More Tasty Ice Cream at Nadege

NadegeLocation780 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.nadege-patisserie.com/

The last time I tried the ice cream at Nadege, I found it to be quite tasty, but not quite on par with the best ice cream in the city, like Bang Bang or Greg’s.

On a recent visit, I tried the Baked Caramel Crunch, with features vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel sauce and chocolate chip cookie dough (the menu just says chocolate chip cookies, but the chunks were chewy and tasted like cookie dough to me).  I normally go with a cup over a cone, but having heard so many good things about the cone, I figured I needed to try it.

The cone is as advertised.  It’s amazing.  It’s crispy but not overly crunchy, with a rich buttery flavour.  It’s easily one of the better cones I’ve ever had.

Nadege

The ice cream is as I remembered.  They’re incredibly generous with the sauce and the chunks.  That sounds good, right?  And it is, but there’s a limit.  It’s like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the guy in the afterlife has everything go his way until he finally realizes that he’s actually in hell, not heaven.

The scoop was so saucy and chunky that I could barely even taste the ice cream.  It was overkill.  From what I could taste of the vanilla, it seemed like it was above average, but I honestly couldn’t particularly tell.  It was basically like eating a tub of caramel sauce with cookie dough mixed in.

Nadege

I had better luck on another recent visit with the strawberry pistachio.  This one features pistachio ice cream with a light and frothy strawberry sauce mixed in.  Strawberry and pistachio sounds like an odd combo, but it works; the sweet fruitiness of the sauce compliments the rich, nutty ice cream very well.

And since there weren’t any chunks, I was able to taste the ice cream itself, which is quite good.  I really wish they wouldn’t work so hard to obscure it.

Tasty Cookies at Cookie Scoop

Cookie ScoopLocation: 1115 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://cookiescoop.ca/

I recently mentioned that there aren’t nearly enough cookie shops in the city.  I mean, you can never have enough cookies, but the handful of shops we have in the GTA definitely isn’t enough.

Well, here’s one more, though the location is in an industrial area that’s a bit out of the way (they offer delivery on their website, and I suspect that’s where they do most of their business).

Cookie Scoop

It’s a tiny shop, but they offer a dizzying array of cookies; I decided to get six, and it was exceptionally difficult to pick from the many, many delicious looking choices.

I ultimately went with pistachio milk chocolate, peanut butter Nutella, Mars Bar cookie, Italian milk chocolate gianduja, hazelnut praline (Ferrero Rocher), and milk chocolate brownie.  All the flavours looked so good, though.  I wanted all of them, but that wouldn’t have ended well for anybody.

Cookie Scoop

 

They’re solid cookies, but they have a cakey texture that you only get from cookies that have been engineered to be perpetually chewy.  I’m guessing this is due to their delivery-heavy business, which means the cookies probably won’t be consumed until a day or two after they’re baked, if not longer.

Cookie Scoop

Don’t get me wrong — they’re quite tasty, but I prefer the classic dense and buttery cookies that they serve at a place like Craig’s.  There’s nothing wrong with the cakier variety they serve here, but the crispy/chewy texture of a more traditional chocolate chip cookie can’t be beat.

Cookie Scoop

Still, the flavours were all top notch (I particularly enjoyed the peanut butter Nutella), and despite my minor quibbles with the texture, they’re tasty cookies.

Problematic Gelato at Kekou Gelato

Kekou GelatoLocation: 394 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.kekou.ca/

Though ice cream and gelato joints serving Asian-inspired flavours seem to be popping up on an almost weekly basis, I’m pretty sure Kekou is the OG.  It might not be the pioneer in the city, but it was definitely one of the first.

They have a variety of unique flavours like black sesame, Vietnamese coffee, and durian (and they must also be doing other things with durian, because the place kinda reeks of the stuff).

Kekou Gelato

I went with rosewater pistachio, and the flavour was superb.  The balance between the nutty pistachio and the fragrant rosewater was just right; neither flavour overwhelmed the other, and they complimented each other perfectly.

The texture, however, was a bit of an issue.  It wasn’t icy, but it had a thin mouthfeel and a distinct lack of creaminess that was unsatisfying.

Kekou Gelato

The funny thing is, they actually have a sign up in the store explaining that the thin texture is intentional — it is, they claim, a side-effect of the gelato’s lack of stabilizers.

A couple of things about this:

1)

2) Even if this is true — that it’s impossible to make creamy gelato without the use of stabilizers, and that every luxuriously creamy gelato I’ve ever had (both here and in Italy) used some form of chemical magic for its rich texture — then maybe stabilizers are just part of making high quality gelato?

Again, I’m skeptical that this is the case, but I’m sure that making truly great gelato is a skill that takes years to master.  If your gelato-making know-how isn’t advanced enough to make it creamy without using stabilizers, then here’s an idea: use stabilizers.  Is the ability to smugly claim that your gelato is stabilizer-free really worth selling a subpar product?

It’s not a huge deal — and I’ve certainly had worse — but the fact that they’re coming right out and admitting that they’re selling inferior gelato on purpose is a little bit frustrating.

Middling Gelato at Ed’s Real Scoop

Ed's Real ScoopLocation: 189 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.edsrealscoop.com/

I’ve mentioned before that I quite like Ed’s Real Scoop, but that really, their sweet cream is where it’s at.  It’s outstanding.  Their other flavours are disappointingly hit-and-miss.

But in all my dozens of visits to the place over the years, I’ve never bothered to try their gelato.  This is going to be a short post — more of a PSA than anything else — because it’s not very good.  I’d advise that you stick to the ice cream.  Specifically, stick to the sweet cream.

I tried the pistachio and the bacio (chocolate hazelnut), and both of the flavours were pretty weak.  There just wasn’t much there, other than a generic sweetness.  This tends to be an issue with their ice cream, too, but at least in that case they’re starting with a great quality base.

Alas, the gelato itself was thin and underwhelming, with barely any creaminess at all.  It’s a waste of time when the ice cream is right there.

Wacky Flavours at Death in Venice Gelato Co.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.Location: 536 Queen Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.deathinvenice.ca/

If you’re looking for an off-kilter scoop of gelato, Death in Venice is the place to go.  With their various flavours featuring ingredients like parsnip, kaffir lime, and lavender, you’d be advised to look elsewhere if you’re hoping for a scoop of plain chocolate or vanilla.

Of course, it’s easy enough to serve oddball flavours as a novelty; it’s not-so-easy to make them actually taste good.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.

I can happily say that Death in Venice absolutely nails the whole “tasting really good” thing.

On this particular visit I tried the pistachio yogurt and baklava, which was outstanding.  It features crispy bits of phyllo pastry, pistachio chunks, and honey, which really nails the baklava flavour.  The yogurt adds a very subtle tartness.  There clearly isn’t enough yogurt here to qualify this as frozen yogurt; there’s just enough to add that flavour without being overly sour.

Death in Venice Gelato Co.

That’s not to mention the lemon zest, which works perfectly with the other elements here.  I think there might have also been ricotta?  I’m not sure.

But you know what I am sure about?  That this was great.  Because it was great.  Aside from the really interesting combination of flavours, the gelato itself was creamy and luxurious.  It’s good stuff.