My ears would immediately perk at that tinny, tinkling of childhood music on loop that is synonymous with ice-cream trucks. That music would beckon me. I would immediately bolt over to my parents to beg and plead for a one dollar bill that had been haphazardly shoved deep into a pant pocket or purse. The bills pressed into my palm would often still be warm, soft and crumpled. That dollar bill meant the world to me. I would run full tilt like a doped-up Ben Johnson for that truck. Everything that meant anything to me in that moment came in a chocolate/vanilla twist on a basic bitch cone.
My request for a dollar was not always an easy solicitation. It sometimes took expert level CSIS-like negotiations with my Trinidadian mom, who, without fail, would readily attempt to dissuade me from acquiring said dollar and consequently, my ice-cream. One of the many childhood lies she told me was that, “de ice-cream man put he boogahs in de ice-cream!” This statement would ultimately be followed up with the rhetorical “you want to eat dat?!” I would react as children do with the standard *epic eyeroll* and also a “Yasssss mom, I want ice-cream!” Sometimes, my mom would get extra creative. In a succession of lies that got more and more questionable, she would up the gross factor to “when de ice-cream man use de batroom - you tink he washin’ he hands?!?! You see a sink in dey?!?!” My response would be something like, “Moooooommmmm - stop! I don’t care! I WANT ice-cream!” All I wanted was that sweet, dairy-laden, fluffy, soft, swirly dream in my mouth.
I don’t care that you *think* that there are boogies in the ice-cream. I don’t care if he didn’t wash his hands after going to the bathroom. I don’t care that I will ultimately drop melted ice-cream on my lap or on my freshly laundered outfit. And, I don’t care that it’s going to melt all down my arm and dry into a sticky and uncomfortable mess. I. DON’T. CARE. I. WANT. ICE-CREAM.
And, those were the beginnings of this ice-cream aficionado. I have been honing and vehemently defending my ice-cream eating since childhood. I have developed a deep appreciation for the cold, creamy, and sometimes “radically” flavoured treat. My tastes have matured and the kind of ice-cream that I now eat, is more than just soft-serve from an ice-cream truck. Though I’m not too big, too sophisticated or too fancy to eat that too.
I’ve eaten more soft serve ice-cream in the last few weeks than you can imagine. Different flavours, textures and varying degrees of deliciousness.
My criteria for soft-serve is: the product is sweet but, not cloyingly so. The texture is silky and smooth. There’s something interesting, perhaps even novel about it (otherwise, I would just chase a truck). The flavour is as advertised. If you say that something tastes like strawberry - it better fucking taste like strawberry. And, lastly, if I’m eating it, I actually want to continue eating it.
In no particular order:
iHalo Krunch - ube/coconut charcoal swirl on a charcoal waffle cone
915 Queen St W (Queen St W/Strachan Ave)
Not only does this spot produce contemporary art-like ice-cream, they make flavours that are dream-tacular. And, while I like vanilla and chocolate just fine, I’d much rather eat ube and coconut! I ate this ice-cream with reckless abandon at Trinity Bellwoods Park. As I sat on the bench, happily licking my ice-cream it began to melt. A giant blob of this sticky purply-black liquid landed right on my crotch… like, RIGHT ON IT. I didn’t even give a shit. I just kept eating my ice-cream because it was creamy, decadent and so fucking good. What made it truly outstanding was that fresh, light, slightly sweet, crisp waffle cone. It was like eating the bestest, freshest fortune cookie in conical formation. The cone paired with the tropical and luxurious ice-cream is heart emoji eyes forever.
Tsujiri - Green Matcha Tsujiri Sundae
147 Dundas St W (Dundas St W/Elizabeth St)
Smooth and soft-like suede is how I’d describe this matcha ice-cream. Definitely present are the fresh, grassy, toasty and herbaceous notes that matcha is known for. This sundae gets added texture and flavour from mochi, roasted chestnut, dry cereal and sweet adzuki beans. All of the elements are jewels that enhance the ice-cream rather than complicate it. I’m so into this ice-cream.
Charidise - Mango Waltz Sundae
27 Baldwin St (Baldwin St/Henry St)
You may be recognizing from my selection so far that I like an ice-cream upgrade. This sundae had #allthethings. It was sweet, creamy vanilla, soft serve, studded with morsels of pillowy, tangy, housemade cheesecake, crumbled feuilletine and a thick, juicy mango sauce. It was #sofuckinggood. It was well balanced and exactly what I was hoping for. I stumbled upon Charadise as I was walking to another soft-serve destination. The promise of mango stopped me dead in my tracks. I went to Charadise instead of the other spot I had planned on. I regret nothing.
La Diperie - L’Après - Match - Dark Chocolate, Salted Pretzels, Caramel Ganache
372 Danforth Ave
La Diperie was the place that I felt I could most authentically express my inner glutton child. The shop has bright robin’s egg blue walls with a few blackboard walls with their extensive menu scrawled in colourful chalk. That ice-cream made my day. It was a mini cone and it was absolute perfection. The sweet vanilla soft serve got a bolster of flavour from rich dark chocolate dip, thick, sticky caramel ganache and crunchy, salty pretzels. The flavour and texture were delicious and well-balanced. I would eat this again in a heartbeat.
Grk Ygrt - Cherry Cheesecake
291 August Ave (Agusta Ave/Oxford St)
I fucking hate when people ask, “you wanna go for frozen yogurt?” My response is usually something like, “Fuck no. No, I don’t. Why eat frozen yogurt when I can just eat ice-cream?” Needless to say, it’s a one-time question from the person asking. However, there is ONE place I will break this rule for. JUST ONE. Because it is some damn fine frozen yogurt goodness. Grk Ygrt gets my full #respect. I had their cherry cheesecake parfait/sundae (I’m not sure what to call it). The yogurt was sweet and tangy, refreshing and indulgent. I would have just as eagerly eaten this frozen yogurt without any accoutrements and it would have been just as glorious.