In the dog days of summer, when the sun is relentless and the humidity won’t cut you a break, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cream. Not only are our favourite frozen treats delicious, but they have the added bonus of helping regulate your temperature on a hot, sticky day. Scientifically proven or not, that’s a win-win if you ask us. So what will it be: a cup or a cone? One flavour or two? Take your taste buds on a ride to find the shops dishing out ice cream and gelato straight-up, or with a twist.
We all have our go-to ice cream flavour. Do you tend towards crowd pleasers like mint chocolate chip or cookie dough, or do you throw your support behind a polarizing flavour like Tiger Tail? With all the ice cream slingers in the region, aficionados of all ages are bound to find a flavour that tickles their fancy at any of these parlours.
Haliburton County: Minden River Cone will appease both your taste buds and your Instagram followers with its adorable hut, shaped like a soft-serve cone. Don’t miss the tiny storefront of Cool Licks in the town of Haliburton where they dish out hard ice cream, soft-serve, and frozen yogurt.
Hastings County: Visit the Kawartha Dairy in Bancroft during summer and you’ll see just how popular it is based on the line up (it’s worth the wait). Further north in Lake St. Peter, the Scooped Moose serves ice cream and shakes from a sweet little cabin dressed up to the nines.
Lanark County: If you’re all about dairy, you’ll want to stop at the Balderson Cheese Factory for ice cream and fine cheeses. Every town in Lanark has their beloved ice cream parlour, like Scoops in Pakenham, Sweet Scoops in Smiths Falls, or the Almonte Ice Cream Shop – all within walking distance to a waterfront park.
Ottawa Valley: In the Valley, local favourites include homemade treats from Brum’s Dairy in Pembroke and Tracey’s, headquartered in Renfrew but found in parks and beaches all over, like Burnstown Beach. Café Laurent, also in Burnstown, dishes out scoops in homemade, flavoured waffle cones. Have a scoop with a handful of fresh berries you hand-selected yourself for an added special touch at Hugli’s Blueberry Ranch near Pembroke.
Frontenac County: Jossy’s Chill and Grill on Highway 7 is the quintessential road trip stop where you can start with a burger, fries, or poutine, and finish off with a cone or a sundae topped just the way you like it.
When you want to mix it up a little, and feel like you’ve been transported to Italy, pay a visit to one of the fine gelato makers of Ontario’s Highlands. The Ontario Water Buffalo Company in Stirling makes a variety of gelatos from their water buffalo milk, a rare treat you may have never experienced before. The newly opened Farmstead Cheesehouse & Gelateria outside of Pembroke is off to a great start with rave reviews from visitors seeking out their creamy gelato. Another new gelato purveyor in the region is The General Store in Carleton Place, which has recently started serving Ottawa-based favourite, Stella Luna.
Tired of the same old scoop or shake or just want to mix it up? Stop by Cartwright Springs Brewery for a beer float, or the Miner’s Malt Shoppe window at Hidden Goldmine Bakery for a monstrous sundae with their freshly baked butter tarts. Castle Antiques in Haliburton will give you a caffeine kick with their affogato: a scoop of vanilla ice cream drowned in a shot of espresso. Almonte’s Hummingbird Chocolate, widely recognized for making some of the world’s best, has experimented with a chocolate sorbet that will make any chocolate lover weak in the knees. Those who avoid dairy will appreciate Oat & Mill’s creamy oat-based alternative to ice cream that can be enjoyed by the scoop at A New Leaf Food Experience in Petawawa.