Celebrate Ice Cream day with these Toronto cones

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This Sunday, July 17 is National Ice Cream Day. The day you can legitimately eat as much ice cream as you want.  I think 2016 can best be described as year of the cone, as the lowly ice cream wafer waffle is making way to more substantial dough based cones from Mexico and Europe.  Stuffed with sweet fillings, they’re oversized and over the top.

Pancho’s Bakery in Kensington Market features a churro cone.  This sweet baby is freshly made, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and served slightly warm.

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Sauce is poured into the cone, filled with ice cream and topped with fruity cereal, walnuts or coconut.

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Dulce de Leche, chocolate ice cream and walnuts is a delicious combination.  It’s served in a plastic cup and spoon so that you can scoop up all the deliciousness.

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The next great cone is Eva’s Original Chimney’s which started as a food truck but you can find them at the Union Summer market until September 5. A very popular vendor at the market where you’ll find Bay St. suits lining up at lunch for  one of these.  Try to get there earlier in the week, Monday to Wednesday and later in the afternoon, there will be a much shorter queue and a lot less waiting.

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These crispy and light chimneys are baked and rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Fillings include apple compote, Nutella and strawberry preserves and topped soft-serve ice cream, more chocolate, bits of brownies or fruit.

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So far  I’ve had Eva’s Apple Pie and Berrylicious.  The soft-serve is great tasting and better than what you’ll get anywhere else. There are still a couple on the menu, so I guess I’ll have to go back!

Enjoy National Cone day on Sunday.  Drop me a line and let me know how you indulged.  Bon Appetit, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to get the best frozen treats on a stick in Toronto

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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.

Strawberry, guava and coconut ice pop

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.

Paletas menu

The menu lists twenty different flavour combinations split between dairy and water/ fruit juice based.

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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.

Pina Colada Wrestlers

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.
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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.

IMG_7476 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.

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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.

IMG_7479If 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!

Time to Scream for Ice Cream

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Well, it’s time to scream for ice cream and here’s my rundown on the best places in Toronto to get your summer fix.

Opened just before last Labor Day, Sweet Jesus has been superstylin’ soft serve with everything from cotton candy to brownies.

The Campfire S’mores, Lemon Coconut cream pie are true to their name. The Sweet Baby Jesus is chocolaty, nutty with peanut butter and warm fudge.  Sweet Jesus is on John St. at the back of La Carnita. While the entrance is tucked away in the corner you can’t miss the long queue of customers.  The service is fast so you won’t wait long for your ice cream salvation.

My next stop was Bang Bang Ice Cream on 93 Ossington St. just above King.

At the door you’ll find the chalkboard with instructions – pick your edible container, whether it be a waffle, chou paste shell or cookies (full or half) and order your ice creams.

Bang Bang Containers

A huge choice of homemade, handmade funky flavours are listed on buckets on the wall. From Banana Pudding to lychee to Ginger Milk, there’s a quirky flavour for everyone.

Bang Bang flavours

The enormous waffle cone will hold two gigantic scoops of ice cream, so my decision was made. The waffle is made fresh and takes a few minutes.  I filled mine with a scoop of Burnt Toffee and Maltease Me.

Bang Bang cone

To lighten my calorie intake, I visited Grk Yrkt – read Greek yogurt in Kensington Market.  A tiny shop at 291 Augusta Ave. serves up sweet and savoury toppings on your choice of fresh or frozen yogurt.  A simple menu include some savoury choices like the Market which is cucumber, sundried tomato and toasted super seeds.

I love peaches and the Beach Party seemed a good cool down to a very hot and humid day in Toronto. The combination of fresh, not too sweet peach preserves, toasted coconut and white chocolate is satisfying.

Beach Party

I’ve not been a great fan of fro’ yo’ in the past, but this real version has made me a devotee to this tiny shop on Augusta.  These handcrafted frozen treat shops are offering unique choices for you to cool down this summer.  I will continue to support their efforts by making as many trips back as I can! Do you have a favourite frozen treat shop you’d like to mention? Let me know. Bon appetit, friends!

 

 

Get yourself to the Bean and Baker Malt Shop!

