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May 6, 2013 07:34 AM

Ice cream and gelato season 2013

Which flavours/shops have you liked the best so far? Which shops would you travel out of your way to visit?

Simply Italian is my favourite gelato shop in Toronto right now.

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  1. Haven't had anything other than SOMA this season, but boy was it good. Blueberry Basil and Mango!! <3

    2 Replies
    1. re: jlunar

      I'll have to try the blueberry basil. I tried a pineapple basil at at another shop a few years ago. Really like basil/fruit combos and chile/fruit (such as spicy mango- not sure where it's being sold right now) flavours.

      1. re: prima

        the blueberry is amped up this year and the basil a bit amped down, very subtle but complementary. the texture is getting better on their sorbets and beautiful as ever for their gelatos. i think they're improving each year, even if it's by small amounts for the great ones.

    2. Rhubarb lovers, the rhubarb sorbet at Nota Bene is amazing. It's the best tasting fruit sorbet I've ever had in Toronto.

      1. The Gelato Simply Italian that I had (and still have in my freezer) was godawful. Softening agents and cheap ingredients godawful. I can't bring myself to eat another bowl. What flavour(s) have you had luck with?

        10 Replies
        1. re: Googs

          I liked the passionfruit and the fondente nonlatte on my last visit. I tend to stick to tart (passionfruit, lemon, raspberry, rhubarb), herbal (various fruit flavours with basil, thyme or lemongrass), dark chocolate, coffee or mint when I order gelatos/sorbets/ice creams.

          I haven't found a strawberry gelato, sorbet or ice cream that I like more than Haagen Daz strawberry. I've been unimpressed by the strawberry gelato in TO. That being said, I haven't tried Belly or any other smaller batch, upscale strawberry ice creams yet.

          I'm not a big fan of vanilla or other milky/creamy flavours, so I rarely order them. I tend to avoid most nut flavours in Toronto, after a few too many experiences with rancid nuts. I usually find pistachio gelato too creamy for my taste.

          Which flavours did you think were godawful?

          Where do you find your favourite gelati, and which flavours are your favourites in Toronto?

          1. re: prima

            So, after reading this I decided to give my little box from Simply Italian Gelato another try. The verdict? After a few bites, I threw out the box. There was about 2/3 left, but I figure the money was well spent on a lesson learned. It's bad to the point that I found it an insult to the consumer.

            I'm perfectly happy to eat Gelato Fresco at home. I can read the ingredients on the label and content myself in knowing it's chemical free. When out, the gelato being served at Fratelli Village Pizzeria is knock-your-socks-off fantastic. If I lived in the area, I'd drop by for just that.

            1. re: Googs

              I'm so sorry to hear it was so disappointing for you, and I'm sad that my praise of SI ended up with you feeling insulted, and feeling like you wasted your money.

              I realize you absolutely detest the product, but which flavours had you purchased ?

              Which flavours do you recommend at Fratelli's?

              Which GF flavours do you recommend the most? I found some of their fruit flavours ok (lemon, raspberry, mango) but I didn't find them to be better than what I'd get elsewhere. I haven't bought any GF non-fruit flavours, so I'd love some recs for other flavours.

              1. re: prima

                It wasn't your fault at all. No worries. I took the chance and it didn't work out. I'd rather not identify what I purchased yet since that may identify me. I usually wait at least 2 weeks if not a month before posting anything just so I can remain anonymous. In this case, I felt the need to say something so people approach with caution if at all. Call me paranoid, but there you have it.

                Fratelli Village Pizzeria has gelato provided by a 3rd party who makes small batches. It appears as a special at this point and not part of the daily menu. You get the flavour they have that day. It was that moment of delight that first time I had a bite. That moment when you realize, "ah this is what it's supposed to be like." Fresh, sexy mouthfeel, pure ingredients, flavour that shines through brightly. The kind of moment that makes you wanna exclaim, "HEY everybody Try THIS!"

