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  • Keeping up with the Joneses: The rise and rise of Berlin’s most creative ice-cream makers


Keeping up with the Joneses: The rise and rise of Berlin’s most creative ice-cream makers

After 10 years of whipping up creative ice cream combinations, Jones is expanding into two new spaces this summer.

Photo: Makar Artemev

Berlin is awash with artisan ice cream parlours but few do it as well as Schöneberg’s Jones. Headed by its namesake, Gabrielle Jones, a French (and French-trained) pastry chef who founded the business with her partner, Jan Diekmann, the ice cream joint is known for an impressive menu that offers ambitious flavours like cherry-tonka bean and licorice-black caramel.

Jones by no means shuns the traditional vanilla and chocolate; rather, they arrange them in out-of-the-box constellations. Think vanilla-caramel brownies or the intriguing mix of Earl Grey, shortbread and lemon curd. But it’s not just their creative flavours that impress here; all elements of Jones’ ice cream – from shortbread to marshmallows to cones – are made from scratch, and it’s evidently worth the effort. This year, on the occasion of its 10th birthday, Jones is expanding not once but twice.

At some point you just have to jump in

For most of Jones’ decade in business, getting your hands on these frozen treats required a trip to a Schöneberg storefront, which opened in 2016. In the two years prior to that, Jones operated from a small truck, churning just five litres of ice cream at a time. Now, it’s growing again, with the company set to triple in size. A new location opened in the spring in Prenzlauer Berg near Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn, and a third location on Kreuzberg’s Wiener Straße is set to open in July.

The Prenzlauer Berg location is smaller (though P’Berg families can escort their cones to Mauerpark two minutes away), while Kreuzberg will have seating, a coffee machine and an overall similar vibe to the Schöneberg original, complete with a charming interior design that features coloured tiles and natural, wood-like textures, inspired by ice cream shops in summer destinations in the northeast of the US, like Cape Cod or the Hamptons, where Jones worked as a private chef for years.

Photo: Makar Artemev

The secret to Jones’ success is its owner’s fiery passion for the frosty treat. While Jones herself is a lifelong fan (“I’ve always been into ice cream, it was my favourite thing to eat as a kid”), she’s far beyond a mere enthusiast now, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of milk-fat ratios and which sugars play well with which ingredients for a smooth, scoopable dessert.

The reason it took so long to expand is perhaps because she’s so passionate. Jones always envisaged more stores (“According to our business plan, we should be all over Germany already,” she laughs) but didn’t want to open a new location until it was exactly right – and the right combination of a friendly landlord with decent rent in two locations just happened to crop up this year. “At some point you just have to jump in,” Jones says.

Photo: Makar Artemev

They’re also hoping that expanding might ease the burden on their heavily-trafficked existing location. “Already last year in Schöneberg, it was too small, too hot, too noisy and very hard for the staff to work. And we feel it. When they’re not happy, we’re not happy either.” To that end, the creamery is also moving into a commercial kitchen in Wedding to churn its dairy delicacies, although this won’t be open to the public.

The secret to Jones’ success is its owner’s fiery passion for the frosty treat

But for all the changes, Jones will still be Jones – while the ice creamery will no longer offer its popular cookies, you can still expect ice cream flavours that range from creative to classic, created with Jones’ sixth sense for ingredient pairing. “My inspirations are the traditional American and English pastries. Things like carrot cake, cheesecake; in summer we have lemon pie, peanut butter and jam, the burned marshmallows, the shortbread – there’s something very comforting that I like about it. And lots of caramel, brownies, pecans, all those things that I’ve been enjoying all those years in the US.” In the name of quality, Jones only produces ice cream in small batches. Once you scale up, she says, it gets disproportionately harder to make sure the cold dessert stays smooth and consistent.

Photo: Jones Ice Cream / Gabrielle

The Jones catalogue boasts roughly 40 flavours, although only around half are served at any one time. These may include outré recipes like cucumber-tonic, a refreshing sorbet that Jones says is magical during peak summer heat. Then there’s roasted chicory, a creation Jones is particularly proud of. “I come from the north of France, and during the war people didn’t have money to buy coffee. They replaced it with chicory: it’s like a very nice mix between liquorice, coffee and caramel.”

Since these more intriguing options tend to be harder to sell (“For German people, chicory means the salad,” Jones laments), they often pop up for a limited time only. And you don’t need to break the bank to try it: a scoop (of any flavour) is €2.70 – a good deal for all of the love and craftsmanship that goes into it.

But if creative ice cream is not your cup of tea, Jones will always offer a bunch of more classic options for those with a sweet tooth. “We can’t only do unusual flavours. You’ve still got to have a vanilla-base or a choco-base for kids.” And in future, there might be even more places you can pick them up. But prepare to wait – with two new stores in 2024, Jones says that she’ll hold off until after 2025 to potentially churn out new locations.

  • Jones Goltzstr. 3, Schöneberg & Eberswalder Str. 32, Prenzlauer Berg, details.