Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet. Whatever frozen treat we’re eating is very much different to what we ate as a child. Ice cream as we know it is changing, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Ice cream was once considered a childish delight. But Canadian ice cream makers are heading to Italy to learn about classic techniques and then returning to Canada to innovate.
A small shop in the province of Nova Scotia has a seasonal lobster ice cream that sells out in weeks as tourists and locals clamour to try something unique. It’s inspiring others to rethink the possibilities of ice cream.
Do You Scream for Dairy-Free Ice Cream?
Canadians love ice cream and gelato but they just don’t want dairy in it. One of the biggest trends this year is non-dairy treats made with everything from bananas to oat milk. It’s so popular even football legend Tom Brady has a recipe for avocado ice cream and Halo Top burst onto the scene in Canada with low calorie dairy free flavours, calling it a guilt-free dessert.
Certainly we cannot call this ice cream if it doesn’t have cream. The regulatory boards in Canada agree and so the packing on these products are often called “frozen treats” so that it is not misleading.
I don’t know though, this feels like the frozen yogurt craze of the 80s, don’t you think? Dairy isn’t something that will be a villain forever, as people realize that unless you are lactose intolerant or vegan, it’s perfectly ok to incorporate daily into a healthy diet.
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Soft Serve Making a Come Back
As a child I remember vanilla soft serve ice cream, and then chocolate appeared and that changed everything. But Canada did not see a lot of innovation in soft serve ice cream until recent years.
Not only did the popular matcha tea and black charcoal trend become available in Canada but also 2019 saw the year of gold foil covered soft serve ice cream.
It was not the only food to be covered with gold, but it showed the diversity and adaptability of ice cream in Canada.
Soft serve has become so popular that it’s not simply a side option in traditional ice cream shops. In larger cities like Toronto, there are shops like iHalo Krunch that are only serving soft serve and there are line-ups down the street to get their new flavours.
Classics Remain a Favourite
No matter how much we innovate both how we make ice cream and the flavours that are available, there’s no doubt that we continue go back to the classics of our childhood. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry continue to be some of the most popular sold ice creams in Canada despite now having the stunning violet lavender, addictive salted caramel and even bacon flavours.
And regional specialities from my home province of Nova Scotia are annual favourites. We have the adult’s Privateer’s Bounty ice cream with black-licorice-flavoured ribbons and crunchy butter toffee pieces. For the children the Moon Mist mix of banana, grape and bubblegum continue to remind me of when I was young.
In the end, it’s important to innovate, to strive to become better, but not to forget where we came from. Classics never die.
I’ve partnered with HostMilano as the Canadian ambassador for their international hospitality event in Milan Oct 18-22. Leading up to the event I’ll be sharing some of the top food trends in Canada. Check them out on Instagram and Facebook and read my first post: