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Ice Cream Divine

Discover Calgary’s best spots for finger-licking-good ice cream

By Chloe Jones and Jennifer Hilliker

In Kensington, this Italian ice cream shop features 72 flavours that are constantly rotated throughout the day. These 72 selections come from a bank of 500 flavours, including chocolate, lemon meringue pie, caramel green apple, vanilla black current and cinnamon. There’s also a selection of fruit sorbettos, frozen yogurt, tofulati (non-dairy), low-sugar gelato, and-low sugar sorbetto. The cafe gets busy during the evenings, but they have a way to serve crowds fast: pay first, then line up to choose your flavour.

Also known as Leavitt’s Ice Cream Shop, this family-run ice cream parlour is designed like a ‘50s soda shop and located just off the Bow River Pathway. Try one of their regular flavours in a homemade waffle cone, or a pick of the month such as raspberry cheesecake and Turtle. Lic’s also makes ice cream cakes, which can be ordered for special occasions.

MacKay’s, in Cochrane, has been serving handmade ice cream for more than 60 years. It began in 1948 when the main highway was re-routed off Main Street and away from the general store that James and Christina MacKay owned. The couple wanted to bring people back to their store, so they started making ice cream in the back of the shop. Now, MacKay’s goes through more than 120,000 litres of ice cream per year, which is about 630,000 scoops. The 16 to 18 per cent butterfat (most ice cream contains 10 to 12 per cent) creates a rich, dense and creamy taste.

A trip to the Marble Slab is an experience in itself. The venture starts with the aroma of fresh baked waffle cones when you enter the store. Next, you’re faced with the decision of choosing from daily made flavours like lemon custard, apple ‘n’ spice and peanut butter banana. Your selection is then scooped onto a frozen marble slab, where “mixins” of your choice are added (fruits, candies, cookies, or chocolates). The result: your own ice cream creation. If you find the selection of combinations overwhelming, try one of Marble Slab’s own concoctions such as Rainbow-nanza (sweet cream ice cream with M&Ms and assorted sprinkles) or Blue Cheese (cheesecake ice cream with two scoops of blueberries).

At My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe, 72 flavours are poised to satisfy any craving. There are flavours that taste like hot drinks (Japanese green tea) and flavours for more conservative palates, such as strawberry, chocolate peanut butter swirl and Rolo Rolo. The shop opened in 1981 in the Marda Loop neighbourhood, and has been serving an array of flavours ever since. Sit back and enjoy your treat or play the grand piano for 10 minutes to get a free ice cream.

Although Inglewood’s Nectar Desserts specializes in gourmet sweets such as tarts, cakes and sticky toffee pudding, there is also a large selection of ice creams and sorbets. All ice treats are made from scratch in small batches using natural ingredients. Creamy flavours include Mexican vanilla, fleur-de-sel caramel and pistachio, while fruity sorbet choices include mango, raspberry, apricot and blackberry.

The first Canadian location of this popular frozen yogurt franchise does not disappoint, especially if you’re looking for low-cal options. Spoon Me offers fat-free, natural yogurt in three flavours – natural, green tea and acai berry – with only 83 calories per serving. You can add fresh fruit toppings, like strawberries, kiwi and pineapple, or non-traditional additions like Cap’n Crunch and craisins.

A hidden gem at the Calgary Farmer’s Market, this stand offers a variety of fruity sorbets and gelatos, as well as specialty coffees. Feel like mixing the two? Try the affogato, a hot-and-cold combination of gelato doused with espresso.

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