Frozen treats have been trending over the past two summers. Artisanal and small batch ice cream and frozen pops on a stick stores are popping up with surprising and exciting flavours.
The hot and humid days last week had me working my list of ice cream shops and paleterias that needed to be sampled.
My first stop was Kekou Gelato House at 394 Queen St W. It’s late Wednesday afternoon with no lineup, so I take my time, review the menu and scan the display before deciding on the vegan Strawberry, Guava and Coconut pop.
The freshness of the strawberry and guava blend beautifully together. The coconut top layer brings this tropical treat together with a creamy finish. Kekou has many choices including traditional dairy gelato but the vegan options are delicious and are made in-house with real fruit.
Next stop, Wrestlers paleteria in Kensington Market. Opened just this May, this basement store below La Tortilleria is a long, sparsely decorated space with enough seats to stay awhile enjoy your dessert. But as you walk to the back where the cases of paletas are, suddenly the room lights up with happy colours and bright flavours.
The menu lists twenty different flavour combinations split between dairy and water/ fruit juice based.
I have the Pina Colada paleta, just plain this time. You can pimp your paleta by having it dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with a variety of optional topping for a few extra pesos.
Last but certainly not least on this frozen pop recognizance mission, I hit up Seven Lives Paleteria which also opened last month in Kensington Market.
A bright and cheery bubblegum pink store with all forms of traditional Mexican soft-serve, non-dairy delights and toppings to make any sugar rush better. What you will find here is cold, hot, sweet and spicy treats you won’t find anywhere else.
The daiquiri paleta has an unusual base of Tajin – a seasoning combination which includes chili peppers, sea salt and dehydrated lime. Traditionally used in Mexico as a seasoning on fresh fruit such as pears, apples, oranges, etc., it boosts the flavours and is mild enough for anyone to enjoy.
I found the Tajin a bit overwhelming at first, but it reminded me of a poolside drink from a beach holiday. It’s a taste that you have to acquire, and I’d try it again with a different flavour ice pop.
If you’re looking for something more than what Popsicle Pete offers, there are so many new combinations of creamy and fruity, sweet and savoury to amp up and cool your hot summer days. Toronto is bursting with frozen goodness vendors this year, so go and discover what’s new. Bon appétit, friends!