Location: 426 St. Clarens Avenue, Toronto
I love ice cream (and I mean, who doesn’t?). I’m always on the lookout for the next great scoop.
I’m not going to bury the lede — Emmy’s does not serve the next great scoop.
It’s fine. There wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with it. But the quality is more in line with something you might get from the supermarket with the words “Nestle” or “President’s Choice” on the label.
It’s in a bit of an odd location; it’s basically part of a coffee shop (they have their own sign and door, but once you’re inside, it’s all one store).
They don’t make their own ice cream. They source it from Dutch Dreams. I have a vague recollection of going to Dutch Dreams well over a decade ago and not being impressed, but I was hoping that they had improved in the interim.
Alas. I had the “Life on St. Clarens,” which is vanilla ice cream with a peanut butter swirl, along with brownie chunks and cookie dough.
Nothing about it particularly stood out. Though the ice cream was somewhat rich, the flavour was just generic sweetness. The same lack of flavour extended to the chunks — the brownie was just chewy and sweet, and the cookie dough was crumbly and sweet. Nothing makes an impact.
Given the fairly unambitious array of flavours they have on offer, I suspect that they’re trying to be more of a stop for local kids than somewhere you might go out of your way for. Which is fine. But… don’t go out of your way for it.
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: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve already established that Bang Bang continues to be the best. Further proof? A flavour called P’nut Butter Cup, which they describe as “Reese candy / mucho peanut butter.”
Mucho peanut butter?? Uh, yes please.
I’m not sure why they call this P’nut Butter Cup — there are actually Reese’s Pieces in there, not peanut butter cups, and that’s what it tastes like (I love Reese’s Pieces, so I’m not complaining). Though they do also add chunks of chocolate, so I guess that adds a certain amount of peanut-butter-cupiness.
The ice cream itself is ridiculous. It’s so rich and peanut buttery — “mucho” definitely isn’t an exaggeration. It almost tastes like some kind of delicious amalgam between ice cream and peanut butter, like a jar of peanut butter and a pint of ice cream found its way into Jeff Goldblum’s teleportation machine. It’s incredible. And the crunchiness of the Reese’s Pieces makes for a great contrast with the dense, smooth ice cream. It’s pretty much the best.
Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
After the cubano disappointment at La Cubana, I wondered: would Bang Bang pull the same thing? It’s been several months since I’ve had their ice cream. Has it gone downhill, too?
Nope. It’s still easily the best ice cream in Toronto, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
Bang Bang tends to have at least one new flavour in their rotation, and this time it was the Bad Dad Joke, which they describe as having miso pecans and butterscotch.
It was so damn good.
As usual, the ice cream itself was absolutely superlative: rich, creamy, and amazing. The flavour was just as good, with the butterscotch and the toasty nuts being a perfect match. The flavour was a bit more complex than you’d expect — whether that’s the miso or something else, I have no idea, but it was ridiculously good regardless.
It also had these white chunks in there, and I have no idea what they were (meringue, possibly?) but they added a nice crispiness to the ice cream that worked quite well.