Location: 394 Queen Street West, Toronto
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).
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.
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:
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.