It was a stifling, sultry day in Houma, Louisiana, when Dave (aka "Seprock") tasted his first snoball—a New Orleans–style frozen treat of soft shaved ice drenched in sweet syrup. Dazzled by its delicate texture and rich flavor, Dave became determined to bring the treat back to his hometown. With his wife's blessing, he eventually opened his own snoball shop in a cheerful plaza in Hunter's Creek.
Today, Seprock’s Snow is a kaleidoscope of color. Bright walls surround vibrantly decorated tables, and servers adorn icy snoballs with a rainbow of fruity syrups. Dave and his staff also stuff their treats full of creamy ice cream to add an extra dimension of goodness and help patrons sneak dairy past airport security. For colder days, they supplement their frozen treats and wash customers' tongues clean of their red, blue, and green color with steaming coffee, hot cocoa, and apple cider.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
Ben & Jerry’s shops offer a variety of frozen concoctions, from classic triple scoops ($4–5), sundaes ($5–7), and milk shakes ($5–7) to fair-trade-certified coffee drinks. Swirl spoons around scoops of the famous original flavors at Ben & Jerry’s, such as Cherry Garcia, Imagine Whirled Peace, Triple Caramel Chunk, Chunky Monkey, Chocolate Therapy, Milk & Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and New York Super Fudge Chunk. Every flavor of ice cream can also be cocooned in the crispy blanket of a waffle cone or transformed into a thick, sippable milk shake, and low-fat, fat-free, and dairy-free flavors are also available for the figure-conscious or those still suffering from butterfat-related night terrors.
12 flavors of non-fat frozen yogurt swirl in their dispensers at Swirl Frozen Yogurt Bar. Patrons layer whorls of the creamy, cold treat into cups before sprinkling on chocolate candy, crispy cereal, and dozens of other toppings. Calcium and probiotics make each bite healthy as well as delicious.
Delish New York Bakery, deemed the wellspring of Orlando’s best cupcakes by City’s Best, infuses desserts with East Coast flair and bakes them in-house daily. Touch tongues to familiar vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, fill a picnic basket with the buttermilk spice rendition, or put a red-velvet cupcake in a terra cotta pot and water it twice a week. The remaining flavors in the sampler include marble, lemon, cappuccino, New Yorker in paradise, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate coconut, raspberry-filled, and cookies and cream.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.