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Ice Cream, 2014

I think it's timely to start this thread (finally).

Had my first ice-cream-parlour experience this year from Bang Bang on Ossington last night.

Busy but efficient service. Kid and pet friendly.

I had The Everything Ice Cream Sandwich: Yummy peanut butter cookies with hazelnut chocolate ice cream!! Delicious, milky, flavourful ice cream. My companion had the brown sugar ice cream puff - she inhaled it before I could steal a bite.

Really glad we have more dessert options along Ossington now!

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  1. Yesterday I loaded up with a pile of Greg's one-litres at $12 per. Today I scored a few PC ice creams at $5 a half-litre.

    They won't last long, but I can play around with them in my freezer. I'll save my ice cream maker for yogurts and granites, sorbets, and easy to make stuff...

    1. after going to ed's some time ago and now trying Breyer's frozen dessert that often goes on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart, i'm totally disgusted. I'm now on a mission to find my favourite brand. i'd like to try them all, so long as they are "ice cream", luckily they go on sale regularly and can be found looking through http://www.redflagdeals.com/in/toront...

      1) Chapman's Original
      2) Chapman's Premium
      3) Breyer's Creamery Style
      4) Hagandaz
      5) Ben & Jerry's
      6) President's Choice
      7) Kawartha Dairy
      8) Nestle Real Dairy

      whatever else comes my way...

      1 Reply
      1. re: filtered

        I used to love Stoney Creek vanilla but I'm not sure who sells it now?

      2. Kirkland Vanilla is rich, dense, and real.

        17 Replies
          1. re: jayt90

            Agreed. It's probably my favourite store-bought vanilla ice cream.

            1. re: Michael N

              Do you like it better than Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean?

              1. re: kwass

                I would rank it higher than than the Haagen Dazz 5!
                Folks at CH did a side by comparison for CostCo products
                here are the results
                http://www.chow.com/food-news/74974/a...

                  1. re: kwass

                    kwass, have you tried PC's Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream?

                    http://www.presidentschoice.ca/en_CA/...

                    Noticed the Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream today, but I'm on a diet, so I didn't buy it.

                    Also noticed the Loads of Pecan Butter Tart Ice Cream
                    http://www.presidentschoice.ca/en_CA/...

                    1. re: prima

                      I wasn't even aware of these flavours. Thank you so much prima. I'm going to pick one (or both) up on the weekend :)

                      1. re: prima

                        Must try. Love the Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Bun flavour, not available in Canada. Is it similar?

                        1. re: 16crab

                          Haven't tried either Cinnamon Bun ice cream. All the PC Ice Cream Shop flavours I've tried are cheaper, lower fat, less dense, more air - whipped, less decadent and easier to scoop than any Ben & Jerry's flavours I've tried, so I wouldn't expect the ice creams to have much in common apart from the cinnamon bun flavour.

                          1. re: prima

                            Tried it last week. Thumbs down from me. The cinnamon flavour is very artificial, and we're halfway through the container and have yet to encounter a 'cinnamon bun piece'. Not nearly as good as the Ben & Jerry's - wish they would release more flavours here.

                            1. re: 16crab

                              Sigh, too bad. I don't need all my ice cream to be super premium and I'm disappointed with that PC line in general... could be better for that style.

                              1. re: 16crab

                                I wouldn't expect any PC ice cream to compare to Ben & Jerry's. There's a good reason that Ben & Jerry's costs 3 times more than PC or Chapman's.

                                1. re: prima

                                  Exactly. If you want to compare any PC product to Ben & Jerry's, it should be the Black Label ice cream, which is comparably priced (and comparable in taste as well, though the flavours are fairly limited).

                                  1. re: prima

                                    No, that is why I said I don't need all my ice cream to be super premium ;) I have room in my heart for the cheaper ice cream styles in fun flavours, but not that PC line, unfortunately. They've done a better job of it in the past.

                                    Ok, edit, I realize you weren't replying to me. But I think PC could manage the cinnamon bun pieces and have decent flavour. It's mostly the cream content that makes B&J expensive.

                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      ; ) no worries. I don't mind lower brow ice cream, either.

