enough to visit the Neuhaus Flagship store on Madison Avenue. As you enter, the noise and chaos of Madison Avenue quickly dissipate. Dazzling and whimsical arrays of the finest Belgian chocolates lie atop dark mahogany tables and fill floor to ceiling shelves. There is chocolate in all shapes and sizes. My favorite sugary creations were tiny roses made entirely from rich Belgian chocolate, each petal representative of the attention to detail and presentation evident in every aspect of Neuhaus. The company is dedicated to quality, and all of the chocolate in Neuhaus is created in Belgian, from original recipes aging as far back as 1857.

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However, I visited Neuhaus not for the chocolate, but to taste their ice cream, in honor of the national holiday. The Madison Ave. location only recently began to serve ice cream, and is actually the only Neuhaus in America to serve ice cream at all. The store’s ice cream is made with milk from a local dairy and created in a creamery in Brooklyn. Neuhaus also hand rolls their waffle cones and creates personalized cones, half dipped in Belgian chocolate and covered with chopped nuts. The store also offers to drizzle your cone under a dark or milk chocolate fountain behind the counter as well as sprinkle an assortment of artisan toppings a top your creation.

BtSqrmZCEAAtp5PAs well as a hand made waffle, Neuhaus also offers a special flavor of the month, July’s is matcha green tea. I spoke to Jason Wu, a Neuhaus employee, who said currently the top selling flavor is salted caramel drizzled with milk chocolate.

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I tried the strawberry and matcha green tea and our Downtown photographer tried the cookies and cream as well as chocolate. The ice cream is rich and flavorful and entirely beautiful in its own way. The staff at Neuhaus were warm, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about the company.

I highly recommend stopping by Neuhaus the next time you feel the need for ice cream.