One of the finest alliances formed in the world of desserts has got to be the ice cream sandwich—after all, what is more satisfying than a cold slab of creamy frozen goodness pressed between two decadent biscuits? With the rise of artisanal ice cream in Vancouver, shops are diversifying beyond cone and cup, to offer truly exceptional ice cream sandwiches. Here, we share five of the best places in the city to sink your teeth into the beloved frozen treat.
Brown Paper Packages
Discretely located within Pazzo Chow, a tiny Italian café in Chinatown, Brown Paper Packages is easy to miss—but to do so would be a serious shame. Its ice cream sandwiches have reached an almost cult-like status among the city’s savvy ice cream-seekers, in large part due to its endlessly creative flavours. Owner Ashley Watson is constantly dreaming up new combinations of cream and cookie, like lavender and lemon blueberry; sour cherry and cocoa beet; and rose lemon and salted pistachio. Indeed, good things come in small, brown paper packages. 620 Quebec Street.
Innocent Ice Cream
The words “gluten-free” can conjure up images of crumbly, flavourless creations—and yet, Innocent Ice Cream founder Asacia Biln has managed to turn her homemade celiac-friendly ice cream sandwiches into a full-fledged business in a matter of years. “Ice cream sandwiches hold a special place in my heart,” says Biln, who grew up making them from scratch with her mother, “and I want to be able to share them with everyone.” As such, Innocent Ice Cream’s menu is 100 per cent gluten-free with plenty of vegan options. Order a mini-flight of the most popular flavours: Salty Peanut, Cherry Bomb, and the top-selling Fairytale—a marriage of raspberry white chocolate ice cream with a vanilla sugar cookie. 4895 Main Street.
The pretty confections of Beta5 have charmed and attracted Vancouverites to its hidden gem location along Industrial Avenue since 2011. During the spring and summer months, there is yet another reason to visit: ice cream sandwiches. The five flavours, made with either cookie or macaron, are straightforward and classic—think mint chocolate chip, spumoni, and key lime pie—though every weekend, Beta5 offers a special feature flavour. Available between 1 and 5 p.m. until they sell out, these limited-edition ice cream sandwiches have so far included extra tempting combinations likes the strawberry profiterole and orange grapefruit brioche. 413 Industrial Avenue.
For dessert and a show, it’s hard to beat Mister, Vancouver’s go-to for ultra-creamy liquid nitrogen ice cream. At this small Yaletown shop, an arsenal of stand mixers churn away behind a glass window, overflowing with cascades of mist, while ice cream sandwiches in flavours like uji matcha and coconut ash are hand-torched to caramelized perfection. “What makes it even better is that we can dip the sandwich into a chocolate sauce—it kind of looks like a Magnum bar,” says manager JB Verstraeten. For the ultimate summertime treat, order the s’mores sandwich with chocolate ice cream, a graham cracker base, and a toasted homemade marshmallow. 1141 Mainland Street.
Beyond its popular vegan pizzas, Virtuous Pie also has a selection of delectable dairy-free ice cream, made in-house using seasonal ingredients. Ice cream sandwiches are made-to-order with freshly baked chocolate chip and double chocolate cookies, and scoops of peanut butter cookie dough, matcha coconut, and honeycomb caramel, among its other regular and daily offerings. In addition to being plant-based, the sammies are also available gluten- and nut-free. Ice cream sandwiches for all.
Find more of Canada’s best ice cream sandwiches, here.
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