                        2. re: elvisahmed

                          I respectfully disagree. While a much better deal, I find the Kirkland tastes a bit fake (though the vanilla extract is stated to be real). Too aromatic, too sweet (sugar is item #2 after cream - whereas it's listed as ingredient #3 on my HD (reg vanilla this time, though I also enjoy the v-bean!)). Worst for me, the Kirkland is too "stretchy"' with the added guar bean and carob bean gum. The HD is just dense and creamy with eggs, milk & cream doing the magic. Most surprising though is the stated calorie count per half-cup: 310 for Kirkland vs 270 for Haagen Dazs! Who knew HD could be the leaner option?!

                          1. re: urbnmns

                            Lotta calories in that extra sugar..........

                  2. Tried Bang Bang Ice cream on Friday great spot for this summer as they will get slammed every warm day I bet
                    here is the verdict
                    With the summer almost in full swing (it never is in Canada) I can think of few things that can provide the delight of good ice cream. This place is quite good and fulfill your needs for a good scoop.
                    There are quite a few flavors on offer here, some might sound bizarre but the one's I tried were quite good. The ordering part can be a bit confusing at first but here is what I figured out you pick the scoop and then you can have it on its on or decide to make sandwich with a variety of cookies or just have it stuffed.
                    I settled with macaroons stuffed with a scoop of espresso (they use Sam James beans). The macaroons was bad but the ice cream made up for it.
                    We have a winner here folks I would say if you like ice cream just make a detour here and try a scoop on it own.
                    I will be back.

                    42 Replies
                    1. re: elvisahmed

                      Sounds awesome! How did I miss this!! Found this online. Place is on ossington.http://ossingtonvillage.com/2014/05/n...

                      1. re: justsayn

                        I tried an ice cream sandwich last summer at Bakerbots, and wasn't particularly impressed. But I seem to be in the minority. That said, I think I might have just chosen poorly in terms of which ice cream and cookie I chose.

                        1. re: kwass

                          Pretty sure I'll be there tomorrow checking it out! :-)

                          1. re: justsayn

                            Can't wait to hear your thoughts :)

                            1. re: kwass

                              You can't wait!! Nothing but a pane of glass and my half baked conscience holding me back from trying their goods right now!!

                                1. re: kwass

                                  Besides, the cookies are almost day olds now. Best to wait. ;-)

                                  1. re: justsayn

                                    Well of course! Nobody wants to eat day old cookies ;)

                                        1. re: justsayn

                                          Justsayn, if you love ice cream sandwiches, and who doesn't, you know who makes the best ice cream sandwiches I've ever had? Home of the Brave. They're in a class all of their own.

                                          1. re: kwass

                                            Been there done that and keep going back! Agreed! :-P

                                            1. re: justsayn

                                              I'm not sure why they don't get more attention! They're what all ice cream sandwiches should aspire to :)

                                              1. re: kwass

                                                Totally agree cuz the cookie rocks too. Home has too many haters on here but in the real world they do well!

                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                  I'm actually a big fan of HOTB...shhhh...

                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                    The interesting thing about the cookies they use for their ice cream sandwiches, is that they're almost cake-like...soft, but not mushy...perfect in every sense :)

                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                      Yea that's a good point. They are also super tasty! They once had an awesome oatmeal cookie.

                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                        My favourite is the carrot cake "cookie" with cinnamon ice cream! Truly unbelievable!!

                                                        1. re: kwass

                                                          Yea. That's a great one and that one is really cake like.

                                  2. re: kwass

                                    Impossible to believe but they do not open until 4pm. No ice cream for me.

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      What is it with these places? It drives me crazy!!

                                      And I'm sorry for what I imagine is your incredible disappointment!

                                      1. re: kwass

                                        Shitty. We had a nice walk over. Soooo looking forward to it. 4? How does that make sense? Then why not 5? What happens at 4? Lol

                                        1. re: justsayn

                                          I agree! It's not like they're serving alcohol and aren't able to start serving until a certain time. Is ice cream only an evening food?

                                          And I thought Bakerbots had crazy hours since they didn't open until 11 on Sundays. Boy, was I ever off ;)

                                          1. re: kwass

                                            Maybe they'll open early at Christmas. Lol. Limited season for ice cream in Toronto. Head shaker

                                              1. re: kwass

                                                About 20 people in line at 915 but it moved pretty quickly. We had our half sandwiches in fist by about 930. For me that was a double chocolate cookie cut in half stuffed with a giant mound of peanut butter and Welch's grape jam ice cream. Super smooth and creamy ice cream with a solid peanut butter punch. The cookie was fantastic! Just enough salt to become addictive. The only thing missing was that the grape jam got lost in the other strong flavours. I'm sure it brought some sweetness to the party but the grape flavour went missing in this combination. It was obvious by the texture of the ice cream that it was a high fat selection. It was almost like frozen whipped cream...if that makes sense to anyone else but me?

