I scream, you scream, we all … right, you know how it ends. That little ditty and the circus-like chimes blasting from the ice cream truck ring happily in our ears during these wonderfully long, hot days. Remember when ice cream parlours were only open during the summer? I guess the thinking was that no one would want to snack on something cold when the temperature outside was as frigid as the inside of a freezer. At some point, someone must have had a powerful craving in the middle of January. Meghan Taylor, owner of MacKay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane, has this to say on the topic: “As Western Canadians, we are used to shovelling off the deck in winter to bbq a steak; so why not go out for ice cream, too?” One thing led to another and before anyone realized, we could all buy a cherry-topped sundae year round. With that, the world suddenly seemed a far brighter place. No need to worry that someday soon summer will lead into fall. As long as there’s ice cream to lick, it doesn’t have to end at all.
Who among us doesn’t smile a little wider at the sight of a double scoop of chocolate, vanilla, tiger tail, or whatever your favourite flavour happens to be? And talk about flavours! How long do you spend staring through the glass trying to decide which one to try this time? Baskin Robbins has created over 1000 flavours throughout its 68-year history. They don’t, however, make one of my all-time picks — fig gelato. This luscious Italian confection offers one more way to cut that full feeling at the end of a meal. Gelato isn’t just the Italian version of ice cream. It’s smoother, even though it’s made with milk instead of cream. It’s lighter in calories, even though it tastes thick and flavourful. Tobias Scott of Lick It Gelato in Toronto suggests that the Italian sorbetto (especially the lemon flavour) is “a very traditional palate cleanser at the end of a course.” Tobias and his colleagues are so convinced of the pleasures of gelato they want you to spread the love (and not only among friends). They make gelato just for “your fuzzy loved one,” too.
Recent years have seen the development of dairy-free ice cream, too. Soy, almond and coconut milk are churned into delightful concoctions. I asked Luna Marcus and Larry Kaplowitz of Coconut Bliss what made them want to create a coconut milk-based ice cream. They said they were aiming for one “that not only tasted great, but made them feel great, too.” So, what’s the secret to dreamy-tasting ice cream? Natural ingredients and no fillers, of course.
No doubt you’re feeling the start of an ice cream craving coming on. I know I am. Wondering which flavour to snack on this time? You can go for the old stand-bys, of course. Or, you can give something new and different a try…
Luna and Larry began experimenting with a coconut milk based recipe for ice cream in 2004. Success soon followed. They've since created over 14 popular flavours, and it's "the first certified organic non-dairy ice cream that is completely soy, dairy and gluten-free, and sweetened with agave syrup."
- 1 1/2 cup coconut water (fresh or ONE brand)
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 cup lacinato, dino or curly kale (approx. 4 leaves)
- 1/2 cup coconut bliss
- Blend in a high-speed blender for 60 seconds, and serve immediately.
Let's say you're looking for something a little different than the everyday ice cream cone, ice cream sandwich, ice cream cake … you get the picture. How about an ice cream cocktail? Surfer aficionado and bartender extraordinaire, Halifax's Jenner Cormier has created the following two for us. Using ice cream in drinks is easy, he says. There are lots of cocktails that call for heavy cream. Just replace it with ice cream. One word of caution: ice cream is considerably sweeter than cream. Cut the sweetness by adding a splash or two of bitters for balance. If sweet is what you're looking for, tray a splash or two of these: Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Chambord, Cassis, Baileys or Frangelico.
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 oz orange simple syrup
- 2 oz gin
- 1 egg white
- 1 good-sized scoop of vanilla ice cream
- Splash soda
- 1/2-3/4 oz Aperol
- Fill mixing glass with ice and all ingredients, except Aperol. Shake hard. Single strain cocktail into a chilled Collins glass. Add a splash of soda to fill the glass. Drizzle Aperol down the side of the glass to help cut the sweetness and to give the cocktail some colour. Garnish with a zest of orange. Serve immediately.
Photo credit: stu_spivak