The best of the best: vanilla, choco­late and the funky


Montreal’s ice cream scene may be at an all-time high, and credit must still go to those ice cream mak­ers who cap­ture the essence of a flavour in both taste and tex­ture. The two bench­mark “saveurs” for all us ice cream lovers is no doubt vanilla and choco­late, so here are my top picks for those flavours. But we should also praise in­no­va­tion, so I picked my top three funky and de­li­cious flavours as well. Best vanilla: Crème Glacée Bo-Bec This pop­u­lar Plateau ice cream par­lour wasn’t even on my list when I be­gan my ice cream quest. When I saw its creamy white vanilla ice cream sans the oh-so gourmet vanilla beans, I ex­pected some­thing bland. And yet this ice cream is anything but. Yes, it has a fine vanilla flavour, but its su­per creamy tex­ture is what re­ally won me over. And it im­proves lick af­ter lick. The sec­ond time I re­turned to Bo-Bec, there was no vanilla in the dis­play case be­cause, they told me, cus­tomers go for the fancier flavours. Thus far, vanilla has been the shop’s least pop­u­lar flavour. What!? Hope­fully, no longer. Best choco­late: Rip­ples Al­ready well-known to the ice cream crowd, Rip­ples 6X ice cream is the one to beat in Montreal right now. It’s the lay­ers of choco­late used here, the swirl of syrup added in as well as the tiny chips of choco­late that add that ex­tra choco kick. There are loads of good, rich and deca­dent choco­late ice creams in Montreal right now. But this one has a strong but clean flavour, and tex­ture that’s unc­tu­ous without be­ing too fudgy or pud­ding-like. When I dream about the ul­ti­mate choco­late ice cream, this is the bench­mark. Most in­trigu­ing flavours: ■ Leo le Glacier: Roasted fig with al­monds: The base is vanilla and yet the mix-ins in this gelato are what make it sing. Fig is a tough flavour to cap­ture, but when zuzzed-up with al­monds, it makes quite the im­pres­sion. What a treat this would be top­ping a slice of warm choco­late cake, or ginger­bread. Yum!

■ Kem CoBa: Salted brown but­ter: Brown but­ter is a com­mon in­gre­di­ent used in savoury cook­ing and bak­ing that’s beloved for its but­tery and nutty flavour. When added to this ice cream mix, the re­sults are cap­ti­vat­ing: an ice cream that tastes of salt, but­ter and caramel. Or­der a scoop if only to see how well ice cream can carry a flavour no mat­ter how ob­scure.

■ Havre-aux-Glaces: Ginger: Ginger is a flavour that can be played soft or loud, and hap­pily this one is played full blast. Deeply flavoured with fresh pep­pery ginger, this de­lec­ta­ble ice cream gets its sec­ond kick from the addition of can­died ginger. Can’t even imag­ine how good it would be atop a por­tion of sticky tof­fee pud­ding.

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