                                                Our second sandwich was the peanut butter cookie with chocolate pb chip ice cream. I only had one bite because I much preferred my selection but my friend really enjoyed it and also thought the cookie was solid.

                                                Overall it's a pretty exciting place. High quality cookies and ice cream. I would like to see a different range of ice cream flavours as there were only 3 or 4 that really stood out to me.

                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                  Wow! Sounds delicious! I just might have to give them another chance.

                                                  1. re: kwass

                                                    At least they post the hours even if they seem ridiculous...

                                                  2. re: justsayn

                                                    I agree with you on the cookies - I had the peanut butter cookies with my ice cream sandwich and thought they were phenomenal - glad it wasn't just from the brain freeze.
                                                    I got a few tubs of ice cream yesterday (vanilla, espresso, chocolate) - let's hope they will last til the weekend for a picnic at Trinity Bellwoods!

                              1. re: elvisahmed

                                Glad you tried and loved it!!
                                You should try the ice cream puff next time - they are delicious!

                                1. re: elvisahmed

                                  Just tried Bang Bang, and I was seriously impressed. I got the halva ice cream on a peanut butter cookie, and oh man... right up there with the best ice cream in the city. The ice cream was super rich and amazingly smooth, and had a really pronounced, satisfying halva flavour. It worked perfectly with the cookie, which was tasty and quite fresh. I can't wait to go back and try some other ice cream/cookie combos.

                                  I got the half cookie and they stuffed it with a really generous amount of ice cream. Probably about the same amount as you'd get in a medium cup at a place like Ed's.

                                  1. re: Michael N

                                    Yea it's really great. A group of us had a pretty good pig out on it yesterday. : P One bit of criticism...the ginger cookie is fantastic with the ice cream but the sugar sprinkle on top is just too much. Can't imagine why it's needed?

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      js, I know that they don't open until 5 during the week, but what about on the weekend? I've looked for their hours everywhere, but can't seem to find them.

                                      1. re: kwass

                                        Here's what Urbanspoon has for their hours:

                                        Hours
                                        Monday
                                        CLOSED

                                        Tuesday - Thursday
                                        4:00pm-10:00pm

                                        Friday
                                        4:00pm-11:00pm

                                        Saturday
                                        12:00pm-11:00pm

                                        Sunday
                                        12:00pm-10:00pm

                                          1. re: kwass

                                            Those are the hours posted on the door. The 5 was just part of my sarcasm...sorry....speaking of hours....I saw today that Portland Variety who remains sign-less, doesn't bother posting any hours whatsoever so let it be known that they are closed Sundays.

                                            1. re: justsayn

                                              PV opens at 7 during the week. It's strange that they're closed Sundays though. That could be a busy day for them if they served a decent brunch.

                                              As for Bang Bang, I'm hoping that they extend their hours as we get further into the summer. Even though you were just being sarcastic by saying that they open at 5, 4 is still pretty ridiculous.

                                              1. re: kwass

                                                Yes 4 is strange. I was saying why 4? Seems to be so random. May as well open at 5 when people generally finish work if you're not going to open during the day...anyway their choice, our loss. Thanks for the hours for PV. You would think they would care enough to post them but again, their choice, our loss.

                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                  Agree with you wholeheartedly on both accounts.

                                    2. re: Michael N

                                      That sounds awesome.

                                      Must try this asap!

                                      1. re: Michael N

                                        Tried Bang Bang again today and I was slightly less impressed. I had the burnt toffee ice cream, which was just as amazing as the last flavour I tried. Really creamy, with a surprisingly complex flavour.

                                        The cookie, however, was a bit of a let-down. I got the everything cookie and while it tasted okay, it was rock hard. Really hard to eat.

                                        The person I was with got the pumpkin spice ice cream and wasn't impressed. I tasted a spoonful and had to agree. The flavour was good but it was really icy. So... I'm still pretty enthused about this place but I guess they do have some consistency issues to work out.

                                    3. I had a Soma dark chocolate gelato... this is the best tasting gelato I've had in Canada. I would say this is on par with the ones I've had in Florence. It's very smooth... no ice crystals. It has a very complex chocolate note... it's not a sugary taste but rather lightly bitter chocolate that opens up to a a hint of red fruit notes. Gelato is supposed to be denser than ice cream and a mark of a good gelaterie can make you feel that difference. This gelato doesn't have the gummy fluffier chew of cheap filler gelato. It was sooo good.

