Vancouver Island; Lower Mainland; Southern Gulf Islands; Sunshine Coast

Sweet Summer Treats

Consider it happiness in a waffle cone. Wonderfully rich and surprisingly complex, craft ice cream is summer’s coolest trend here on British Columbia’s coast. Step off the ferry and savour it at these five tasty destinations.

by Joanne Sasvari

Blue Spruce Ice Cream. Photo by Danika Sea.

For an Old-Timey Vibe with a Twist

Welcome Parlour Ice Cream

Welcome Parlour Ice Cream. Photo by Darren Lebouf.

North Vancouver  |  Old meets new at Welcome Parlour. Named in honour of North Van’s very first ice cream shop (Est. 1909) and located in the historic Hodson Block, Welcome Parlour offers luxuriously old-fashioned ice cream with a contemporary spin. “We create in real small batches. It’s all natural, made by hand,” says proprietor Ian Widgery. He and culinary partner Eleanor Chow Waterfall offer shakes, ice cream sandwiches, classic sundaes and floats, including dairy-free and vegan options. For the indecisive, ice cream flights are also available. “Ice cream is a happiness product,” Widgery says. “It brings people together in all different ways.”

Must-try: Apple pie ice cream — made with actual apple pie.

For Flavours of the Forest

Blue Spruce Ice Cream

Courtenay  |  The first time Kirsten Wood and Jonathan Frazier made spruce-tip ice cream and discovered its lovely, woodsy aftertaste, they knew just what their next project would be. In summer 2018, they opened an ice cream shop where they transform the endless bounty of the Comox Valley into decadent treats. “We’re really close with all our farmers,” Wood says. “And ice cream just makes people really happy.” Look for unique flavours like rose pistachio, rosemary candied walnut or toasted coconut vegan ice cream.

Must-try: Spruce-tip — the flavour that started it all. 

For an Italian-Inspired Treat

Salt Spring Gelato

Salt Spring Gelato. Photo by Dan Dawson.

Salt Spring Island  |  Classic ice cream might be the cool kid on the block, but we still love the Italian-style gelato made here. Since 2003, owner Dan Dawson has been pleasing islanders with homemade gelato, sorbetto and frozen cakes in both classic (Belgian chocolate) and inventive (Easter Egg Hunt) flavours. Find it at local markets, including Harlan’s Fine Chocolates in Ganges.

Must-try: Fat-free, dairy-free strawberry mojito sorbetto. “It tastes like summer on Salt Spring,” says Dawson.

For a Taste of The Season

SassyMack’s Ice Cream

SassyMack’s Ice Cream. Photo by Jasmine Brown.

Lund  |  Like summer, some of the many flavours at SassyMack’s are fleeting. Since June 2016, owners Jasmine Brown and Mackenzie Adamson have used the Sunshine Coast’s seasonal produce for their richly old-fashioned ice cream (including at least one vegan option). Think buttermilk strawberry, fresh basil and quirky flavours like caramel corn. Find SassyMack’s at local festivals and markets and, in summertime, at the stand next to Nancy’s Bakery.

Must-try: Local blackberry ice cream (available in August). 

For Surprising Ingredient Combos

Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort. Photo by Autumn Maxwell.

Victoria  |  Over the last 10 years, Autumn Maxwell has churned out more than 475 inventive flavours of handmade ice cream — everything from raspberry-rose, to bay laurel and birch, to avocado margarita. “I love food and flavours and fragrance,” Maxwell says. She makes her ice cream from organic dairy and local eggs, and offers seven flavours every day, including gluten- and dairy-free options. “We make sure there is always something for  everyone.”

Must-try: Ice cream sandwiches made with homemade cookies.