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Shambhala 2017

Shambhala 2017

By Michelle Swami August 11 – 14, 2017 Salmo River Ranch, BC VANCOUVER – This year marked the 20th anniversary of…

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Fluffy Kittens is a sanctuary for those who like their cream iced and their kombucha in a float

By Paris Spence-Lang
fluffy-kittens

Come for the flavours, stay for the hanging basket chair, do the namesake proud.

VANCOUVER — What makes a great pillow and is also the name of Vancouver’s newest ice cream shop? Fluffy Kittens.

It’s dinnertime on a cold day that threatens rain, but people are still filling the Chinatown shop. The David Bowie soundtrack only pauses for Queen and kids are spinning in a hanging nest. Everything is ridiculously pastel.

I’m struck by a large splotch of pink on the otherwise-whitewashed walls, the focal point of the shop. Random names are scrawled in cursive on this splotch: Salt Lick, Tubify, Say Hello, Artisto. Are these flavours? Can I eat them? I have so much to learn.

It turns out these are the ice cream, gelato, and popsicle makers, most of them severely local and love-intensive. The freezers — known as “dipping cabinets” to the aficionados — reveal the true flavours, but even these are strangers to my Neapolitan upbringing: maple fennel, buttermilk rhubarb, peach bourbon, chocolate chili. Though they do have vanilla. “To be honest, it’s one of my favourites,” says Claudine Michaud.

Michaud is now on my Interesting Persons list. The owner of a Kitsilano spa, she originally intended to open up a wellness center and organic café — when the adjacent space was offered, she grabbed it to host pop-ups. But when one fell through — an ice cream shop — she wanted a scoop so badly she decided to open her own.

Now, Michaud and her business partner and partner-partner Kirin — the Rennies of the holistic world — are hooked, and I can see why. Michaud has her favourite flavour stashed in the back. Kirin is sipping a draft of Hoochybooch Kombucha (that’s right: they have it on tap, and they do floats). The refurbished shop is a true mundane-to-sundae affair.

And as the community rallies in this small space of hanging nests and damn good ice cream, I understand why it is full on a rainy Fall evening. Because how can you say no to ice cream, and love — and how can you say no to Fluffy Kittens?

Fluffy Kittens is located at 611 Gore Avenue and is open from 3 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., Monday – Sunday.

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