                                      I asked if they were doing a Sicilian or Firenze gelato style and the person who knew the answer stepped out while I was there. From the texture, I'm thinking it's the Firenze style. I can't wait to go back and try more! Especially the sicilian pistachio (it has the right tinge of green instead of the ridiculous lime green I've seen elsewhere).

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: Nevy

                                        What other flavours do they have Nevy?

                                        1. re: kwass

                                          If my memory serves me right, they had pistachio, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fior di latte, madagascar vanilla, and dulce de leche. They also had sorbetto and this is where my memory gets fuzzier... I think they had lemon and something else (mango?).

                                          1. re: Nevy

                                            Thanks Nevy. I'm going to check it out on Monday.

                                            1. re: Nevy

                                              Was this the Distillery location? I was at the King West location a week or two ago and they didn't have fior di latte but they did have some that you didn't mention - just wondering if maybe the locations have slightly different flavours :)

                                              1. re: ggom1

                                                I think most of the time their flavours are similar but in the summer time, I find the distillery district has a faster rotation or sell out of their seasonal flavours quicker. I could be wrong but that's my impression... perhaps I need to conduct weekly visits to verify this :)

                                          2. re: Nevy

                                            Several of the Italian-owned gelato shops in Toronto offer both a less green Sicilian pistachio and a brighter green pistachio. I don't like either type of pistachio gelato enough to order it, but both versions are usually available at Simply Italian on Yonge near Davisville and in Yorkville.

                                            I love the bright green mint granita available in Italy, so I don't hold it against a gelato shop if they're heavy-handed with the food colouring. (Although the gelato experts on the Italy board seem to tell Chowhounds to stay away from the dayglo gelato);)

                                            1. re: prima

                                              Thanks for letting me know about Simply Gelato. I didn't care for pistachio for a long time till I went to Florence and I had the man who made the gelato literally spoon fed me his pistachio gelato. I was a convert on a whole host of different flavours. Fior di latte, a sweet Italian mandarin local to Amalfi coast and paired with dark chocolate (and I hated orange flavoured anything before then), and nocciola (hazelnut).

                                              I'm not sure I'll find anything comparable to what I had there but I can try and start at Simply Italian and Soma!

                                                1. re: prima

                                                  Big big fan of boreal and I've had some good real stuff at manic

                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                    js, have you tried the gelato at Sud Forno? I think I remember that you said you have. If so, how is it?

                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                      Oh right. I did try The gelato at Sud and it was amazing but, big but, it was not a flavour to judge their gelato by. It was a special flavour they don't often carry and it was full of swirls and chucks of some sort of nutella ribbons. So I can't tell you much about the mascarpone gelato around it as it was a candy treat! So good! I haven't been back to try just their gelato but it is made in house and if I had to guess I would say it is probably as good as you will get. Just a guess.

                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                        Ok. I'm adding it to my list. Thanks justsayn!!

                                            2. re: Nevy

                                              Hi Nevy,
                                              Can you please explain the Sicilian and Firenze style of gelato? Thanks!

                                              1. re: icey

                                                The key stabilizer is what differentiates them... traditional Silician gelato uses corn starch as the thickener and stabilizer where Firenze use eggs and/or milk as the way to create the thickened texture. I find the texture definitely different for fruit based gelato. My tastings in Italy made me prefer the Firenze style more as it's melts quicker in the mouth (more like thickened fruit syrup or compote compared to fruit paste) and has less chew.

                                                For chocolate or rich egg based gelato, I find it harder to tell the difference ... but I think it matters more on what they use to create the richness. Is it eggs or cocoa butter ... even a higher milk fat?

                                                I would have loved to try the difference of a coffee Firenze vs Silican style but the Sicilian gelatarie said it wouldn't be ready that day and had to come back on the day I was leaving. :(

                                            3. I had the gelato today from SOMA, and it was so good, I had a When Harry Met Sally moment :) It was probably the creamiest gelato I've ever had.

                                              The flavours today were pistachio, roasted almond, straciatella, vanilla, strawberry, and one other that I can't remember. I got a sample of the strawberry, but wasn't impressed. It wasn't as creamy as the others that I tried. I ended up choosing the vanilla and the straciatella, which is chocolate based here, and they were both outstanding.

