Move over, Baskin-Robbins! Find small-batch ice creams and gelatos at Baton Rouge sweets shops

At La Divina Italian Cafe, starting with dessert is encouraged.

Owner Lance LeBlanc recommends ordering a little gelato as an appetizer. It’s kind of hard to pass up when 24 frozen options glow from case, from the sophisticated Rum Raisin to the kid-cherished Cotton Candy.

“The flavors that we offer generally catch somebody,” he says. “Once they get to the case … they say ‘Well, how can I say no?’”

La Divina’s most-scooped flavors are Cotton Candy, Cookies & Cream and Azteca, according to owner Lance LeBlanc.

Lance and his wife, Mary, have been serving scoops of ice cream’s Italian, egg-free cousin since 2013. Gelato doesn’t require storage as cold as ice cream, and the slightly warmer serving temps allow palates a better taste of the flavor profiles, Mary says.

The small-batch flavors are inspired by seasonal ingredients or customer requests. Lance swears by the tart Amarena Cherry, but Mary has a hard time choosing a favorite.

“I love my gelato like I love my children—some a little more on certain days than others,” Mary says. “On a summer day, I might love a Strawberry sorbet. When I need a little comfort in my life, I might go for some Chocolate.”


Further down Perkins Road, Gail’s Fine Ice Cream also has a frosty selection, with up to 16 flavors dreamed up by its team.

Co-owner Nick Hufft claims the Lemon Berry Icebox Pie—a combo of tangy lemon curd, berry puree and graham cracker pieces—as his favorite.

“It’s fatty, rich and crunchy,” he notes. “It eats better in the summer, and it eats just as great Christmas Day.”

Of course, Gail’s slings seasonal-specific flavors, too. Think: Little Debbie cake-stuffed scoops for winter, and spiced Pumpkin Caramel Crunch in the fall.

Some are blink-and-you’ll miss-them micro-specials, made in batches as small as 6 or 9 gallons with limited ingredients or seasonal farmers market finds.

Co-owner Lance LeBlanc says the Amarena Cherry is his personal favorite flavor.

And La Divina and Gail’s each have their sights set on expansion, with second Baton Rouge locations as longterm goals. Their products may melt away, but these local spots are here to stay.

Guess we’re all screaming for ice cream.

“Someone stole my gelato cone!”

It towers 7 feet high on La Divina Italian Cafe’s quaint patio: a multi-scoop, 100-pound cone. But, did you know this dessert decoration, originally manufactured in Italy, was once swiped in broad daylight?

“I looked up and noticed it was missing,” Owner Lance LeBlanc remembers. “I’m like ‘Wait, where’s my cone?’ … Someone stole my gelato cone, which is kind of silly to say.”

Luckily, a few days later, it was anonymously returned with some damages.

Today, it’s displayed proudly with a bright mountain of snow-white whipped cream and a red cherry on top. Its four scoops resemble popular La Divina flavors, which Lance rotates out. Sometimes, he even changes the cherry to a Santa hat—or an LSU helmet.

This article was originally published in the June 2024 issue of 225 Magazine.