- Adrianne Lovric
Destination: Ice Cream
With its base of simple ingredients, ice cream is the ultimate vehicle for visiting flavour town. This summer, local ice cream shops are busting out internationally inspired flavours and takes on a perennial favourite treat to beat the heat.
Whether as part of a journey, or as the destination itself, prepare to cross several international borders via some of the more unique ice cream experiences Alberta has to offer.
Abbey’s Creations, in Calgary’s Bowness, will challenge customers to choose just one of the exotic flavours made from scratch by co-owner, Abbey Claro. Since May 2020, Claro has been introducing Calgarians to traditional Filipino flavours as well as her own delicious flavour combinations. With at least 32 flavours, be sure to try the top-selling Ube Queso, Halo-Halo, or Sans Rival. Or indulge in other globally inspired flavours like Tahini Grilled Coconut or Eastern Slopes Honey with Persian saffron. Be sure to try Abbey’s July collaboration with Prairie Berries’ saskatoon pie filling.
Edmonton’s Yelo’d has been creating Asian fusion ice cream and desserts since 2018. Their Whyte Avenue shop’s soft serve is a taste of home for Filipino customers and a way to introduce new flavours to a community unfamiliar with Filipino flavours. Try the best-selling Champorado - a warm, semisweet rice pudding topped with the popular ube ice cream or one of the other three soft serve flavours. For a unique take on an ice cream sandwich a Tustado combines ice cream and a toasted pandesal bun. Yelo’d hard ice cream is available out of their scoop trucks, Sosyal. Don’t miss the queso ice cream, which combines a mascarpone base with ube cake.
Say ‘hola’ to ice cream with a Mexican-inspired twist. Kids are the focus at Canelo’s, but this spot tucked in the Calgary community of Killarney is fun for the whole family. With 12 flavours of Foothills hard ice cream, 24 flavours of vegan soft serve, signature ice cream tacos - yes, ice cream tacos - and a choice of free unlimited toppings from the candy bar, Canelo’s has everything an ice cream lover could want. The shop includes a built in step for kids to check out the scooping action, and lactose-free and vegan options as well as gluten-free cones will satisfy most dietary restrictions. Free mini cones for kids two and under, and for dogs!
With locations in both Edmonton and Calgary, Tsujiri’s creations range from traditional matcha to modern tea-related floats and parfaits. The shop’s two soft ice cream flavours are matcha, a high quality stone mill ground green tea powder; and houjicha, a roasted green tea. For a unique experience, try the Tsujiri parfait, which contains sweetened azuki (red bean), a popular Japanese dessert component. It also has genmai (roasted brown rice), warabimochi (a special jelly-like mochi made from bracken starch that is then coated in roasted soybean), and a monaka wafer (made from mochi).
Using spatulas instead of scoops, Noto brings the authenticity of Italian gelato to Calgary. Their 15 to 20 flavours of gelato range from authentic Italian to modern with a twist and are kept at lower temperatures than traditional ice cream to ensure the signature creamy, yet elastic, texture. Nothing beats Noto’s tart, yet refreshing, lemon gelato on a hot summer day, but be sure to try pistachio, Nutella, and black cherry. And lunch will never be the same after Noto’s gelato sandwich - your choice of gelato in a toasted vanilla brioche bun.
Calgary’s Milk will open a scoop shop this summer next door to John’s Breakfast & Lunch on 4th Street NW, where the small batch ice cream shop has been operating as a pop-up since 2019. Created by cousins and best friends, Anita Ly and Tiffany To, Milk ice cream is made from premium ingredients that are inspired by the duo’s Asian roots and their love of family and travel. Milk’s White Bunny is a tribute to Ly’s grandmother who offered White Rabbit candies as a reward for good behaviour. Vietnamese Coffee is a tribute to the pair’s parents for the hardships they faced when they first emigrated from Vietnam. Be sure to check out Milk’s monthly collaborations with local businesses that lead to adventurous flavours.
Calgary’s Dellor is serving up Thai-inspired ice cream made with a custard base that is made daily in-house and gives the ice cream an ultra-creamy consistency. The base is combined with ingredients like cookies, cake or fruit and turned into a tasty treat before customers’ eyes, using a frozen plate to create the signature rolls. With six permanent flavours and two seasonal flavours, dig in to this summer’s key lime cheesecake and lychee berry flavours.
Miller’s Ice Cream and Old School Bus
Travel back in time at Miller’s Ice Cream and Old School Bus Ice Cream. Miller’s has been serving ice cream in Fort Saskatchewan since 1985 and last year began operating out of a historic railway station built in 1905. Ride the train to flavour town with Miller’s more than 40 flavours of premium Foothills Creamery ice cream, and an ever-expanding menu of summertime treats that includes next level milkshakes and fresh fruit frozen yogurt. Check out the Caboose, a new menu item that includes four flavours of ice cream served in a sampler box. Keep an eye out for Fort Saskatchewan’s sheep that trim the grass in City parks. They are often found behind Miller’s until 8 pm.
Old School Bus Ice Cream
Canmore’s Old School Bus Ice Cream has been keeping it simple for 17 years. This family favourite serves Chapman’s and London ice cream out of a 1976 school bus. With a huge local following, families enjoy a reasonably priced scoop after a day’s adventure. With approximately 26 flavours that vary from week to week, dairy-free options and Hawaiian shaved ice are also available. Kids cones are actually kid-sized, so parents won’t have to finish a giant scoop of bubblegum ice cream.