08/29/2012 05:30 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Summer Loving: Artisan Ice Cream's Fun and Funky Flavors

There's no better time than summertime for ice cream, and this season has brought on a flurry of upstart, artisan and craft makers of the classic frozen treat. With totally unexpected (and amazing!) flavors like strawberry ricotta, Tennessee whiskey and french toast, it's a cool way to break away from the traditional, and incorporate a little fun into summertime desserts of all kinds.

Not that there isn't plenty of love for the old school and classic flavors by any means, but if you're hosting end-of-the-season and holiday parties and BBQs, these new startup ice cream companies can make the noshing all the more unique. If you can't find anything local, do not worry -- many of these new and exciting brands are happy to ship dry freeze to your door anywhere in the country, from the comforts of your home.

Rework the classic banana split with salted chocolate ice cream, or do a caramel sundae a new way with a salted caramel and top with chocolate sauce or marshmallow fluff. Most upstart makers are using both flavors. If you're not sure where to find them, a quick Google search can locate options. Shakes are so much more interesting with something like Steve's blackberry honey flavor.

If you're vegan, gluten-free, or organic, there are plenty of startup ice cream companies offering a range of amazing options. Going dairy free all together? There's even something for you, too. The Soft Serve Fruit Company is made of just pure cane sugar, water and fruit, and tastes as good as ice cream. We loved the chocolate, raspberry and mango flavors, but the ultimate favorite was the company's frozen banana cream pie. Just awesome!

Not only are these new and creative cool companies churning out fun and funky flavors, they're inspiring plenty of traditional ice cream makers and corporate brands to think out of the box as well.

To see more articles about unique, upstart and independent lifestyle products, or tips and insight on how to get the good life, check out this week's edition of Condiment magazine