Believe it or not it’s summer and, as we all know, that means ice cream. Despite the sun appearing in the sky about as frequently as Victoria Beckham appears at Spice Girls reunions, Brighton and Hove supports a thriving collection of parlours, from established outfits such as Maroccos and Scoop & Crumb to new contenders Gelato Gusto and Cloud 9. These aren’t just your standard strawberry/ chocolate/vanilla varieties either; instead think weird – peanut butter, avocado, blue cheese, garlic – and decidedly wonderful flavours such as Turkish Delight, apple pie and cake batter.

The Guide takes a lick (geddit?) at five of the best places to stop and buy one.

  • Maroccos

One of the oldest ice cream emporiums in the city, a trip to this Italian-run, beachfront restaurant is a must on a hot day, but prepare to queue – after 40-odd years in business, Maroccos is no secret.

Its traditional, slightly kitsch stylings – espresso machines, Italian maps, signed photos of celebrity guests – belie a more experimental approach when it comes to the ice cream menu. All made on the premises (hopefully not by the slightly creepy chef figurine that stands guard) and served from a hatch outside, take your pick from flavours that include After Eight, apple pie, strawberry cheesecake, raspberry yoghurt and blueberry delight.

While primarily a restaurant which serves good pizza, pasta and seafood to tourists and locals alike, that Maroccos continues to be best known for its ice cream surely says something about the quality of the product.

Maroccos, Kings Esplanade, Hove, 01273 203764  

  • Cloud 9

Located in The Lanes, Cloud 9 is a sweet-toothed dream of a shop, selling everything from glittery cupcakes to outlandish ice cream flavours all under the same roof.

After opening in 2010, its modest aim to make the best ice cream and cakes in Brighton, owners Hannah and Paul say they haven’t had a day off since. With an emphasis on using only the best natural ingredients and making everything fresh in-house, Cloud 9 backs up its claims about “passion and creativity” with some of the most unusual ice creams you’ll taste.

How unusual? Well, think blue cheese, garlic and other savoury flavours, although they also make less alarming varieties including Chunky Cheesecake and Perfect Peanut Butter.

For those who want to cut out the middle man, Cloud 9 runs numerous classes where you can learn to make both cupcakes and ice cream and have a lot of fun getting covered in sprinkles and choc chips in the process. “Bring your friends, bring your kids, bring your grandma!” they urge. “We promise you won’t be disappointed.”

Cloud 9, Brighton Place, The Lanes, 01273 723020

  • Boho Gelato

Ever wondered what the Brighton Fringe might taste like? The guys at Boho Gelato have. In May, they launched a competition to find out which flavours the public thought summed up the annual arts festival best – turns out it was Tuaca, stem ginger and “Arty Neapolitan” (aka hazelnut, raspberry and white chocolate), which they duly turned into special ice creams.

It was a stunt typical of fiendishly inventive owner Seb Cole, whose shop boasts an ever-changing collection of flavours (280 at the last count), inspired by everything from childhood sweets to classic cocktails (Mint Julep anyone?).

After a visit to France last month, he returned with ingredients such as edible flowers, Calvados glaze and absinthe and incorporated them into new ice creams; others arise from customer suggestion and experimentation.

The range is so dizzying, it would be possible to eat a different flavour almost every day of the year, but must-trys include Brighton Rock (sweetly minty with chunks of pink rock), lavender and honey, cream tea, and marmalade on toast – although perhaps not all in the same sitting.

Marking its two-year anniversary this month with a nomination in the Best Food Shop category of the Brighton & Hove Foodie Awards, find out what all the fuss is about (and perhaps cast your vote) by making a beeline down to Pool Valley.

Boho Gelato, Pool Valley, 01273 727205

  • Gelato Gusto

Opened in March (by actor and former Corrie killer Brian Capron , no less), Brighton’s newest ice cream cafe was founded by BAFTA-winning producer and director Jon Adams who, like many city residents, gave up a fast-paced career in the capital to try something a little different.

Adams’ takeover meant a dramatic makeover for the Gardner Street building (latterly a vintage clothes shop) and Gelato Gusto’s elegant frontage and large windows now make it one of the city’s most aesthetically appealing parlours.

The products on sale within are no different; dig into several scoops served in powder-blue pots with printed wafers, or a sundae in a proper glass, complete with chocolate straws and a cherry on top.

Produced daily in small batches, up to 30 ice cream flavours are on offer every day, including lemon meringue, toffee popcorn, salted caramel, and mascarpone and pear. They also sell gelato desserts, semifreddo and hot Belgian waffles.

Gelato Gusto, Gardner Street, 01273 772310

  • Gelataria de Luca

If anyone’s going to know how to make proper gelato, it’s an Italian and all the staff at this Kemp Town parlour are not only Italian but were also trained in Turin, a city renowned throughout Italy for the quality of its ice cream.

Claiming to be “the only authentic gelato in Brighton”, it was the realisation of a long-held dream when manager Felice De Luca opened the cafe and bar in August last year. He had carried out extensive research in Turin and wanted to bring the authentic taste of the ice cream he had tasted there to his new hometown of Brighton.

Alongside traditional favourites, it offers flavours including cinnamon, tiramisu and stracciatella, all made on the premises using natural ingredients. Those in search of a particularly extravagant treat should make room for the sundaes, which can be enjoyed sitting outside while people-watching on colourful St James’s Street – bellissimo!

Open late and also home to some seriously good Italian coffee, find out more at www.gelataria

Gelataria De Luca, St James’s Street, 01273 698694