For the chef’s choice: Alberobello
Launched: June 2020.
Prep work: If you’ve dined at George Restaurant, you may know Executive Chef Lorenzo Loseto’s gelatos and sorbets from the tasting menus. During the pandemic, he decided to start selling them by the pint. “I’ve made every base and packed every single one,” says Loseto. His techniques are informed by the most delicious higher education: He attended Carpigiani Gelato University in Italy years ago.
Favourite flavours: Options are ever-changing as Loseto has fun experimenting. Purists might gravitate toward Alberobello’s Chocolate, his perennial personal favourite. Other popular picks include Candied Pistachio and Sponge Toffee Pecan.
Where to find it: alberobellogelato.com
For the fusion flavours: Nani’s Gelato
Launched: A gelato food truck started in June 2019; a brick-and-mortar location (6 Charles St. E.) followed a year later, mid-pandemic.
Prep work: Founder Parry Sohi still has fond memories of his father’s soft-serve shop, so the pivot to creating his own small-batch ice cream was years in the making. After leaving the corporate world, he travelled to the U.S. for training in the art of gelato, then introduced his spin on the frozen dessert: Indian, Asian and fusion flavours.
Favourite flavours: Sohi and co-chef Christie Lai’s unique, from-scratch offerings include Punjabi Milk Cake, Coconut Black Sesame Swirl and Saffron Cardamom Kulfi. “Once summer hits, we start integrating Ontario strawberries, plums and peaches into gelatos — the flavours are so refreshing,” says Sohi.
Where to find it: nanisgelato.com
For the elevated classics: Ice Creamonology
Launched: A pop-up (390 Queens Quay W.) opened March 2021; stay tuned for a permanent location this summer.
Prep work: Ice cream was an everyday pastime when founder Onur Yilmaz was growing up in southern Turkey. “It never snows — you can live almost seven months of summer,” explains Yilmaz, who studied gastronomy and culinary arts in university and has more than a decade of kitchen experience. When he and his family moved to Toronto three years ago, he wanted an ice cream spot to call his own.
Favourite flavours: Yilmaz is a pistachio devotee himself, but the most popular options are Turkish Coffee and White Chocolate & Blueberry Cheesecake.
Where to find it: icecreamonology.com
For the rich custard base: Creamery X
Launched: An online shop kicked off September 2020.
Prep work: After reading an article about another ice creamery, self-described “ice cream fanatic” Bonnie Gallant and baking enthusiast Melissa Baird started dreaming about exiting their corporate jobs. They jumped into recipe testing, then launched online and at pop-ups before moving to a dedicated kitchen early this year.
Favourite flavours: “We make custard-based ice cream, which incorporates egg yolks for a denser, richer mouth feel,” says Baird. The newest sellout is French Canadian Toast, made with maple-coated chunks of Bonnie’s Bread Co. cinnamon challah. There are vegan options, too, like The Elvis, with a banana base, peanut butter ripple and dark chocolate sourdough bites.
Where to find it: creameryx.ca
For the vegan recipes: Honey’s
Launched: A pop-up started in October 2020; an official location (1448 Dundas St. W.) followed in December.
Prep work: Ashley Wittig used to own the vegan bakeshop Bunner’s, so getting into ice cream felt like a natural next step. “Still in my ‘sweet’ wheelhouse, I could use all my baking skills and apply it to making the best dairy-free ice cream out there,” she explains. Everything at Honey’s — named after Wittig’s rescue pup — is plant-based and gets its textural delightfulness from coconut and cashew creams.
Favourite flavours: Wittig’s personal pick is the sweet-tart Plain Yogurt and Blueberry Jam for its simplicity, but the top crowd-pleaser is Peanut Butter & Saltine, complete with crunchy cracker bits.
Where to find it: honeysicecream.ca