It’s looking like nothing but sweltering, soaring temperatures for the foreseeable future. That can only mean one thing: ice cream!!! There’s more to life than Blizzards. Here’s a roundup of some exciting news in the world of cool treats.
Edgar Reinvents the Ice Cream Sandwich
We know Marysol makes an amazing sandwich so it shouldn’t be too surprising that her latest muse is the ice cream sandwich. And because it’s Marysol, we know everything about it will be painstakingly homemade — the cookies, the jams, jellies, purées and, of course, the ice cream, which she makes in a Cuisinart home ice cream maker. It churns loudly when there’s a lull between the lunch rush and the flurry of take-out dinner customers. She prepares an astounding 8 different kinds of ice cream sandwiches every morning — these include such inspired creations as chocolate cayenne cherry, chocolate banana-butterscotch, and strawberry-basil-balsamic between two orange-ginger cookies.
Edgar, 60, rue Bégin, Gatineau (Hull sector), 819-205-1110
Art Is In Bakery Shows Us Its Cool Side
Okay, so it’s not really ice cream per se but it is definitely a cool treat in the tradition of milkshakes and, hey, it’s difficult to categorize something called frozen hot chocolate. It is made by blending together nothing but milk, ice and 70 percent dark chocolate (unlike blender drinks served elsewhere that start with a hideous so-called dairy base). I wasn’t sure what to expect from that first sip. My tastebuds have been traumatized by one too many sickly sweet blender beverages. Immediately I was struck by it’s intense chocolatey-ness and then by the fact that it was not even the tiniest bit sweet. My daughter had the same reaction, stopping after her first sip to say “hey, it’s not sweet!” before guzzling down way more than her share. Just sayin’.
Art Is In Bakery, 250 City Center Avenue, Bay 114, 613-695-1226.
Pascale’s Got Wheels
Don’t be surprised to see Pascale, Ottawa’s reigning Queen of ice cream, showing up at farmers’ markets, weddings, and festivals on the back of a retro-inspired set of wheels. She calls it her Creamcycle, a custom-made ice cream tricycle. Known for her creative flavour combinations like peanut butter salted caramel, dark chocolate sea salt, and lavender vanilla, Pascale can now deliver her product line (ice cream, ice pops, and ice cream sandwiches) in a style that seems to suit her best: right in the driver’s seat.
Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream – sold at various locations, check the website
Gelatini Returns to Preston Street!
Last year this time, I wrote a little blog post about Monica Pilotti, a high school teacher of half-Italian stock who, along with her partner Christopher Hiscock, realized her dream of opening a gelateria. Weeks later, I drove by the prime Preston St. storefront and discovered the shop was closed. Now with the growing pains of entrepreneurship and a long winter behind them, the couple is back at it again. They make small fresh batches of gelato that would make her Italian relatives proud. The selection of flavours rotates and might include coconut, lemon, chocolate mint, and pure vanilla. Pilotti is most proud of her yoghurt, a creamy tangy and refreshing flavour that was inspired by her travels to Rome where fro-yo is a very different product from the icky food court variety. Try it.
Gelatini, 344 Preston St., 613-235-8050; hours: 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. daily
A Chill Descends on Old Ottawa South
It’s easy to get swept-up in the mix-ins craze. Who can resist the idea of inventing your own ice cream flavour by selecting from a variety of cookies, candies, chocolate bars, fruits, sauces etc. that get smashed and mashed together in front of your eyes on a frozen granite stone? That’s until you realize how sickly sweet and over-the-top it tastes and you suddenly understand that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. So, under the category I like to call “better never than late”, Ottawa now has its very own Cold Stone Creamery. After what I presume was massive success in the States, the company partnered with Tim Horton’s a few years ago to create co-branded shops. Ottawa gets its first one in the Bank Street Timmies near Cameron Ave., strategically located across the street from Dairy Queen.
Meanwhile, tongues are wagging and mouths watering for Stella Luna Gelato Café set to open soon just a few blocks away. And with good reason. According to the website, its owner attended Gelato University (yes, it exists!) in Bologna, Italy, for Master Training. I’ve eaten gelato in Bologna and suffice it to say, I may very well be first in line on opening day (fingers crossed for the end of July). More to come on this story.
Cold Stone Creamery www.coldstonecreamery.com 1263-1265 Bank St.