What's the coolest taste of the summer? We asked ice-cream makers across the country about their favourite new flavours they're churning this year.
Meghan Tayfel, owner of MacKay's Ice Cream, Cochrane, Alta.:
It's fun coming up with flavours. This year, we were like, "Okay, what reminds us of [the Calgary] Stampede?" We all came back to pancake breakfasts. So we thought, well, let's try bacon in it and see what it's like, because everybody seems to be going for sweet and savoury flavours. The pancake breakfast is vanilla ice cream with a ripple of real maple syrup and pieces of buttermilk pancake and bacon. It's really good.
Sometimes it does [take a long time to develop a new flavour], just to get the right combination. The flavours just seemed to come together on this one. It's sort of that sweet maple syrupy flavour, but you get those little bits of smoked bacon flavour. It's just a good combination.
Yvonne Campbell, director of marketing of Cows Inc., Charlottetown, PEI, which also has locations in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and B.C.:
Cowberry is all Island berries. It's strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in a regular vanilla base. All locally grown. It is really nice and fresh. It has been popular, and I think as the summer goes on, it will be [more so].
People's tastes in Halifax and PEI are pretty similar, but Banff and Whistler would have a totally different clientele. There's a couple of flavours that we've had in the past that weren't popular at all in PEI, but sold really well in Whistler. We used to have something like tiger that was orange-pineapple with licorice flavour. It did not sell at all here, but out west, it was huge. On the east coast, people's tastes are probably more traditional.
Blake Frazer, vice-president and manager of Kawartha Dairy Ltd., Bobcaygeon, Ont.:
This was a flavour recommended to us by one of our part-time employees, Jennilee Starr. She's a school teacher but in her off-season she was working in our Minden, Ont., store. She said, "You should have this flavour banana boat. It's all the rage with kids camping." I didn't even know this phenomenon. Around campfires, people get a banana and just slit it down the middle and, I gather, leave the skin on it, and put marshmallow and chocolate inside the slit, and then wrap it up in tin foil and put it on the campfire. Her idea was, how about an ice cream?
It's a banana-flavoured ice cream with a chocolate and marshmallow ribbon in it. It's been very successful thus far. I think it has moved into our top 20 – we have about 50 flavours – quite quickly.
Greg Mahon, owner of Greg's Ice Cream, Toronto:
We're making a citrus berry, which is orange, lime, raspberry and strawberry, all mixed together. It's very summery. We just thought, what would be tasty? What would be refreshing? What would work?
We've been working on some things like beer flavours, a balsamic strawberry, star anise. Having said that, the most popular ice-cream flavours – and I've been in business 30 years – are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry. I love vanilla. To me, vanilla is the flavour of the kings.
Jeremy Muselle, product supervisor at The Udder Guy's Ice Cream Company, Cowichan Bay, B.C.:
At our parlour, lots of people were getting double cones with chocolate and coffee, so we thought we'd try it out.
For our chocolate ice cream, we use a very high cocoa fat-based Dutch cocoa, so it has a really strong flavour to it ... and our coffee ice cream, it's like having a cup of coffee with a nice table cream and a big pile of sugar in it, so that mellows out the cocoa a little bit. You get a nice balance.
It's a pretty safe bet. We have in the past made a roasted garlic ice cream and a lavender ice cream, and those ones do okay, but they're sort of novelty items. A lot of people can't handle a whole cone.
Interviews have been condensed and edited.