Ice 'n Cake
Ice 'n Cake epitomizes all that is The Shops at Don Mills . The dessert and gelato shop--which will be celebrating its one-year anniversary this July--is ostentatiously spacious, bright and boldly designed, with an unapologetic patio-centric attitude.
"See out there?" owner Sue says, pointing out the window to a gated area just beyond Ice 'n Cake's patio. "In the winter, that's a skating rink. Our patio totally changes in the winter; it's heated, and there are couches and blankets so parents can warm up with a hot chocolate or something and watch their kids skate."
The patio has now transitioned back to "summer" mode with tables and chairs, but Sue says no matter what the weather, people are still keen on gelato. "Obviously we hope it will pick up when it gets a little warmer and there are more people walking around," she says. "But even in December, we had people asking for gelato."
Gelato is clearly Ice 'n Cake's raison d'être. Sue studied the art of gelato-making in Italy (where else?) after completing a pastry course at George Brown College. She opened Ice 'n Cake along with her husband and another couple, pooling together their various building, marketing, and print design expertise. But the gelato is left to Sue, who says she uses only natural ingredients to create her more-than 100 flavours, which are all prepared on location.
I get a mini-tour of the cooler, which includes several dairy-free varieties (mango, lemon, grapefruit), kid-friendly options (bubblegum), and customer favourites, such as Ferrero Rocher, to total about 24 varieties. The daily spread is constantly changing, with Sue testing out new flavours, including her latest--an English cake made with lady fingers soaked in rum, folded into custard gelato. "I don't recommend that one for kids," Sue says.
I sample a few of the fruit flavours (always my favourite when it comes to gelato), and especially enjoy the mango and pineapple. Each has a clean, fresh, and very fruity taste and smooth consistency, making me pine for those extra ten degrees that would make it perfect gelato weather. The lemon and grapefruit are a bit tart for me, so to my tastes, the mango is the all-around winner.
The menu at Ice 'n Cake doesn't begin and end with its gelato (as evidenced by its name), and each single ($3.95), double ($4.95) or triple ($5.95) scoop can be paired with a slice of cake or cheesecake sourced from various local bakers.
And while there's plenty of seating inside the shop, the patio--as with most Don Mills shops--is Ice 'n Cake's most coveted area. Even in the winter.
Photos by Stephani Buchman