Ed's Real Scoop (Roncesvalles)
Ed's Real Scoop is the real deal. Until now, west-enders have had to make the trek to Leslieville or the original Beaches locations to get a fix, but with the opening of a new spot on Roncesvalles, both sides of the DVP can now enjoy Ed's.
The neighbourhood has responded with enthusiasm. When I arrive on the first warm day of the spring, tons of kids and adults and couples hang around out front licking up their purchases. Inside, others form a line and contemplate what flavour to pick. (I can vouch, it's hard to decide!)
The former True Value hardware store has been transformed. Now, there's a high-tech ice cream making room in the back, with a window so you can watch the proceedings, and a full parlour in the front, complete with cafĂŠ chairs and tables. Decor is kept minimal, with a few vintage bowling pins painted as penguins and other kitschy knick-knacks to distract yourself while you wait your turn. The real focus is the L-shaped freezer counter, glowing with big buckets of yogurt, ice cream, gelato, and sorbet.
Let's talk for a second about the differences between the last three. Both ice cream and gelato usually begin with a similar custard base of milk, cream, sugar and typically, egg yolks, but gelato is churned slower and frozen slightly warmer, incorporating less air and creating a denser, seemingly richer version of ice cream. Sometimes, gelato uses less cream or yolks than standard ice cream, making for a more concentrated flavour. Sorbet is usually a frozen fruit puree or flavoured water and never contains dairy or eggs, but it's churned like ice cream, resulting in that similar smooth texture.
Ed's Real Scoop is great on all fronts. You can get your scoop of choice in a cup or in a plain, sugar, or waffle cone ($2.95-$5.27, plus $1.20 for waffle cones). You could also have it as a milkshake ($4.38-$5.75), go crazy with a sundae ($4.10-$6.46) or a float ($5.35). Drizzle it with hot fudge or hot caramel ($0.80), goodies ($0.50) or whipped cream ($0.60). Take home pint tubs are $8.
I tried the pina colada gelato: nice texture, no graininess, and real, not artificial flavouring, studded with tiny flakes of coconut and a pronounced sweet pineapple taste that was just wonderful. Next was the basic chocolate ice cream: creamy, airy and perfectly chocolatey. The stracciatella gelato - vanilla blended with crumbled chocolate flakes - looks like TV static, and tastes like a stroll through an Italian villa.
I can't list all the flavours here, but the list is extensive - sorbets include mango, blood orange or lemon; frozen yogurts in come in cassis, pineapple or raspberry versions; and gelatos include espresso, tiramisu, coconut or red hot chilli chocolate. The ice cream - by far the longest list - runs the gamut. CrĂ¨me brulee, chocolate cheesecake, burnt marshmallow, chocolate peanut butter fudge, French mint, Guinness, and maple walnut are just a handful of the winning flavours.
What's really fantastic is they seem to pair flavours with the most suitable type of frozen treat - so things stay simple and intense in gelato, yogurt and sorbet is fruit-focused, while the airiness of the ice cream base makes it perfect for heavier experimentation (say, apple pie or cookies and cream).
Judging from the response of the neighbourhood, I'm not the only one who thinks Ed's Real Scoop is doing great things with ice cream ... or gelato, or sorbet, or yogurt, or whatever frozen and churned elixir you like the best.
Photos by Jesse Milns.