Come summer, ice cream is pretty much its own food group. It’s completely acceptable to eat as a snack, a meal, or both if you’re feeling up to it. To sate all of your frozen treat cravings, check out these favourite spots from coast to coast.
(Photo above of Earnest Ice Cream by Christine Rondeau on Flickr.)
Village Ice Cream – Calgary
“Villagers”, as Village’s diehard are called, are a species in and of themselves. These fans will seek out Village’s signature salted caramel and other flavours--from the more unusual cardamom or Earl Grey to the familiar, like chocolate and strawberry, as well as non-dairy treats--even in the dead of winter. Village knows how to take their caramel just far enough (almost burnt but not quite) for that extreme depth of flavour I’ve yet to find in any other ice cream.
Kem Coba – Montreal
La Diperie – Montreal
Sometimes the coating that an ice cream cone is dipped in is just as important, if not more so, than the ice cream itself. This is the focus at La Diperie. Choose your hard-shell dip (I recommend the dulce de leche or salted chocolate), and then dunk it in the toppings of your choice. Pretzels and Oreos are both fan favourites.
Bella Gelateria – Vancouver
With two locations in Vancouver, Bella Gelateria prides itself on working with local producers to showcase seasonal flavours that are all made from scratch. Buffalo milk gelato? You’ve got it. Relax and stay for an espresso while you’re at it.
Earnest Ice Cream – Vancouver
Even the non-dairy consumers among us can enjoy a treat at Earnest. It’s got flavours including chocolate and mint chip for the vegans among us. Or, if you’re OK with moo-cow dairy, try creative offerings like lemon poppy seed or the seasonal rhubarb oat crumble. You can bet that it has flavours you’ve never tasted before.
Bang Bang Ice Cream – Toronto
Prepare yourself for this one, lest you go into a sugar coma. Bang Bang’s ice cream sandwiches will ruin you for Klondike bars forever. Homemade cookies with homemade ice cream; does it get any better? Bring a lot of friends so you can sample a bit of everything! Just don’t tell anyone about the bourbon bacon ice cream so you can save it all for yourself.
Ed’s Real Scoop – Toronto
When a place has been making ice cream for decades, you know its must be doing something right. Ed’s might not offer the more elaborate flavours of modern ice cream shops, but it has certainly perfected the classics. Sundaes, milkshakes, floats, and ice cream cakes are all hits here.
BDI (Bridge Drive In) – Winnipeg
There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as an old-school drive in. Bridge Drive In, or BDI as locals call it, has been serving ice cream to Winnipeggers and visiting friends for over 55 years. Eleven flavours of soft serve: that’s all you need to know.
Stella Luna Gelato Café – Ottawa
Voted the 4th best gelato in North America in 2014, Stella Luna is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the Ottawa area. Whether you’re on the hunt for gelato, sorbet, or even a gelato cake, your sweet tooth is guaranteed to be satisfied here.
Cows – locations across Canada
Cows is to Canada what Ben & Jerry’s is to the States. If you have to sum it up simply, their flavours are fun, fun and decadent, that is. Cookie dough, brownie chunks, caramel swirls; they are all yours to discover. And forget about the calories here, they really don’t matter.