Based on numerous reviews on Tripadvisor and other well-known Paris food blogs, Berthillon is probably the best ice cream shop in Paris, if not the entire world. Reviews rave how amazing the ice cream tastes so obviously Hubster and I were intrigued to go looking for this place. We had just finished a very filling lunch at Auberge Etchegorry and Hubster actually wasn’t interested in anything but since it was on the way, I insisted we had to try it out especially because it would be our only opportunity before we flew home. Sadly, it is only open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am -7pm so a relatively narrow window to really see if the praise was warranted. It is located on the smaller of the two natural islands that sits in the middle of the River Seine, Île Saint-Louis, so if you’re already at Notre Dame, it’s a very short walk to Berthillon.
Thankfully, when we arrived, there wasn’t a line at all so we quickly perused the menu and walked out with a scoop of fraise (strawberry) and caramel au beurre sele (salted butter caramel). Truth be told, we have never yet found a salted caramel ice cream that has surpassed Bi Rite Creamery’s version. In fact, we’re thoroughly disappointed every time we buy a scoop or a quart from anywhere, but I decided to give it a try once again considering there were some positive comments about that particular flavor. There were quite a few other interesting flavors as well. I totally would have gotten more, but for fear of Hubster calling me a piggy, I demonstrated some restraint and made the tough decision of narrowing it down to only two.
I always lean more toward fruity flavors, so I have a high bar. This strawberry ice cream had such an intense flavor so distinctly fruity but refreshing that I can’t say I’ve ever tasted any strawberry flavor like it. It was almost like a sorbet but had just a touch more cream to give it a richer texture.
The salted butter caramel was equally awesome. I think it might have a slight edge in my book compared to Bi Rite’s only because the butteriness of this ice cream made it so delectably rich and creamy. I wasn’t initially a huge fan of Salted Caramel ice cream, because my taste buds were confused by the salty sweet oddity of it. However, this has definitely changed over time. If I had to choose between these two flavors, I would give a slight edge to Salted Butter Caramel mostly because it is so much harder to find.
Needless to say, both flavors were unforgettably delicious! The scoops are a little on the small side, but that is coming from my “I’m an American and I’m used to huge serving sizes” perspective. I wish I could have gone back for more, but I will have to wait till next time… when I return. All in all, it might possibly be true that this is one of the best ice creams in the world.
29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île
PAFO Ratings for Berthillon:
Ambiance 3½ stars
Food 4½ stars
Overall rating 4½ stars