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Jul 28, 2008 11:45 AM

Kawartha Ice Cream

Kawartha Ice Cream is the Best Vanilla... Ever. This is another Ontario gem. If you haven't had any with some fresh Ontario Peaches or Berries on top... you need to ASAP.

You can buy a tub at Fresh & Wild (King & Spadina).

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  1. Unfortunately it didn't show that well in my blind tastings. Somewhere in the middle of the pack. In particular I recall a pretty good texture - but lacked the aroma of vanilla - sort of a big missing ingredient!
    In summary - not bad ice-cream. But it wasn't vanilla.

    10 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      Estufarian, it's unfortunate that you didn't enjoy Kawartha Dairy vanilla ice cream. (The Pralines and Cream is amazing) You almost never hear anything bad about KD. If you like ice cream I urge you to try it again and let us know what you think.

      1. re: jillybean38

        I don't normally prefer 'anything' with chinks of stuff in it. Prefer 'pure' flavours (and aromas) - and avoid 'soft' ice-cream entirely.
        A group of us had a 'blind tasting' of all the vanillas we could find and most of the commercial 'supermarket' product was not really vanilla - in particular the aroma was missing. But I'll check out what flavours of Kawartha are around next time I visit Summerhill Market - they carry a range. But no real chance I'll try Pralines & Cream - not a combination I like. Not even the Gelato Fresco versions (they have several with the praline made from different nuts).

        1. re: estufarian

          Is it possible you were wearing a blindfold when you numbered the cups for the blind taste test? Cause Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream is some of the best tub ice cream I have found period.

          Re: Eating kawartha dairy ice cream with peaches (or even better a homemade peach cobbler)... TWO BIG THUMBS UP!

          Estufarian - What was the result of your blind tasting?

          1. re: JonasBrand

            I posted on it a year ago (at least). Can't find a copy.
            But, by recollection, the top 2 were Haagen Dazs and Gelato Fresco. NONE of the supermarket/"normal" brands showed well - most were too 'gummy'. And the vanillas (in particular) did not have a significant 'vanilla' flavour. They were mainly 'sugar and cream'. The reason the two winners stood apart was aroma.

      2. re: estufarian

        just curious how does PC brand compare to the others if you have tried it? I am interested in both the vanilla and chocolate ice cream ....their organic chocolate one is quite yummy.

        1. re: Royaljelly

          I recall the Vanilla being good flavour but very whipped up - had more air than most.
          That phenomenon was common to most of the 'private label' brands. I definitely recall the Movenpick one as being extremely full of air - for the same volume as a premium it weighed about 30% less. Of course that's not particularly useful as Movenpick has exited this market.
          I'm not a chocolate fan so can't help on that. Almost everything I've tried is too sweet for me.

          1. re: Royaljelly

            We've found the PC vanilla marginal and the chocolate okay.

            If you are considering any of the flavours with "stuff", we both recommend the chocolate/peppermint/crackle. It has good, honest flavours, reasonable sweetness, and decent heft. We found the "butter tart" flavour inedibly sweet and the chocolate almond bark flavour excessively aerated and artificial tasting.

            1. re: Royaljelly

              Personally as far as non-premium ice cream goes, I like PC, specifically the Cookies n Cream and the S'mores flavour (yummy roasted marshmallow base).
              Kawartha always disappoints me. I actually like the Masters Choice (Sobey brand) copy of Moose Tracks better than the original. And I just don't think the gummy aerated style can compete with Hagen Daz, etc when it comes to vanilla which must stand alone.

              1. re: julesrules

                Vanilla ice cream is, indeed, a problem, since it really does need to stand alone. Although Haagen Dazs vanilla has a wonderful mouthfeel and richness, I find it has an overwhelming, and overtly alcoholic, taste of vanilla extract.

                The best tasting mainstream vanilla to my palate was the (now discontinued) Breyers all natural, no stabilizer version. Unfortunately, the simple, but real, vanilla flavour came with the baggage of 100% overrun (i.e., it was half air).

                Unlike estufarian (who seems to be the ice cream counterpart to my Jewish deli fanaticism), I've never liked any of the Gelato Fresco vanillas.

                My favourite commercial vanilla of all time was the ORIGINAL Metropolitan flavour distributed in the Toronto area. This had no resemblance to the current ice cream bearing the Metropolitan brand name. It was much like homemade ice cream, which had both good and bad attributes. For example, it could not survive even partial thawing and did not keep for very long in the freezer. Unfortunately for me, the guy published his recipe. Once I realized the calorie/fat content of that simple vanilla ice cream, I found it difficult to keep eating it. Anyway, it, too, is long gone from the scene.

