Craft everything is having a moment. From bourbon to chocolate, local handcrafted creations are taking foodie fanatics by storm. While small batches of nearly everything may be popping up almost everywhere, one homemade sweet treat has been a constant throughout the decades… ice cream. While there’s no shortage of icy creamy delights in the Bay Area (hey there Tin Pot Creamery and Uji Time) the homemade small batch ice cream whipped up by Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, California has stood the test of time.
Bi-Rite is a family of businesses which originally opened all the way back in 1940. The creamery is one of its younger businesses and opened in 2006. While Bi-Rite Creamery is located at 3692 18th Street, just across the way at 3639 18th Street you’ll find Bi-Rite Market which is chock full of goodies that Chef’s Table wannabes will salivate over (like yummy McClelland’s Dairy organic farmstead butter with sea salt from Sonoma which comes in a cute ceramic crock).
Besides its perfectly dense consistency, the wide variety of flavors is the other reason Bay Area locals dutifully queue in long lines for a scoop or two of Bi-Rite Creamery’s magic. On any given day you’re bound to find 15 or so batches of ice cream and sorbet available. It’s no wonder Bi-Rite is considered a legit San Francisco treat given that it makes flavors like ricanelas (the cinnamon base enriched with snickerdoodles that are made at Bi-Rite’s bakery right next door makes it tastes like crunchy little morsels from another planet), milk chocolate peanut butter with organic peanut candies and even a smooth black sesame. Often times Bi-Rite Creamery forages for inspiration locally, taking a cue from other Bay area businesses. There’s a Sonoma honey lavender ice cream, a roasty toasty banana made with Double 8 Dairy from Petaluma and chocoholics will love Bi-Rite’s chocolate that’s created with local chocolate purveyor TCHO’s signature sweetness.
Even Bi-rite Creamery’s vanilla is anything but vanilla. There’s a malted vanilla that consists of milk chocolate and peanut brittle. Bi-Rite’s more traditional style vanilla bean is infused with LAFAZA vanilla. When it’s in season, it’s tough to compete with Bi-Rite Creamery’s perennial favorite, a balsamic strawberry flavor that’s whipped into shape courtesy of fresh local strawberries. The peachy cobbler ice cream with Masumoto Family Farm peaches from the heart of California’s Central Valley sure does give balsamic strawberry a run for its money though.
If you’re feeling the urge to branch out a bit and in need of a light palate cleanser, Bi-Rite Creamery’s basil is downright divine. Bi-Rite Creamery even has vegans covered. With vegan ice cream in flavors like peach orange strawberry sorbet and coconut strawberry, you just might opt to forgo the milk and egg options even if you aren’t vegan.
Helpful Tip: If you’re in a hurry and want your homemade ice cream to go, Bi-Rite Creamery sells pre-packaged pints, quarts and cakes. If you’re heading the grab and go route, you can can skip jail (a.k.a. the long line that often winds its way around the block) and head straight to the cashier. Best of luck getting home without busting the top off of that pint of blueberry buttermilk made with California grown Triple Delight Blueberries or diving head first into your coffee toffee stash. (Who could possibly resist the call of all that crunchy almond toffee sprinkled into coffee ice cream?)
Even if you don’t intend to head to the city by the bay anytime soon, you can try your hand at creating Bi-Rite Creamery’s delicious flavors at home with its Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones cook book. If you do happen to find yourself in Fog City on an uncharacteristically sunny summer day, pop into Bi-Rite Creamery for a scoop of minty chippy made with Seely Mint oil from Washington state. Better yet, since the sun is shining and it’s a special occasion go ahead and celebrate… make it two scoops and snag that cream of cookie made with organic Newman O’s too.
Address: 3692 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94110
Hours: Monday Through Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Phone: (415) 626-5600
Pricing (All in USD): Cones $3.25 to $8.50, Pints $8.99, Quarts $15.99