Invented in Thailand, rolled ice cream is getting the scoop on Arizona.
Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls
5750 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale
Rolled ice cream may have its roots in Thailand, but the tubular dessert is striking a serious chord with sweets-lovers in the United States, too. At Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls, owner Nino McCurley says the most popular roll is The Snozzberry ($7, pictured) with a choice of ice cream bases (including non-dairy and vegan), Fruity Pebbles cereal, bananas and strawberries. To make the icy dessert, McCurley spreads a liquid cream onto what looks like a frozen pizza pan, then smashes and chops toppings into the mix while it freezes on the sub-zero surface. He then spreads the concoction flat and divides it into four strips, rolls them into roulade-like cylinders with a spatula and wrangles them into a cup. You can choose from the set menu or create your own rolls from a large selection of ingredients, including fresh fruits, “crunches,” spreads, syrups and garnishes. “We have so many cool options,” McCurley says.
I Roll Thai Ice Cream
1949 W. Ray Rd., Chandler
Part of the fun of Thai ice cream is the novelty – it affords consumers an exciting array of textures and flavor combinations. At I Roll Thai Ice Cream, the build-your-own option ($5.99) lets you exploit this principle in three steps: (1) Pick an ice cream flavor from vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mango, green tea or coconut; (2) Choose two mix-ins, from pretzels and pineapple to Nutella and almond butter; and (3) Pick up to three toppings from a long list that boasts M&Ms, Kit Kats, cookie dough, coconut flakes and a host of other diet-busters. If you’re not feeling creative, default to one of the 10 signature rolls, including Dark Humor, an orgy of vanilla ice cream, crushed Oreo cookies and brownies; or Matcha Lady, a combo of green tea ice cream tickled with strawberries. All signatures come with up to three toppings.
Roll Avenue Ice Cream Rolls
Two Valley locations
This East Valley ice cream shop – with locations in Mesa and Tempe – rolls 12 different flavor combinations, from the fruity Mango Tango ($6.50), which marries ice cream with fresh mango morsels and a shotgun blast of exploding boba (fruit juice balls); to the indulgent s’mores ($6.50), in which your chocolate ice cream rolls are accompanied by a tower of graham crackers and a pair of marshmallows on a stick (toasted to order with a blowtorch), then crisscrossed with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The thin, carefully crafted rolls are bewitching, but observing the ice cream chefs at work is half the fun. It’s akin to performance art, complete with “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd and inevitable cellphone videos. It’s grand theater of dessert.