5 places for ice cream
Posted on June 02, 2021 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 5 Comments
There’s nothing quite like an ice cream (or vegan alternative, as you please) on a hot day. There are also many, many great ice cream stops in Atlantic Canada. There are your roadside gems like Octopus Ice Cream on the wharf in St. Martins, N.B. or Pepper Creek Delight near Fredericton (the owners of the latter sadly made the announcement on Facebook in April they are on to new ventures and will not re-open this season). There are world-famous producers like Cows, the Island staple founded back in 1983. There are also local favourites like Moo Moos in St. John’s, N.L. or Berg’s Famous Ice Cream in Conception Bay South, N.L. Yes, most people have a favourite spot. Here, we offer a few more you might work into your summer plans (and because sometimes you just need that second scoop, there are a few more than our usual five count).
Tinkers Ice Cream Shop, Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, N.L.
Tinkers Ice Cream Shop-Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, N.L.
Tinkers “Over the Top” Ice Cream Shop is on Main Road of the tourist and townie mecca of Petty Harbour, the fishing village just 15 minutes from the centre of St. John’s. The shop is co-owned by Angela and Kyanah Chafe. Angela told Atlantic Business Magazine the name comes from her husband Todd who, when taking her out to jig codfish during the summer food fishery, used to say “We’ll only go as far out as Tinkers…” Tinkers Point is a spot found about three kilometres out, known to fish harvesters in the area. But no need for a boat to reach this ice cream shop, where options include a simple vanilla cone, ice cream taco, or you can go over the top as advertised with a signature FreakShake of wonderfully monsterous size and complexity. The choices are many, with flavours always subject to availability, but to help prepare your order, the shop does have snaps of their flavour boards on their Facebook page.
Riverhaven Red Barn, Fredericton Junction, N.B.
Riverhaven Red Barn-Fredericton Junction, N.B.
A family-owned, seasonal operation, Riverhaven Red Barn has developed a loyal following in a very short time. It’s all in response to the setting and the mixture of ice cream with homemade baking. The location is owned by Lenzi and Tarita Aziz, married 32 years now, and sisters Sarah and Naomi Aziz manage the operation, located on the family farm found off Route 101. The family, including two older sons, moved to the area from Ontario in 2016, and the Red Barn opened in June 2020. “We hope to continue to be blessed with all the smiles of our customer family that visits Red Barn on those hot summer days and late-night runs,” stated a message to Atlantic Business Magazine. From their seating area at the Red Barn, visitors have the chance to spot some of the farm residents: sheep, ducks, chickens and, on occasion, a pony. The real treats though are the gourmet sundae desserts, including funnel cakes topped with ice cream. The strawberry sauce is a big seller. As an aside, the family has been selling homemade buns in the off-season. Just say we sent you.
Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream, Saint John, N.B. (photo credit: Allie Ruigrok/Uptown Saint John)
Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream-Saint John, N.B.
Derek Billingsley said he and his family were in Boston on vacation a few years back when they stopped into a small, homemade ice cream shop. “The place was bustling, it was a nice day and everyone was happy,” Billingsley recalls. “We wanted to bring that vibe back to Saint John but with adding our own personal values to the product.” The result is something quite special, with Bella’s Traditional Ice Cream now tucked into a historic building in the city’s downtown. Some early water damage in the older building (dating to the 1870s), led to a renovation uncovering beautiful brick and 13-foot ceilings. The shop is named as a tribute to a family matriarch, Derek Billingsley’s grandmother Josephine Isabella, who was raised in Sunny Corner, N.B. The business keeps “traditional” by handmaking ice cream in small batches, using fresh milk and cream from New Brunswick dairies (they also produce dairy-free options using almond, cashew and oat bases). In terms of the family’s values, it’s all about reduced waste, with no plastic or Styrofoam in shop and dishes made from a sugarcane byproduct. Pints are sold in reusable glass jars, sterilized between uses. It’s all the better to enjoy your cookies and cream, or perhaps a more adventurous ricotta and fig flavour. “COVID has presented its challenges, but we pivoted and sell a lot of pints now. We’re already feeling the optimism on the streets of life starting to return to normal,” Billingsley said.
1 Scoop 2 Scoop, Annapolis Royal, N.S.
1 Scoop 2 Scoop-Annapolis Royal, N.S.
On their first date in the summer of 2017, Annette Schottmann and Maureen Horne-Paul had a hankering for ice cream, but there was no ice cream shop they knew of in their small town. It resulted in a business idea that would nag them until it was finally realized in April 2018, when they opened 1 Scoop 2 Scoop. The shop is a perfect addition to Annapolis Royal’s eclectic mixture of small, independent shops and vibrant arts scene, with some of Schottmann’s nautical-themed craftwork and unique birdhouses available alongside the shop’s sweet treats. At 1 Scoop 2 Scoop, the ice cream isn’t made on site, but it will taste different from the flavours commonly seen in Atlantic Canadian shops and freezers. The owners opted to offer ice cream from Central Smith Creamery, one of the oldest independently owned dairies in Canada. It was originally established in 1896 as a dairy co-op for local farmers in Peterborough, Ontario. Flavours on offer include names like white chocolate wonder, blueberry bliss, espresso flake and salty caramel. You can get a Jones soda ice cream float, or house specials like a Banana Fofana. The couple are also behind 1 Fish 2 Fish, specializing in fish and chips, right next door. So after a dinner of one fish, two fish, have one scoop, two scoop, or as many as you please.
