Whiskey Hazelnut, Salted Butter, and Honey Lavender Goat Cheese. These may not be the ice cream flavours of your childhood, but they’re the kind being made by artisanal producers in Canada today. Our country’s ice cream culture is growing larger and more creative each year, with producers putting local cream and seasonal ingredients into their pints and choosing not to use the preservatives added by their commercial counterparts. It may be autumn, but we think these ice cream makers are worth checking out any time of the year.
Earnest Ice Cream, Vancouver
Ben Ernst and Erica Bernardi started making ice cream about two years ago, selling their recyclable glass pints at a few shops and markets out of their custom-built ice cream trike. Sought-after flavours include Salted Caramel (still the best we’ve had), seasonal batches like Roasted Rhubarb Oat Crumble and Blue Cheese Fig. Recently, they graduated from tricycle to ‘scoop shop’ where they offer pints, cones, coffee, and yes – affogatos!
Village Ice Cream, Calgary
Billy Friley feeds Calgary’s cravings from his inconspicuous charming shop on 10th Avenue S.E. A few years ago, he planned to study aerospace engineering, then switched to feeding blended cream, egg yolks and sugar to the masses, with plenty of help from family and friends to get the business started. His flavour roster includes Huckleberry, Phil and Sebastian Coffee, Fresh Watermelon Sorbet and Toasted Coconut. On a sunny day, you can sit outside and enjoy your cone or sundae on their tiny wooden porch.
Cornell Crème, various retailers in Manitoba
Cornell Crème is a notable new Manitoba ice cream company that uses milk from their very own farm. Lisa Dyck and her husband William are proud to be Manitoba’s first dairy producer processor, and their 1,000-acre farm, Cornell Dairy, is northeast of Winnipeg. They have 120 Holsteins that graze freely and are milked twice a day, 365 days a year, producing 98,000 litres of milk per month! Flavours include Natural Vanilla Bean (which we had the pleasure of trying in an ice cream sandwich), Lemon Meringue, and Malty Ale Pail.
If you run into Pascale selling her ice cream at a farmers market, you’ll notice two things: she’s wildly friendly and her samples are the largest you will ever have. By the time you’ve finished trying giant spoonfuls of Avocado Honey Lime, Banana Brown Butter and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, you’ll be so full you’ll need a nap. We purchased a pint of her Honey Lavender Goat Cheese ice cream, and are now considering a move to Ottawa, just to have a steady supply.
Kem CoBa, Montreal
A tiny shop in Montreal’s Mile End, it’s easily recognizable by a crowd all clutching cones. Run by duo Vincent and Nugoc, the brightly-coloured shop offers a variety of ice creams, fruity sorbets and an ever-changing blend of soft serve + sorbet. Our favourites were the salted butter ice cream (yes, that exists, and needs to be scooped over warm bread pudding ASAP), as well as the mango and blueberry sorbets.
By FEAST travel bloggers Lindsay Anderson & Dana VanVellerAB, Alberta