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.
Location: 583 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Soul Chocolate is a delightful chocolate/coffee shop on the east end that has some seriously satisfying chocolate soft serve. Like, ridiculously satisfying.
I also tried the chocolate chunk cookie, and that’s very good too — it has a nice chewy texture, a sweet buttery flavour, and a whole bunch of great quality chocolate chunks. It’s lightly sprinkled with just the right amount of salt to offset its sweetness.
As delicious as the cookie is (and it’s extremely delicious), it’s overshadowed by the phenomenal soft serve.
Seriously: this stuff is pure magic. It’s perfectly rich and creamy, though it’s the intense chocolatey flavour that really makes it stand out. It’s got that bold flavour that you only get from great quality dark chocolate, and it’s amazing.
It actually reminds me of the thick, rich drinking chocolate that they serve at Soma — only it’s ice cream. If you’re thinking that sounds delightful, you are correct. It is delightful. Extremely delightful.
Location: 25 The West Mall, Etobicoke (inside Sherway Gardens)
I’m just gonna say it: milkshakes are for jerks.
Well, okay, maybe that’s not true. Milkshakes are perfectly delicious, but generally speaking, if I’m going to eat ice cream, I want to eat ice cream. I don’t need to drink it.
Still, I don’t mind a milkshake every now and then, and since I’ve tried all the cones at Sweet Jesus, I figured sure, why not?
I got the Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Chocolate Hazelnut shake, which features “vanilla soft serve, peanut butter sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream, hazelnut-chocolate sauce, salted pretzel crumble.”
Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff. And it’s quite tasty — it tastes pretty much exactly what you think it’s going to taste like based on that description.
I find a lot of milkshakes to be unpleasantly thick; if I have to struggle to suck it up through a straw, then what’s the point? Just let me just eat it with a spoon. This, on the other hand, was easily drinkable. It was the perfect consistency, though I suspect milkshake aficionados might find it too thin.
Location: 2109 Yonge Street, Toronto
Hey, it’s yet another place doing dipped cones. Hooray?
Look, I can’t say no to ice cream, but as I mentioned in my review of Chocolats Favoris last year, we’ve got a lot of places that serve dipped cones in Toronto. It’s a crowded field.
So does Les Epicuriens stand out? I dunno, not really? I mean, they have a lot of dip options (a dozen when I visited), but then most of these places have a lot of dip options. They also have a handful of toppings (various nuts, candy pieces, etc.), but that’s also par for the course.
I went with the “special vanilla” ice cream (vegan chocolate is also an option) with a pistachio dip.
The ice cream is really good. It’s very rich and creamy with a nice, clean flavour. I’d say it’s about on par with Tom’s.
The dip was fine, though it was aggressively sweet and had only a mild pistachio flavour. It basically tasted like white chocolate with a vague whiff of nuttiness. I’d probably try a different dip next time, or just get the ice cream on its own.
Location: 5449 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke
Though Dairy Queen comes out with new Blizzards on a regular basis, new sundaes are much more rare. Maybe once or twice a year? If that?
They recently came out with not one, but two new sundaes called Cupfections; obviously I was all over it.
There’s the Brownie and Oreo Cupfection, and the Summer Berry Cake Cupfection. I tried the latter, which comes topped with berries (blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries), vanilla cake, and chocolate pieces.
It’s basically a trifle, but with a whole bunch of ice cream instead of custard.
So yeah, it’s good. I think if you replace any component in a dessert with a whole bunch of ice cream, you’re pretty much guaranteed to wind up with something delicious. The soft serve at Dairy Queen isn’t exactly great, but with all that other stuff, it’s tasty.
I watched the guy make it, and it was kind of interesting — I assumed the cake would just be cake crumbs, but he actually pulled out a full sheet cake from the fridge (frosting and all) and then dug into it with an ice cream scoop.
It would have been nice if the berries weren’t so cold (they were partially frozen), but otherwise this was a tasty dessert. I think it’s a summer-only thing, which is too bad — it would be a solid addition to the permanent menu.