ice cream winter ihalo krunch

Toronto's still obsessed with charcoal ice cream in the dead of winter

Perhaps surprisingly, there's a healthy chunk of Toronto residents who are passionate about eating ice cream in the winter.

Seemingly unfazed by the fact that they're subjecting their bodies to cold substances in sub-zero weather, these people are seriously committed, braving snowy conditions to grab their favourite scoops in a cone.

It's this level of customer dedication (really though, buying ice cream just to eat it in the warmth of your car deserves an award) that's led the popular West Queen West shop iHalo Krunch, to continue slinging out scoops even in the dead of winter. 

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According to iHalo founder Charlene D'Aoust, the shop was only supposed to be open seasonally, which is why she was surprised to see how many phone calls the store was getting from people requesting store hours during the holidays.

Customers were so unrelenting that she and her partner decided to stay open Friday to Sundays rather than to take a winter hiatus. In fact, business has been so good that Charlene foresees the store staying open every day next winter.

Braving their first snowy season since opening last year, iHalo is most famous for introducing Toronto to charcoal ice cream, a menu item that saw hordes of people lining up to eat (and Instagram) their incredibly photogenic all-black desserts.  

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While lineups are nowhere near as hectic as their summertime queues, there's still a steady wintertime flow of people entering the shop for their famous ube and coconut ice cream, with only a few people dining in. 

"That was the most shocking thing for us, that people were open to grabbing something cold and eating it outside," says Charlene. 

Not all ice cream parlours are down to stay open in the cold weather. Neighbouring store La Diperie is closed until early March, stating that they're taking the off-season months to work on new recipes. 

iHalo will also release a new menu in the spring, with new flavours inspired by Filipino and Vietnamese cuisine. In the meantime, they're keeping their old menu intact for those customers still flocking to the shop for a taste of summer. 

Lead photo by

iHalo Krunch


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