ice cream

The scoop on ice cream in Central New York

We all scream for ice cream this time of year, but in my world, nobody screams ice cream more than my friend M.F. (Mary Frances) Piraino.

Frannie p portraitM.F., better known as Fran, is a freelance writer and social media manager who lives in Syracuse. We used to work together at The Post-Standard and have been “freelance friends’’ since we left the newspaper in 2009.

Fran is also a major league ice cream enthusiast. If you follow her on social media, a highlight is her posts using the hashtag #franniepicecreamtours. When the weather warms up in the spring and until the snow flies, you can count on Fran (with her husband, Bob) to hit as many local ice cream spots as possible – and share a taste online with her friends and followers. She has the scoop on local stands and their frozen assets, which isn’t surprising for a former newspaper reporter with a passion for frosty treats.

Fran says her affinity for ice cream can be traced to childhood, when her grandfather would take her and her sister out for a cone. “Going to an ice cream stand for a soft vanilla cone was a big deal to me and a special treat back in the day (and still is),’’ Fran says. “It’s one of summer’s simple pleasures.’’

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Tag along with her virtually on #franniepicecreamtours and you pick up on certain patterns: She has a soft spot for vanilla, chocolate, coconut and lemon ice cream and is somewhat faithful to those flavors, in various forms. “I’m not overly adventurous when it comes to certain flavors,’’ she says. “Every once and a while I may try a new flavor or different sundae combo, but not too often. If I find something I like, I stick with it.

“Even when I travel, I always seek out a local place for a scoop or two,’’ she adds.

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It's late August, but in the spirit of there still being plenty of summer left, here are five of Fran’s favorite ice cream spots:

•  Gannon’s Ice Cream: “The king of cones in Syracuse.’’ Favorite flavors: Strawberries and Cream (seasonal), Lemon Custard, Chocolate Pie.

•   Sno Top, Manlius: “An OG stand with a top-notch Vanilla Pepsi Float.’’

•  Emmi’s Antonio’s Ice Cream, Liverpool: “My go-to here is a Heath Chip Razzle (also known as a Flurry) with soft vanilla ice cream. Most stands only offer Heath Bar crumbles, I prefer the Heath Chips.’’

•  Arctic King, Central Square: “The Strawberry Shortcake Sundae is elite.”

•  Gabrielle Chocolates and Ice Cream, Manlius. “Lots of delicious homemade ice cream and custards to choose from.’’

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