Few things sweeten the last days of summer like a cold treat crafted in your own backyard.
Because when it comes to ice cream and gelato, Whatcom County residents - and lucky visitors - have plenty of locally made options to satisfy their cravings.
Like Sirena Gelato, at 960 Harris Ave. in Bellingham; 360-733-6700.
Bellingham resident Robin Ugurlu co-owns the gelato shop with her son Brian, who opened Sirena in 2005 after studying abroad in Italy. Sirena uses whole milk from local dairies and old-fashioned recipes from Italy to make its gelato.
Customer favorites include pistachio gelato - a creamy indulgence that gets its pale color from actual pistachios instead of green dye - the chocolaty richness of black cocoa, and the refreshing zing of lemon gelato. The gelato is displayed in shallow pans, the better to prime your taste buds.
"People eat with their eyes," Robin Ugurlu says.
Here are other places in Whatcom County to enjoy locally made flavors in the waning days of summer. (OK, who are we kidding? We're happy to savor these cold treats year-round.)
Acme Ice Cream, 1021 Harris Ave., Bellingham; 360-366-8135 or 360-366-8136.
Acme says it uses more cream than others and doesn't add air when crafting its sweet treats in small batches. And its flavors? Try strawberry or peaches, or dig into Station Stout, which uses oatmeal stout beer from Bellingham beer maker Boundary Bay Brewery. While you're there, check out the 1950s sci-fi decor, or grab a doughnut from Rocket Donuts, which shares the space.
Chocolate Necessities, 1426 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham; 360-733-6666.
The shop is rightfully known for its blissfully delicious truffles but its gelato is more than worthy of your attention. Employees make the gelato in the shop, and they say that the salted caramel is always in demand. If you need a pick-me-up, get an affogato - gelato with hot espresso poured over the cold treat. Sinfully good!
Edaleen Dairy, 1011 E. Grover St., Lynden; 360-746-8664.
Established in 1975, Edaleen Dairy is a Whatcom County institution that uses milk from its Holstein cows to make about 45 flavors of ice cream. Edaleen is known for its big scoops, low prices and great flavors.
Stop in at its parlor Grover Street to find out for yourself. Customer favorites include Fudgy Wudgy and Tin Roof Sundae. The black licorice and root beer flavors also are standouts.
Edaleen also has stores on Guide Meridian and in Sumas. This fall, Blaine residents won't have to drive far for a scoop of Edaleen ice cream; that's when its store and ice cream parlor at 458 Peace Portal Drive is expected to open.
Mallard Ice Cream, 1323 Railroad Ave., Bellingham; 360-734-3884.
This is the must-eat ice cream for people hungry for local flavors crafted with flair. Vanilla black pepper ice cream is surprisingly good as the two flavors play off each other. Ditto for lavender. Basic flavors, including strawberry and chocolate, are superb, and the non-dairy ices are so delicious you won't miss the cream.