Chocolate ice cream is a classic summer treat that can be found in many parlours across the city. But which are really worth the visit? Élodie Noël reports. 

Ice cream is not an Irish speciality per se, but with the best quality dairy available in this country, we have the basic ingredients to make some delicious ice cream on our doorstep. Some of the newest shops that have opened in the city proudly claim the use of Irish ingredients in their products, which is always a lovely thing to see.

With ice cream season in full swing, I decided to try and find the best chocolate ice cream available in Dublin city. Why chocolate? Because it’s a true classic, an all-time favourite that most people would enjoy when the weather gets warmer - and even when it’s not. Chocolate is a simple flavour but requires skills and great ingredients to be made properly. During the test, I stayed away from all the trimmings, crunchy toppings, sweet sauces and whipped cream, to get the true taste of the ice cream. Sometimes, it was for the best, sometimes perhaps a nice hot chocolate sauce would have rescued it.

At the moment, the ice cream scene in Dublin seems to be having a penchant for gelato, which slightly differs to ice cream when it comes to the ratio of ingredients used and the actual making process. Gelato has a similar base as ice cream, but it is usually made with a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs - or no eggs at all. It is also churned at a slower rate, incorporating less air and resulting in a denser texture than ice cream. The lower percentage of fat usually means that the flavours come through more strongly.

Read more Where To Find Dublin's Best French Baguette

Gelato or ice cream?

Whatever the label, gelato or ice cream, what I was looking for during this test was, first of all, a strong chocolate flavour, and a nice silky texture. Knowing about the origin of the ingredients was a plus. After trying about ten different ice creams, the main outcome of the test was that if you are a real chocolate lover, look out for a sorbet instead of an ice cream; it’s the best way to get the loudest chocolate taste.  

Some great surprises came from two franchises, Amorino and Gino’s, who truly delivered both on the texture and taste levels. With its gorgeous chocolate sorbet, Cloud Nine also impressed me. Three Thirty, which has been standing where the sorely missed Cocoa Atelier used to be for not more than a few weeks, probably offered the nicest texture.

For the full results of the test, see below, our list of 10 tried and tested... 


1. Amorino

Address: Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, D2.

Flavour: Organic Chocolate Sorbet

Price: €4.90

Look: 5/5

Texture: 4.5/5

Taste: 9/10

Total: 18.5/20

Verdict: This incredibly rich and luscious ice cream couldn't come in a prettier presentation: this flowery look makes it truly appealing. It feels surprisingly creamy for a sorbet, with the slight bitterness of good dark chocolate. The price is on the higher end of the scale but the portion is generous and the taste is worth it. Overall, it's a fantastic ice cream made with organic ingredients, which is always admirable.

Flavour: Plain Chocolate

Look: 5/5

Texture: 4.5/5

Taste: 8/10

Total: 17.5

Verdict: Amorino also offers a classic chocolate ice cream with a lovely thickness and creaminess. The flavour is rich and the texture feels very indulgent. This ice cream contains no artificial colours or flavourings and is made with organic eggs.


2. Cloud Nine

Address: 1 Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Flavour: Chocolate Sorbet

Price: €3.80

Look: 4.5/5

Texture: 4.5/5

Taste: 9/10

Total 18/20

Verdict: The Temple bar ice cream parlour really delivers on the texture and flavour fronts, as well as on value. Their gluten-free vegan sorbet has the nicest creamy texture with a powerful chocolate taste and doesn’t need any flavour enhancer to be thoroughly enjoyable.


3. Three Twenty

Address: 30 Drury St, Dublin 2.

Flavour: Chocolate

Price: €4.95

Look: 4.5/5

Texture: 4.5/5

Taste: 7/10

Total: 16/20

Verdict: The new kid on the block surely knows how to turn the simple act of buying an ice cream into an actual show. When you pick your flavour from the short yet appealing menu, the staff member behind the counter makes it before your own eyes, mixing the base of the ice cream with whatever flavour you choose and churning it in seconds using liquid nitrogen.

The result is a deliciously velvety ice cream, creamy yet not sickly-sweet. The chocolate flavour comes from a spoon of Valrhona ganache added to the anglaise base, and as far as I’m concerned, it could have done with another spoon as the chocolate flavour was very pleasant but not exactly strong enough.

4. Gino's

Address: Several locations in Ireland.

