Location: 1357 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto
La Paloma has been around since 1967, so it’s pretty much the OG gelateria in the GTA. You can’t argue with that type of history; they’re obviously doing something right (though I recently panned Johnny’s Hamburgers, which has also been around since 1967, so I guess you can argue with that type of history).
Anyway, it’s good. It might not be the best gelato in the city, but it’s definitely not the Johnny’s of ice cream.
On my most recent visit I had the Sicilian pistachio. It tasted like they were using pistachio flavouring or even other nuts in there (something about the flavour was a bit off), and it was a bit too sweet, but it’s still quite satisfying.
It helps that the texture is great, with a nice creamy richness. It’s definitely above average.
Location: 4141 Dixie Road, Mississauga (inside Rockwood Mall)
I’ll admit that I had basically written off rolled ice cream as a gimmick. The one time I tried it previously, in Kensington Market, I thought it was fine, but a bit thin and mediocre.
Wow Wow Yum Yum, on the other hand, has me convinced that rolled ice cream can be just as tasty as the traditional churned variety.
If you’re not familiar with this type of ice cream, what makes it so distinct is that it’s essentially created right on the spot. It’s made by pouring the unfrozen ice cream mixture directly onto an ice-cold anti-griddle. The mixture then freezes almost instantly, and is rolled up and served in a cup.
It was way better than I thought it would be. It’s remarkably rich and creamy — if you close your eyes and forget about the gimmick, it’s just really good quality ice cream.
My only real issue here was the flavour. I tried their most popular, Nutella banana, which had the problem that plagues so many banana desserts — the banana they used was clearly underripe. That was a bit of a bummer.
Location: 964 Saint Clair Avenue West, Toronto
The smallest size of gelato at Futura Granita + Gelato is basically the size of a Dixie cup; all ice cream places should offer this. Sometimes, a bit of ice cream would hit the spot, but you’re not necessarily hungry enough for a full-blown dessert. A size like this is perfect.
And the gelato itself is quite good. I’ll have to come back at some point to try the granita, which is essentially an Italian version of sorbet.
I tried the stracciatella, which is a classic gelato flavour in which crunchy chocolate is mixed into a sweet cream base.
The gelato itself was definitely above average, with a nice creamy consistency and a satisfying flavour. The tasty dark chocolate complements it quite well. It’s a quality scoop.
Purchased at: Wegman’s, 675 Alberta Drive, Amherst NY
Remember the Chipwich? Because I certainly do! In my childhood it felt like it would be a part of my life forever, but then it became harder and harder to find, and it was eventually taken off the market altogether.
Well, it’s back! Alas, it’s still not available in Canada (sorry if I got your hopes up), but if you’re willing to drive to Buffalo (because we all know that driving to Buffalo for an ice cream sandwich is a totally reasonable thing to do), it’s easy enough to find.
And yes: it’s just as glorious as I remembered. No… more glorious.
It’s pretty simple — it’s vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chunk cookies, and rolled in mini chocolate chips.
No, it’s not gourmet, but the contrast between the soft cookies, the creamy ice cream, and the great crunch you get from the chocolate chips is pretty magical. I was prepared for this to be more about the nostalgia than anything else, but it’s actually quite tasty.
Location: 853 Dundas Street, Woodstock
Since I was in Woodstock anyway (for completely rational reasons), I figured I’d see if there was anything else worth checking out in the area. Bartley’s Dairy Bar — a dessert shop that specializes in soft serve ice cream — fit the bill nicely.
They serve the usual assortment of sundaes, dipped cones, and Blizzard-like concoctions, along with scooped ice cream and frozen yogurt. I kept things relatively simple and ordered a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream.
It’s actually quite good — the ice cream was creamy and delicious. I’d say it’s about on par with Tom’s Dairy Freeze.
I kinda wish I had just ordered the ice cream on its own, however, because the hot fudge sauce wasn’t the best. It was basically fine, but it was way too sweet. It’s a bit of a throat-burner.