Over the past few years during my foodie travels, I’ve sampled artisanal ice cream from various famous ice cream shops such as Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, Fifty Licks in Portland, and recently Molly Moon’s in Seattle. I’ve always been envious of these cities and wished that we would have something similar here in Calgary. Hence, I was really happy to learn that an artisanal gourmet ice shop has finally opened up in Calgary a few weeks ago. The Village Ice Cream Scoop Shop & Kitchen is tucked away in an obscure building in the neighbourhood of Victoria Park. It was perfect timing that they had opened just before the Calgary Stampede as they are located just blocks away from the Stampede grounds. If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would never have known about this place. After reading all the online buzz about Village Ice Cream, I finally made my way over to check it out yesterday.
Their ice cream is hand-made in small batches and they definitely offer up some unique flavours. Village Ice Cream has a regular line-up of flavours as well as a few seasonal ones, which will be switched up frequently. They also have a dairy-free option available. On this visit, I had a chance to sample the Salted Caramel. I was impressed at how well-balanced the flavours were. The Salted Caramel was quite rich but I was happy that it wasn’t overly sweet. I noticed this version is milder than the version from Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco but it was tasty nonetheless. And I would have chosen it on this visit, had I not been sidetracked by their seasonal flavours. I figured that since the Salted Caramel is in their regular line-up, I’d have plenty of opportunity to have it during future visits. The second flavour I’d sampled was the Cardamom. If you are a chai tea lover, this one is for you. The cardamom flavour was quite pronounced. Personally, I couldn’t see myself eating a huge amount of the Cardamom in one sitting but if paired with the right dessert, it would be amazing! Lastly, I sampled the Hibiscus-Juniper Sorbet as it sounded intriguing. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at how fruity and tangy it was. I was half expecting it to be quite floral because of the hibiscus and was surprised that it didn’t taste floral at all. Also, with the juniper, I was curious if the sorbet would taste “like a shrub” since I instinctively associate juniper with Bombay Sapphire. I was pleasantly surprised the sorbet didn’t have a strong pine-y taste at all.
I settled on the “Stampede Breakfast” ($5 for single scoop, $7 for double, $9 for triple), which consisted of maple ice cream topped with crispy bacon pieces, crunchy waffle bits, and real maple syrup, since it would only be available during Stampede week. I’d strategized that if I fall in love with it on this visit, I would be able to go back a couple more times before this week would be over. I really liked that the bacon was added as a topping instead of mixed in with the ice cream. That way, the bacon remained crispy. I’d found in other versions of bacon ice cream that I’d tried in the past some times the bacon loses its crispiness due to the moisture in the ice cream. All the flavours really worked together in perfect harmony. I liked that maple ice cream along with the drizzle of maple syrup on top wasn’t overly sweet. I’m totally addicted to this combination and hope that they will keep it on the menu permanently even after Stampede is over.
I could see myself going back to Village Ice Cream again and again. The flavours they have are unique but at the same time, very well-balanced. What they have to offer is definitely a first of its kind in the Calgary market. We’ve had a few ice cream shops around town but none that makes artisanal ice cream with unique flavours like this. In addition to selling ice cream by the scoop, they also have pints available for take away.
Village Ice Cream
431 10 Ave SE