Penna How-to: Host an Ice Cream Social

What's an ice cream social? Well, it's pretty much just what it sounds like―an opportunity to get social over ice cream. And it's not just for kids! Perfectly respectable adults have been gathering together over frozen treats since the 18th century. For modern party planners, an ice cream social is a great get-together theme. You can go as simple or as extravagant as you like. Here's a few suggestions for a frosty good time!

Potluck or hosted?

If you have a vision for how you'd like to present the frozen festivities, you may prefer to exert some control over things. It can be great fun coming up with a menu and setting out a spread for friends. If a group effort is more your thing, come up with a theme and invite guests to bring a frozen treat, topping or wine pairing (yes, we'll get to that!) for sharing. 

Homemade or store bought?

If you have the time and inclination, you can make your own ice cream ahead of time. All you need are a few simple ingredients and an ice cream maker. By making your own, you can truly customize your flavours. We love this recipe round-up from Western Living Magazine. 

Ice cream from scratch not your thing? No problem. Pick up the highest quality ice cream you can find in several flavours for your guests. Full fat, high end ice cream is the tastiest for those who can tolerate dairy. However, there are many nice sorbets and non-dairy options available. 


While an unadorned ball of well-made ice cream can tick all the boxes, the right toppings can elevate everything. From high-quality chocolate shavings to exotic fruit and yes, even confetti sprinkles, bowls of beautifully presented toppings make it a party. Go with a theme or ask guests to bring their favourites. 

Wine pairings

Obviously not for the kidlets, but wine can pair beautifully with ice cream. Consider a full bodied red with cherry sorbet, or pinot gris with lemon ice cream. And don't forget liqueurs! Amaretto on vanilla ice cream with raspberries or Frangelico over double chocolate with shaved almonds will blow your guests away. 

Set the table

As we said before, you can go as casual or as elegant as you like. For a more laid-back party, set the table with multi-coloured bowls―Fiestaware makes a great selection of cheery-hued bowls in different sizes and shapes. For a more sophisticated soiree, break out the crystal and put out the good flatware. On the flipside, you can fill cones and provide beautiful linen napkins for your guests. Another fun idea is to fill small mason jars will different flavours. This looks really pretty and allows guests to sample different confections. 

However you scoop it, any party centred around ice cream is going to be a success. And if you're not feeling up to party planning, just call up a few friends, place a tub of the good stuff on the table with a few spoons and call it an event! No one will complain, we promise.