 Flavour: Belgian chocolate

Price: €4.30

Look: 4/5

Texture: 4/5

Taste: 7/10

Total: 15/20

Verdict: Don’t overlook the Irish chain: their gelato is freshly made on the premises every day using organic Irish milk. It's a little bit on the sweet side but the chocolate taste does come through and the texture is really pleasant.

The use of Belgian chocolate makes the flavour less intense than dark chocolate, making it an appealing option for children. Gino's also have a vegan chocolate ice cream (sorbet) that wasn't available on the day of the test.


5. Fallon & Byrne Rathmines

Address: 39 Castlewood Ave, Dublin 6.

Flavour: Ecuadorian Chocolate

Price: €3.25

Look: 4/5

Texture: 3/5

Taste: 6/10

Total: 13/20

Verdict: With an old Fiat 500 turned into a gelato counter, Fallon & Byrne Rathmines want you to make no mistake: their ice cream is a real Italian one made by real Italians. They use chocolate from Ecuador. The result is a rather flavourful ice cream, with a texture on the thick side including little bits of chocolate.


6. Murphy's

Address: Several locations in Ireland.

Flavour: Smooth Chocolate

Price: €4.50

Look: 3/5

Texture: 3/5

Taste: 6/10

Total: 12/20

Verdict: We can't get enough of Murphy's caramelised brown bread ice cream, but the Dingle-based franchise makes a slightly disappointing chocolate flavour. The texture was okay but the smooth chocolate could do with well, more chocolate.

7. Sun Bear Gelato

Address: 25 Dawson St, Dublin 2.

Flavour: Dark Chocolate Sorbet

Price: €3.60

Look: 3/5

Texture: 1/5

Taste: 8/10

Total: 12/20

Verdict: It's a bit disappointing that we had to ask for a dark chocolate flavour to hear they had this one hidden in the back, the reason being that this gelato has a big issue with texture and is more like a frozen soup. The flavour is absolutely gorgeous, dark and rich, but the fact that it can't be held in a cone isn’t right.

Flavour: Milk Chocolate

Look: 2.5/5

Texture: 3/5

Taste: 4/10

Total: 9.5/20

Verdict: We really want to save the bears (which is what this small parlour is all about) but this gelato isn't good enough. The texture isn't particularly nice, and the chocolate flavour is barely there.

8. Scoop

Address: 82 Aungier Street, D2 & Ranelagh village, D6.

Flavour: Dark Chocolate Sorbetto

Price: €3.80

Look: 4/5

Texture: 3/5

Taste: 5/10

Total: 12/20

Verdict: The gelato makers, who have three locations in Dublin city, say that their ice cream is made fresh on the premises but don't give much about provenance. The dark chocolate sorbetto doesn't really tick the box in terms of texture or flavour. It doesn't feel creamy enough and the taste we get is more of cocoa powder than good dark chocolate.

Flavour: Milk Chocolate

Price: €3.80

Look: 4/5

Texture: 3/5

Taste: 3/10

Total: 10/20

Verdict: The texture of their ice cream is okay but a bit dense, and the milk chocolate flavour clearly lacks intensity.

9. Forte's Ice Cream

Address: Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, D2.

Flavour: Chocolate

Price: €2.50

Look: 3/5

Texture: 2/5

Taste: 4/10

Total: 9/20

Verdict: The darkness of the ice cream bodes well but the presence of water crystals makes it quite unpleasant; it feels like it has been there for too long or isn't stored properly. The chocolate flavour is weak with a watery aftertaste.

10. Hotel Chocolat.

Address: 1 GPO Buildings, Henry St, Dublin 1 & Dundrum Town Centre. 

Flavour: Ice cream of the Gods

Price: €3.50

Look: 4.5/5

Texture: 4.5/5

Taste: N/A

Total: N/A

Verdict: Unfortunately, after tasting it, we can't consider this 'Ice Cream of the Gods' a chocolate ice cream as it is only infused with cocoa nibs and doesn't have a proper chocolate flavour. It's a bit of a shame for a place called "Hotel Chocolate".

Do you agree with Élodie's test results? Let us know in the comments below or if there is somewhere you think should be on the list. 

Author: Élodie Noël

Élodie is a French journalist who relocated to Dublin about three years ago. She immediately fell in love with the island and its amazing food and has been writing about it on her blog Lemon Lipstick

You can follow Élodie's food adventures on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.