                                              If you love Gelato, I highly recommend SOMA!!!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: kwass

                                                Glad to hear you liked it! Soma is by far my most favourite Canadian gelato and though, I haven't been an extensive taster in Canada, it matches to what I enjoyed in Italy.

                                                Was the strawberry a sorbetto? If it was, it be more icy and not very creamy. If they had fresh Ontario strawberry gelato, that would be awesome :)

                                                1. re: Nevy

                                                  No. They had sorbettos, but it was definitely gelato. It was odd because it had a very strong strawberry taste, which was somewhat unpleasant.

                                                  And, I'm by no means a gelato aficionado, but to date, this is the best gelato I've had!

                                                1. re: kwass

                                                  Yup I believe it was them I got a rum raisin/oatmeal sandwich from at Nathan Phillip's last summer. Quality and flavour was good, it just turned out to be an overly sweet combo for my tastes. Might not have helped that it was more or less my lunch that day, maybe in a smaller quantity after a proper meal it would have worked better.

                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                    Yes. They seem to sell @ Farmer's Markets and @ different events. Thanks for sharing your experience julesrules.

                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                      They are apparently at Tasty Thursdays at Nathan Phillips for July. I might wander by and see what flavours they have...
                                                      http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/con...

                                                        1. re: kwass

                                                          I decided on an ice pop ($3), the ice cream sandwich flavours on offer didn't excite me. I got cucumber, mint and lime and it was nice. I would personally prefer something a bit less sweet and maybe some salt in there, but I think it probably had the flavour profile most would want.
                                                          They were not very busy, I think they should offer the smaller $3 sandwiches they mention on the website. $5 is a high buy-in for a non-foodie lunch crowd, and it's more ice cream and cookie than I really want at lunch either.

                                                2. Yesterday I tried Soma's Bergamot gelato and it was kinda like I died and went to heaven. The texture was perfectly creamy and the tart citrus hit was amazing. I may have to go back for more very very soon!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                                      That's exactly how I felt when I had their gelato. Loved it so much I'm going back today :)

                                                      1. re: kwass

                                                        I concur as I tried pistachio flavor last week as per your recommendation and am a fan now.

                                                    2. I went to Bang Bang a couple days ago.

                                                      It was glorious!

                                                       
                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. Kekou Gelato on Baldwin St was pretty good when I last went. They make asian flavour inspired gelatos, for example, red bean, taro, green tea, vietnamese coffee, and my favourite, DURIAN! Smelled and tasted like real durian, with little bits of real durian. i know it's an acquired taste. But definitely worth going if you are a fan of durian.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: PrincessStress

                                                          The durian gelato really is great. The aroma and taste is spot-on, the texture is good, and the durian smell is very strong. I would not suggest kissing a durian-hater afterwards because they'll hate it!

                                                          Also, I tasted the HK Milk tea and had the Vietnamese coffee. Although they were accurate in flavour, their texture was lacking and the flavour didn't linger as long.

                                                          I suspect it's because the base needs more a bit more (milk) fat in it to work, which is why the durian is good, but the other flavours I tried weren't as great.

                                                        2. I tried the gelato today from Sud Forno, and although it was very good, it didn't come anywhere close to the gelato from SOMA.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: kwass

                                                            I tried Boreal Gelato meh below average IMO. I would say 2 stars out of 5 despite the good reviews.

                                                          2. After trying the Bosk summerlicious menu, we had the in house lime sorbet and also chocolate ice cream as part of our dessert. I would say the chocolate ice cream was one of the better ones in Toronto. It was a nice balance between a sweet milk chocolate and darker bitter chocolate. It wasn't sugary to just appeal to kids but it had a prominent cocoa note that adults would appreciate. It came with 3 very large scoops for the kid bowl. We didn't think a preschooler could eat all of it but sure enough, 5 minutes later, it was all gone. It had a great creamy texture that makes me think it was made thoughtfully with low overrun and a good dose of cream (or yolks).

                                                            The lime sorbet was a nice balance between tart and citrius sweet. It definitely was not in the sweet citrus realm which was a nice compliment to the sweet mango pudding and coconut tapioca. I would have enjoyed more of it but the other pre-schooler smartly laid claim to all cold white things because the other kid had the chocolate.

                                                            Though it's not easy to just arrive for ice cream, it is definitely a must have if you're dining at Bosk.

                                                            1. i just tried Millies crepe gelato

                                                              excellent texture & flavour. equal to the best in the city.

                                                              - khao san road