5 tasty ways to celebrate National Ice Cream Month in mid-Missouri

Aarik Danielsen
Columbia Daily Tribune
What's your favorite ice cream?

"We all scream for ice cream" might be a bit of an overstatement. But many of us crave cool treats — and the inevitable headaches that accompany the experience — in the summer especially.

July is National Ice Cream Month, which means there's plenty of time left to find an excuse to celebrate. Here are five (of many) satisfying ways to enjoy a cone, cup or other offering in mid-Missouri. 

With a side of art

The unique array of flavors at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream is only exceeded by the eclectic collection of art adorning its walls. While you're ordering, check out icons to Beyonce and Admiral Ackbar of "Star Wars" fame, delightfully awkward family portraits and artist renderings of figures who might be Matt Damon or Jesus, or someone altogether different. 21 S. Ninth St. https://sparkyshomemadeicecream.com/

More:These five local beers in Columbia will satisfy your summer thirst

Catch a tiger by the stripe

Among Columbia's most iconic dishes is Tiger Stripe ice cream, made fresh by University of Missouri food science students at Buck's Ice Cream. A tasty testament to school spirit, the black-and-gold concoction twines French vanilla and Dutch chocolate — a much better option than some early experiments, as the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources website notes (orange sherbet and licorice, anyone?). Eckles Hall on the MU campus. https://cafnr.missouri.edu/bucks-ice-cream/

Have your ice cream in a float

It doesn't feel like summer in Columbia without a trip to Mugs Up, the little drive-in spot that could. Customers often wash down their cheese zip burgers and fries with a refreshing root beer. Add a scoop of ice cream to that treat — or to a Coke or orange soda — and you double the cool pick-me-up. 603 Orange St. 

More:Hermann Wurst Haus installs two German meat vending machines

Visit the paleteria

Taking its place in a rich tradition of popsicle shops, Columbia's Paleteria El Tajin offers a number of stay-cool treats. Fruit flavors take priority in the restaurant's ice cream selection — lemon, strawberry, mango when in season. And, of course, El Tajin serves up its namesake paletas, with tastes including mango, tamarind and pineapple — as is, or spiced with chile. 923 E. Broadway. https://paleteriaet.com/ 

Head south for some Central comfort

Drive 30-35 minutes south from Columbia into the state capital, and you'll find a familiar red logo with white cursive script. Central Dairy stocks the region's grocery stores with milk, ice cream and other dairy products, and its Jefferson City parlor feels like a return to a simpler time. Walk alongside the long, skinny counter line to make your selection, then take a wooden pew seat indoors or eat outside in the summer sun. 610 Madison St. in Jefferson City. https://centraldairy.biz/ice-cream-parlor/ 

Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at adanielsen@columbiatribune.com or by calling 573-815-1731.