As we enter the season with heady heat, summer breezes, and brilliant sunlight, our days become longer and more people are outside to reap its benefits. Charming ice cream parlours become filled to the brim with locals in need of something sweet to cool off with. No one can deny the intoxicating aromas of freshly made Belgian waffles, cones, and buttery cookies; they salivate but wait patiently for their turn at the till to order a cool, creamy, and refreshing treat.

Sweet Sammies
Gourmet ice-cream sandwiches at Sweet Sammies.

Toronto has seen a surge with ice creams, gelatos, and sorbettos getting the artisan treatment. Culinary wizards or individuals who just have a passion for sourcing high quality and great tasting ingredients have elevated humble treats like ice cream sandwiches and ice pops to something akin to tasting a fine wine. Here are a few noteworthy local brands to satiate your cravings for something sweet in the summer…

Augie’s Gourmet Ice Pops
Flavours are fresh, vibrant, and local. Ingredients are sourced from Ontario farmers. Ice Pops are chock full of bloomed fruit and herbs; they are sweetened with a touch of Ontario honey, Ontario maple Syrup, or organic cane sugar. Summer flavours include Sour Lemon Cream (Buttermilk), Tart Cherry + Yuzu, and Concord Grape + Keylime. You can pick up these delectable sweets from Sorauren Farmer’s Market and Evergreen Brick Works.

Bix Bakery
The first thing people remark is how dreamy-smooth the sorbetto is considering there is no dairy involved. Popular choices include lime, dark chocolate, and toasted coconut; and this summer, look out for coffee-donut and blueberry basil flavours. The creamy texture of the sorbetto is thanks to the use of coconut milk which lends irresistible body and richness to the frozen treat. Wafer thin, crisp Italian Pizzelles with the face of a lace doily complete the Italian dolce vita of a dessert. Varieties include Fiori di Sicilia, anise, and matcha green tea.

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Boreal Gelato Cafe
From favourites like salted caramel and chocolate gelato, this cozy outpost in Parkdale has no shortage of fans screaming for more of their cool treats. Look out for seasonal creations such as gelato made with Ontario berries and fruits as well as ruby red Ontario strawberries. Ice cream sandwiches dubbed ‘Gelato Burger’ and ‘Cookie Monster’ include two freshly made oatmeal cookies held together with a heaping scoop of gelato and drizzled with caramel or chocolate sauce. It’s sure to be a sugar rush worthy of anyone with a major sweet-tooth.

Jedd’s Frozen Custard
Reminiscent of the soft-serve we grew up with, this rich concoction uses a generous amount cream and, in particular, a high amount of egg yolks in it. As a result, the silky, buttery finish and whipped texture will make it a unique item to be devoured amongst Toronto’s landscape of ice cream, sorbet, and gelato shops. Standard favourites include vanilla and chocolate. The third flavour is usually a feature: from tiramisu, chocolate banana, to an apple sorbet. Currently, Jedd’s offers Belgian waffles and fruit atop a scoop of their frozen custard. Look out for waffle ice cream sandwiches in the near future.

Sweet Sammies
It is a revelation to every child when they are first exposed to the ice cream sandwich. They’re not aware that such a combination exists in the world, but fall in love at first bite regardless. Sweet Sammies wants to return those nostalgic feelings to adults and shape new ones for children alike. There will be no troubles to get young and old addicted, especially with whimsical names for creations like O Canada (Canadian maple bacon ice cream in a red velvet whoopie pie) and Dr. Feel Good (rum raisin ice cream in oatmeal-raisin cookies). Everything is made from scratch and no preservatives are used. Look out for seasonal delights like Strawberry Cheesecake and Ontario Cherry.

Be Good Gelato
Seven words: Moreno cherry gelato with chocolate cookie sandwich. Some people in Toronto think it’s good luck when they happen upon the white squirrel in Trinity Bellwoods; we know we’re having the best day ever when we’re in the same place at the same time as the Be Good Gelato bike, aka the “mobile gelateria,” that roams through the streets of Toronto making frozen treat fantasies come true. Following Be Good Gelato on Twitter to find the brand’s whereabouts is like chasing chocolate, cherry and vanilla dreams on the hour. Summer is here, folks, and it starts with keeping the finger on the pulse of the gelato cart.