                Gelato Fresco is what I eat at home until I break down and get my own maker. My go-to is Devil's Chocolate. I also like the raspberry especially when I spread a thin coating of it on the DC for a sort of make-your-own reverse-tartufo. The Milanese Vanilla is the vanilla-of-choice in my home. Summers I like the Sicilian Lemon and it loves wine.

                1. re: Googs

                  Thanks, Googs.
                  I'll check out Fratelli this summer, and pick up a few of the GF flavours you've mentioned to stock my freezer.

                  1. re: prima

                    So- I tried the GF Milanese Vanilla, and a GF rasberry ice (single serving- sort of a gelato freezie). Liked the raspberry ice. The Milanese vanilla was good, but I prefer Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream (realize I'm comparing 2 different things).

                    Also have recently tried Belly's basil gelato from Pusateri's, which is pretty good, but I like the results I got from stirring a fresh basil syrup into softened vanilla ice cream (then refreezing- for a vacherin recipe) even better.

                  2. re: Googs

                    Have you tried creme brulee? It really tastes like creme brulee.

            2. re: Googs

              I thought the chestnut gelato was pretty great, but then again that was a couple of years ago, so I don't know if the place has gone downhill in the interim (also, I went back a bit later to get that flavour again and they didn't have it, so I guess it's not on the permanent rotation).

              1. re: Michael N

                Quite a few of the more interesting flavours aren't in frequent rotation. Sometimes Simply Italian tweets when certain flavours are available. I suppose one could also send Simply Italian a tweet, to see if/when/where chestnut might be available.

                1. re: Michael N

                  Maybe call and see if you can do a special order.
                  I know the store I go to (Malak pastry, ottawa) I was told you can order a specific flavour if you buy at least 2 or 4 liters?
                  My mother loves the banana ice cream/gelato and it is not made very often-and shes from out of town...
                  -even in the winter they make it for her (they do not make gelato in winter there, it seems).

              2. Just noticed that Pizzeria Via Mercanti in Kensington Market has started selling house made gelato/sorbetto. They had a selection of around 6 flavours covering the basics. Such as chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio, lemon, wild strawberry, etc.

                Their normal serving is $4.50 for two flavours. I had pistachio and strawberry. First, the serving was very generous. I liked the very smooth texture. Some places chill the gelato way too cold. The strawberry had a nice balance of tart and sweet. The pistachio flavour was not as pronounced. I liked it had a natural muted green colour and not the artififical almost neon green commonly seen.

                I'm not sure if I'd make a special trip for it. But it's a welcome addition to the booming KM area. Especially with Mr. Cream gone and the Latin cafe close to El Trompo hasn't served gelato in many years. Hopefully Via Mercanti will keep this a regular warm weather item.

                5 Replies
                1. re: num nums

                  was passing by and had the gelato at Via Mercanti and while the strawberry fruit flavour was quite nice and fresh seeming, they're clearly using stabilizers in their gelato. there was a distinct gumminess and elasticity that gelato should never have.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Well, I guess I know nothing about gelato because I had a bite of Via Mercanti's pistachio and I was blown away. I don't usually like pistachio gelato even though I love pistachios. We all did an instant WOW including an Italian friend.

                    1. re: crawfish

                      I haven't been to Via Mercanti, but I've noticed the texture/gumminess can vary from flavour to flavour at the same gelato shop. Most shops seem to have winners and losers. I usually detect gumminess in the fruit flavours.

                      1. re: prima

                        this was beyond anything i've ever experienced at any place i've had before. it was bizarre watching it pull back the way it did. i'm not sure about their other flavours but that fruit one was not right.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          I remember finding the fruit flavours gummy at Dolce on College a few years ago, but I haven't tried any of their gelato recently.

                2. The Arrow Cafe on Dundas has been carrying yummy buffalo ice cream from Monforte.
                  They brought in some strawberry sheep milk ice cream this year. Looks delish as well.