Premium ice cream is never out of season. But the timing could hardly have been better for the arrival of Handels Vagen at the start of this summer. Located in the basement of the new Tokyu Plaza in Ginza, it boasts a modest footprint that seems appropriate to the artisan production scale of very superior gelatos and sorbets.
Notwithstanding the German-sounding name, the company was set up in Kyoto under the direction of Masaki Imamura, a trained chef of traditional Japanese cuisine, and this is just its first shop outside of Kansai. Many of the flavors are seasonal specials made with real fruit — with peach and mango currently the standouts.
Green tea enthusiasts should look no further than the Uji matcha. Boasting the resonant bitterness of ceremonial tea but little of the residual sharpness so often found in lesser green tea desserts, this may well be the best of its kind in Tokyo. The hojicha (roasted tea) and fresh pistachio flavors are also exceptional.
Through the end of September, Handels Vagen is also running a pop-up in a cute food truck at Daikanyama Log Road, right next to Fred Segal. The limited-edition lemon ice is definitely worth the detour.
Tokyu Plaza Ginza B2, 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; 03-3575-5300. Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; gelatos from ¥420 a cup (¥500 a cone); nearest station Ginza; no smoking; major credit cards; Japanese/English menu; little English spoken. For more information, visit www.handelsvagen.com.