Location: 1640 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
I’m not sure why, but there are way more gelato shops in the GTA than regular ice cream. I’m pulling this number right out of my you-know-where, but I’d guess there’s something like four gelato places for every one ice cream shop.
So when you’re talking about the best gelato in the city, there’s quite a bit of competition. But Hollywood Gelato is certainly a strong contender for that list.
On a recent visit, I got Rocky Rocher (chocolate hazelnut) and Sicilian Pistachio. The texture was phenomenal. It’s slightly stretchy and richly creamy; you’re not going to do much better in the texture department without a plane ticket to Italy.
The flavour, however, wasn’t quite up to snuff on this particular visit. It was still very good, but the flavour on the Rocky Rocher was a bit muted, and the pistachio was slightly too strong (I think someone was a bit heavy-handed with the pistachio flavouring in this particular batch). There was also a vaguely unpleasant aftertaste that lingered on my palate for a while after I was done.
(I think I’m coming off more negative here than I should — don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious. It just wasn’t quite as delicious as it usually is.)
On another visit, I got a couple of the wackier, Easter-inspired varieties: Creme Egg and Kinder Surprise. Surprisingly enough, they were a lot better than the more traditional flavours I had on my previous visit. The Kinder Surprise, in particular, really nailed the milky, chocolatey flavour of that particularly treat.
Location: 215 Madison Avenue, Toronto
People: this is not a drill. The chocolate hazelnut croissant at MoRoCo Chocolat is mind-blowing. It’s the best pastry I’ve had in a long, long time, and yes — I’m including my recent ten-day trip to Paris. It’s an all-timer.
Everything about it is amazing: you’ve got the croissant itself, which is buttery and flaky and delicious. There’s the perfectly crispy sweet hazelnut topping, which is basically like the topping of an almond croissant, only with hazelnuts, and which goes perfectly with the rich, chocolately filling.
And the icing on the metaphorical cake? The absolutely astonishing custard, which might have been the best custard I’ve ever had.
And I mean, who expects custard in a croissant like this? It’s weird, right? But good weird. The best weird. It’s what pushed this over the top and made it one of the best damn things I’ve eaten in such a long time. It was creamy and rich, with a flavour that I can only describe as the platonic ideal of custards. It’s the kind of custard that makes all other custards taste like garbage, because it’s so damn perfect.
It took something that was already delicious and made it crazy delicious.
I’m not sure why you’re even still reading this when you should clearly be driving/walking/sprinting to MoRoCo to buy one. Just be warned: after taking a couple of bites and realizing that this was the best thing ever, I promptly went back into the store so I could buy another one or two (or three). But that was it. Apparently they only make one or two a day. So get there early. It’s worth it.