                I've been fascinated with articles in CI, Consumer Reports, and several trade publications over the years. It seems that it is possible to use stabilizers that create great mouthfeel while doing no harm. The gummy chemical matrix is not a necessary evil. It is also possible to make pure vanilla ice creams that taste fake and pure vanillin ice creams that taste natural. (Coincidentally, most high quality dark chocolates contain vanillin - not real vanilla.) There seem to be many trade secrets in the ice cream business. When it comes to pure vanilla, I'm most likely to make my own (though I use Breyer's vanilla and chocolate plus PC fudge sauce to make a chocolate milkshake).

                I find that Kawartha manages to use the stabilizers more for good than for evil. I find it the best of the mainstream commercial brands, though I have never sampled blue bubble gum and its ilk.

                1. re: embee

                  You have a point about the alcohol taste of HD vanilla, but I like it. My all-time favourite was their now-defunt honey vaniila but that tasted more of honey than vanilla. I just realised two things... not sure I've actually tried Kawartha vaniila, probably based my opinion on their other flavours which is unfair. And, I only buy vanilla for a la mode applications, so the small size of HD is also appealing.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Lea are you connected in some manner to Tequila Bookworm? I couldn't help but notice all your posts make reference to them.

            2. their pralines and cream is just about the best thing in the world and also DELISH with some sliced Ontario peaches.

              1. Agreed that Kawartha is a great Ontario ice cream. I was impressed by this mass-marketed product - definitely above expectations. That said, I still prefer gelato over ice cream, but it is a solid offering. Didn't get to sample the vanilla (strangely enough, the place that sold it didn't offer Vanilla....?)

                Chocolate Peanut Butter:

                10 Replies
                1. re: BokChoi

                  IYO, Kawartha is the best brand Ontario ice cream available in stores?

                  1. re: BLM

                    BLM, I would not go as far as to say that definitively. I would definitely have to sample more to make an informed statement. What brands do you prefer?

                    1. re: BokChoi

                      I'm learning from you guys. I'm from Montreal. Visiting Toronto for 4 days next week.

                      1. re: BLM

                        Oh! In that case, Kawartha is good for a grocery store tub, but I would not say it should be on your list of "must tries" when in Toronto. I would be more inclined to try the gelaterias (Hollywood Gelato) and bakeries on Bayview (just south of Eglinton) or on Mt. Pleasant just next door (Il Gelatiere). Another good one I frequent is on Wellington (downtown near St Lawrence market on Front St.), Solferino. I would have to be honest though that I have not had gelatos in Montreal so I could not say if they can compare. Kawartha is nice because many little shops offer it in some of the more touristy areas - it is a safe bet if you in the mood for some nice ice cream.

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          Oh! I realize that. Just curious, what good commercial ice cream brands are available in the Toronto-area(the selection is very very limited in Montreal).

                          1. re: BLM

                            For something authentic, then Kawartha is definitely homegrown. A lot of people love Gelato Fresco, but I have yet to try it. I will get around to it soon though. Whole foods also has a nice selection of sorbets/ice creams. I like trying new ones all the time and I am seldomly disappointed.

                            1. re: BokChoi

                              Gelato Fresco use to be available in Montreal, but with limited flavour selection(maybe 15 years ago).

                              1. re: BLM

                                Hmm I am at a loss then. My only recommendation is to try heading to Whole Foods in Yorkville - they carry a wide variety of ice creams not generally available anywhere else. The names of them escape me right now, but there is a a great clear container of gelato that is passionfruit flavoured and is great. Just a bit sour and not too sweet.

                                1. re: BokChoi

                                  Give me a idea of prices for a carton of Kawartha ice cream. My brother in Toronto can always pick up some Kawartha ice cream on my future trips to Toronto.

                                  1. re: BLM

                                    About $8 for a huge 1.5L tub. Don't worry... someone WILL finish it ;)

                2. I mentioned on a thread about Marble Slab that I found KD to be on par and at half the price it makes me a lot happier.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Davwud

                    Ice cream in Toronto is not worth eating with exception of a few Maypole flavours. They are acceptable in large part because everything else is so bad.
                    Kawartha Dairy isbetter than many ,but it is, been there , done that.
                    One needs ony to go across the border to Buffalo or Niagara Falls and try ordinary Perry's, a local brand, almost any flavour.