Here at The Moscow Times culture desk, we generally try to stay healthy and fit. When we are not at the opera or a gallery opening, you can usually find us jogging in the park or looking for kale at the market.
But, like all human beings, we have our weaknesses. And one of them is ice cream. There is nothing like it on a hot summer day, or even a cool rainy day, or really on any other kind of day, for that matter.
So we went around the city, trying ice cream and sherbets with flavors ranging from basil and lilac to blue cheese and moose milk, and decided on our favorites. After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that almost all the premium-class ice cream in the city is great. Moscow truly knows how to make gelato, frozen yogurt, sherbet, milkshakes, custard and even Darth Vader pops. Each shop offers a unique ice cream experience.
We'll tell you our favorites. It's up to you to choose what experience you want.
Indulge in the flavor of Italy while sitting by the window and watching the people of Moscow hurry by. The store offers 12 flavors of gelato and five flavors of sherbet, all available for testing before purchase. The relaxing music and comfortable atmosphere serve as a nice background for experiencing in the boldest, and the smoothest, of flavors — whether it be "Moscow," the traditional buttercream flavor, "Palermo," a chocolate gelato with rum, or "Basilik," a creamy swirl of basil leaves.
Plombir. 15 Lubyansky Proezd, Bldg. 2. 499-499-7901. facebook.com/gelatomoscow. Open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Minimum cost — 150 rubles (about $2.50).
Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt
Do-it-yourself has never tasted so good. In Tutti Frutti, everyone gets the chance to partake in a creative process — choosing the flavor of frozen yogurt, syrups, dozens of toppings — with no limits. You know how you like it, and now you can be as picky as you want. You simply pay by weight. The futuristic interior stimulates the creative mind even further, inspiring a bowl of rainbow-gummy-mango-pink deliciousness every time.
Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt. Almost 20 locations in the city, including: 45/24 Ulitsa Arbat. 905-723-5118. tuttifruttirussia.com. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cost varies, up to 500 rubles (about $8.40).
At Tutti Frutti, customers choose the frozen yogurt flavors and mix-ins.
This cozy loft on a hidden street off Ulitsa Pokrovka, with a bookstore and a traditional Chinese tearoom inside, provides one of the grooviest atmospheres for both ice cream lovers and tea lovers. The menu consists exclusively of offerings of ice cream and tea — but the possibilities are endless. They have ice cream made out of moose milk, peppers grown in the mountains where "Avatar" was filmed, pine needles, lilac, Dandelion honey, nettle, blue cheese, roses — and the list goes on. You have never tried anything like this in your life — and may never get to try it anywhere else.
Chainaya Vysota. 27 Ulitsa Pokrovka, Bldg. 1. 495-225-5996. cha108.ru. Open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Minimum cost for ice cream only — 200 rubles (about $3.40).
Located right on the Arbat, Shake Shack provides the best of both worlds — a Moscow location and the flavor of New York City. It serves a menu of innumerable burgers, hotdogs, and, most important — ice cream. You can get a traditional milkshake, custard, or "concrete" (frozen custard ice cream with mix-ins) as the grand finale to your savory meal. The interior beams you to a downtown Brooklyn bar, where you can forget your stressful job, bills, and calories.
Shake Shack. 38/1 Ulitsa Arbat. 499-252-8399. shakeshack.com. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Minimum cost for ice cream only — 150 rubles (about $2.50).
Stoyn Ice Cream
Have you ever wondered what your favorite supervillain, celebrity or cartoon character tastes like? According to Stoyn Ice Cream, poet Vladimir Mayakovsky tastes like cranberry vodka, Marilyn Monroe tastes like strawberries, Darth Vader tastes like blueberries, and mango sherbet is the flavor of Mickey Mouse. Stoyn constructs sculptures-on-a-stick out of natural ice cream and sherbet. Your favorite characters, with an occasional collection consisting of ice cream viruses, gas molecules, and red blood cells, can be ordered online or purchased at one of four locations in Moscow. They are a delicious, if slightly strange treat for your entire family.
Stoyn Ice Cream. 916-459-3348. stoyn.com. One ice cream pop — 200 rubles (about $3.40). Moscow locations: Good Enough Cafe, Babylon Vapeshop, 8 Bit Pizza, Greenoff.