Real, whole milk ingredients are the secret to some of the city’s creamiest soft serves. Swirled and stacked with toppings or drizzled in sauces, this twisted treat is no longer limited to plain vanilla or chocolate flavours. Instead, refreshing, fruity takes that almost mimic gelatos are on the rise, as are the features of the cones that house one of summer’s favourite treats. Here’s where to find the best soft serve ice cream in Toronto.
Eva’s Original Chimneys
Eva’s Original Chimney first rose to fame in Toronto with their intricate, homemade “doughnut” cones, which offered a surprising twist (pardon the pun) on soft serve ice cream. Chimneys, which are the cones Eva’s is known for, are traditional, freshly-baked Hungarian pastries that are satisfyingly crunchy on the outside and soft and billowy on the inside. Stuffed with soft serve, they’re the perfect summer treat. All of Eva’s ice cream chimney cones are made with cinnamon sugar. Eva’s original chimney cones (available with vanilla or vegan vanilla soft serve) are $7.50 each. Extra homemade sauces, like Reese’s Peanut Butter or raspberry, can be added for an extra $1. Eva’s also makes nine premium chimney cones ranging from $8.95 to $10.95 each. Flavours include strawberry cheesecake, birthday cake and mango coconut, to name a few. You can also grab a sundae sans chimney cone for $4.95 to $6.95 or a pint for $8.95.
Cabano’s Comfort Food
Cabano’s Comfort Food, known for their fried chicken sandwiches, wings and cheeseburgers, is offering soft serve ice cream, too. Cabano’s flavours rotate regularly, but most have a chocolate, vanilla or twist base. Their most recent special was an Oh Henry soft serve sundae topped with caramel, fudge syrup and peanuts. The soft serve ice creams use premium products, including over 10 per cent butter fat (which is about double regular soft serve and triple ice milk). The machine Cabano’s uses for its soft serve is also made in Italy, which produces an end product that’s smooth and fluffy like whipped ice cream.
Tom’s Dairy Freeze
Since 1969, Tom’s Dairy Freeze has been offering authentic soft serve ice cream from a no-frills, service-style counter in south Etobicoke. Here, you’ll find the classic chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve, more than 20 soft-serve sundaes, like the hot fudge with peanuts, towering banana splits with maraschino cherries and rainbow sprinkles, milkshakes and ice cream floats. Earlier last year, Tom’s also opened up a ghost kitchen near Queen and Ossington serving up take-home pints for pick-up and delivery only.
This ice cream shop’s signature black cones, naturally coloured with activated charcoal, are what first put iHalo Krunch on the map in Toronto, but the demand for their Asian-inspired soft serve flavours is what keeps the customers coming back. With three locations, one in Trinity-Bellwoods one in High Park and one in Vaughan Mills, iHalo has four signature single flavours: Ube All the Way (purple yam); Black on Black (coconut mixed with activated charcoal); Meet Your Matcha (Japanese green tea, caffeine included) and Bean There, Done That (Madagascar vanilla bean). There are also five twist cones available, all integrating a combination of iHalo’s four signature soft serve flavours, set inside a homemade waffle-based cone. Limited edition flavours also spontaneously appear throughout the year, so even after summer’s done, be sure to keep an eye on their Instagram feed for upcoming fall flavours.
Milkcow Cafe makes its soft serve ice cream with local, organic milk. The end result is a light and creamy treat that tastes even better, once you know it’s preservative-free. Instead of offering the standard chocolate or vanilla, there are 12 flavours on the menu in a range of unconventional flavours. The Black Pearl, for example, blends vanilla ice cream with hazelnut syrup, sea salt and crunchy cocoball toppings. For those with a sweet tooth, sugary creations like the Mont Blanc (vanilla soft serve blended with chocolate rocks, apple syrup, Oreo crumble and cotton candy) or the Santorini (Oreo crumbles, tropical blue syrup, pistachio crumble and cotton candy) are sure to do the trick. Simple options, like plain vanilla soft serve topped with natural liquid honey are also available. Making waves this summer is Milkcow’s take on how to eat ice cream — sandwiched between a refreshing hunk of watermelon.