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Bean and Baker Sign

Liezel and Bren Anderson are hoping to create memories for a new generation of a malt shop customers.  After over a year of planning, they’ve opened the Bean and Baker Malt Shop where you can get a proper milkshake or ice cream dessert, as well as other homemade sweet or savoury treats.

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Tuesday’s hot humid weather was a good excuse, not that I needed one, to get a malted milkshake, so I headed out to find Toronto’s newest spot.  The Bean and Baker Malt Shop is at corner of Grace and Harbord Streets by Bickford Park. The store in a earlier life, housed a drug store with a counter that served ice cream. Liezel and Bren have done a brilliant job creating a great old-fashioned soda shop, replete with a chromed red and white interior, checkerboard floor, swivel stools and uniformed soda jerks to serve you.

The blackboard menu lists the treats including sodas, shakes, malted milkshakes and coffee creations.  A sweet assortment of pastries made daily by Liezel, who is a former pastry chef, includes flaky cherry hand-pies, lemon meringue tarts, éclairs filled with a creamed custard and the popular bacon and pecan butter tart.  For those who are not big sweet tooths, there are savoury pies from Wisey’s, the New Zealand style bakery on Roncesvalles.

I order the espresso shake with coffee ice cream and malt. It comes garnished with whipped cream, a malt ball and some crunchy bits of chocolate. Served in a tall glass with the remaining shake left for you in the metal cup.

MaltedA good milkshake is about the ratio of milk to ice cream. Bren’s espresso malted shake floats at the midpoint between being solid enough to hold a straw upright but runny enough to easily be sucked up the straw.

The coffee meshes well with the nutty, buttery notes of malt, which heightens the richness of the ice cream.

I try to take my time drinking it, but it’s going down pretty fast. I am tempted to have a second one, it’s that good!Empty Glass2

Another dessert they make is the Old School lunch pie. It’s a combination peanut butter and chocolate pudding pie with raspberry jam on a graham cracker crust topped with whipped cream. I look forward to trying this later this summer.

Dietary restrictions? No problem. Bean and Baker offer gluten-free, non-dairy and even vegan ice creams so that everyone can enjoy cold treats.

If you’re in the mood for an old-fashioned soda or ice cream or sweet treat this summer, you know where you need to go!

Hey, Sunday, July 17 is National Ice Cream day, so you better get yourself to Bean and Baker Malt Shop, pronto!!

IL Gelato di Carlotta – an Italian Ice Cream Destination in Niagara-on-the-Lake

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Halloween has come and gone and there were a few days last week when snow flurries started to make their appearance. It’s been several weeks since my last post and the colder weather and shorter days begin are making me reminisce back to this summer’s last gelato hurrah.

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My last weekend day trip was to Niagara-on-the-Lake. As usual, I was researching where to eat, when I found what I think is one of best gelato stores I have ever been to, Il Gelato di Carlotta.  A very busy and charming store that is authentically Italian.  I read somewhere that much of the equipment in this cute and bustling gelateria was brought in from the mother country, so the look and feel is authentic and smells of coffee and pizzelle.

Gelato Burger making

As I arrive, a tour bus has unloaded a group who wait patiently for samples and place their orders before they go to the theatre. The place is packed but the line-up moves quickly and it is my turn.  I order a gelato burger, which seems to impress the woman who takes my order.  She is further tickled when I ask for the Gelato DiCarlotta as the filling, which is their signature flavour.

Gelato Burger

She fills a bun made of pate-a-chou with Gelato di Carlotta and warms inside an expressly made piece of equipment.   The bun is slightly toasted and the gelato is warmed to the consistency of a thick pastry cream.
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The woman walks to the other side of the counter where she drizzels (heavily) warm, melted Nutella on top.  I see the other customers’ eyes follow my desert as I get my fork and make sure the take plenty of napkins.

I settle quickly on a bench out front in the sunlight, to begin the devouring.  This is the kind of ice-cream sandwich worth travelling two hours in traffic to get (as I did that day).  The Gelato DiCarlotta is smooth and silky and well, you can never go wrong with Nutella on anything. Oh, what a happy ending to a sunny day in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It’s available year-round, so my suggestion is get there soon.   Bon appetit!