Israeli summers are too hot not to have a frozen treat in hand at all times. And while iced coffee and limonana are worthy of the spotlight, there’s a whole world of icy goodies waiting for you to discover them at any makolet (corner store) or kiosk. We set out to create the ultimate ranking of Israeli frozen treats, from popsicles to ice creams to slushies. If you were waiting for a sign to book a last-minute vacation to the holy land, this is it.
1. Artik Avatiach
Unmistakably watermelon in flavor and appearance, this is the undisputed queen of Israeli popsicles. Though it labels itself a sorbet, it has a pleasant creaminess that strikes the balance between refreshing and indulgent. We just wished we looked as cool in our shades as the fruit on the packaging. Iconic.
Although the amount of gummy bears has woefully declined in the past decade, the gumigum is still one of the best popsicles around. And not just because of the semi-frozen candy inside. The lemon sorbet is deliciously tart against the sweetness of the strawberry sorbet, and we love how they’re woven together in a funky, tie dye effect. So on trend.
3. Iced Pasiflora
Long overshadowed by ice cafe (a popular frozen coffee drink akin to a Starbucks Frappuccino), this tangy, textural passion fruit slushy is Israel’s most underrated iced beverage. The seeds floating inside indicate that it may even be made with real fruit, though the neon orange color suggests otherwise. Either way, it’s tongue-tingly refreshing. Just remember to give it a stir every so often to avoid ending up with a cup full of ice.
4. Toot-Banana Shots
These little balls of frozen juice are dispensed out of a container that resembles a garbage can, immediately melt when they hit your hand, and make everything sticky. But they’re so good. They come in strawberry-banana flavor, a combination inexplicably beloved nationwide, and are somehow both artificial and delicious.
While falooda isn’t exactly available at every corner store, once upon a time, it was a frozen favorite. Iranian immigrants introduced Israel to falooda, and continue to sell it at food markets country-wide (Tel Aviv’s Levinsky market is a great place to start). It’s a sweet rose water slushy with thin vermicelli-like noodles floating inside, often served with a squeeze of citrus and ground nuts. Textural, fragrant, and cooling — what’s not to love?
Shokobo serves as a reminder that keeping it simple is the secret to success. It may look like a standard popsicle — milk chocolate-coated chocolate ice cream — but it hides a naughty secret: a center of solid chocolate. Be sure to let it thaw a little in the sun before biting down, or risk getting a broken tooth.
Devouring a huge Magnum in the sun sometimes feels a bit much, which is why Crunch ice creams are our creamy treat of choice. They’re classic — flavored with various combinations of chocolate, nougat, and vanilla — with an edge: the signature, crunchy rice-crispy coating. A good effort, but not quite as good as the shokobo.