The best ice cream parlours in Toronto are at the height of their busy season now, which is the best time to get flavours fresh and frost-free, if you don’t mind line-ups. There’s been an explosion of new parlours opening all across the city, so this list will probably be out of date by the time the summer is over and proprietors look over the balance sheet to see if they’ll make it through the winter.
Let’s not think about winter, though, in this brief efflorescence of summer’s heat and light. It’s also not worth thinking about ice cream as health food. You can fool yourself that a sorbet, for instance, is lean and palate-clearing, or that gelato, in sparing quantities, is easy on the waistline. But nobody’s fooled by ice cream – at its best or worst, it’s still a big, chilly depth charge of milk fat and sugar, but who cares? Life is short and summer shorter, and ice cream is the neon in summer’s Vegas skyline.
As a challenge to each parlour, I asked them to pick a single flavour meant to sum up what they do, on the end of a little plastic spoon. What I learned is that this city has a serious woody for marshmallow – roasted, toasted and burnt.