Cherry on Top Creamery, Souris, P.E.I. (photo credit: Carly Boertien)
Cherry on Top Creamery-Souris, P.E.I.
Owner Rebecca Kozak (a.k.a. “Cherry Queen”) had an established culinary career before making the move to “Canada’s Food Island” and starting the Cherry on Top Creamery in 2017. She built dishes in Australia, at bistros and resorts in Alberta and British Columbia, then under Chef Michael Smith at the Inn at Bay Fortune, P.E.I. It all led to a chef-driven approach to her business, even with its whimsical look. Along with her other treats, Kozak’s ice cream uses ADL dairy and produce from Island suppliers. Waffle cones are made fresh daily with in-house batter, making Cherry on Top Creamery ice cream a unique treat. The business now has a year-round location on Main Street in Souris and the seasonal location at the East Point Lighthouse in Elmira. It’s getting more and more attention all the time for its “FREAKshakes,” where some of the toppings – toppings alone – have included toasted marshmallow macarons, salted caramel donuts and a full piece of cake.
La Crémerie Bon Ami Ice Cream, Dalhousie, N.B.
La Crémerie Bon Ami Ice Cream-Dalhousie, N.B.
In the late 1990s, Linda and Henri Lavoie opened a convenience store near the Inch Arran Lighthouse, offering basic amenities and a couple of flavours of hard ice cream during the tourist season. Fast forward a few years and frozen treats are the sole focus. La Crémerie Bon Ami is now a popular ice cream stop offering more than two dozen flavours of hard ice cream, 27 flavours of soft serve, ice cream “tornados,” banana splits and slushies. Frozen yogurts are whipped up from more than 10 different types of frozen fruits, but Henri’s pride comes out handing over a handmade waffle cone dipped in one of 16 flavours, from salted caramel to Belgian chocolate. The pair credit their staff as being “part of our winning recipe,” and they certainly have something going right with regulars driving more than an hour for the pleasure (and some have already been out to wish the couple a “bonne saison”). It helps that the shop is set on a scenic, coastal drive and nearby beach. It overlooks the Bon Ami rocks, a volcanic formation.
Sweet Rock Ice Cream, Bonavista, N.L.
Sweet Rock Ice Cream-Bonavista, N.L.
Sarah and Adam Rochacewich moved to Newfoundland a decade ago now and opened Aunt Sarah’s Chocolate Shop in Trinity to positive reviews, deciding to expand into a whole new sweets business in 2016 with Sweet Rock Ice Cream. Their first ice cream shop opened in the town of Bonavista, offering made-from-scratch product using truly local ingredients as much as possible. Sweet Rock offers a Bono Blueberry Blast made with wild blueberries, for example, or a freshly made waffle cone filled with The Devil’s Footprints (an ice cream made with Newfoundland partridgeberries). Whether it’s a more inventive flavour, or a classic like a French vanilla bean, the company now also produces small cartons stocked with a long list of local retailers interested in local, quality goods. At the same time, there’s nothing like a visit to the Bonavista shop (itself a fully-restored part of Bonavista’s built heritage collection), to the shop in Trinity or the newest location in Rocky Harbour (open this summer, on the water and with windows offering a perfect sunset view).
Truckin’ Roll, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Truckin’ Roll-Charlottetown, P.E.I.
You don’t often hear descriptions of ice cream making using words like “smash,” but then there’s Truckin’ Roll, where the ice cream isn’t scooped, but prepared in front of you using a Thai-inspired method and very cold prep surface. Young co-owners Jalen Macleod and Amanda Beaton started the business on a whim a few years back (Macleod had worked overseas quite a bit and the pair were hoping to spend more time together). They decided to pair their uncommon method with fresh, Island ingredients, even sweetening their cream with P.E.I. maple syrup instead of the traditional white sugar. Try the Cherry Seinfeld made with local Belfast cherries, or the Black Betty with local raspberries and basil. Their treats can be made with a dairy or coconut base and are served out of their turquoise, vintage 1958 French mail truck, found on the corner of Grafton Street and Church Street. A second truck, a 1969 version of the same vehicle, is on the deck of Richard’s Fresh Seafood in Victoria as an alternative. Aside from an in-the-moment treat, the business offers online orders including “freezer filler” packs, with a mix of ice pops, sandwiches and mini jars.
About our “5 Places” series
It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected].
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