Designer ice cream gets warm reception in Calgary

Locally-made, designer ice cream is hot this summer with some flavours that are cutting through the heat with style.

Calgarians are lining up around the block for flavours like coconut charcoal and raspberry-beet yogurt

Jess Hua of Village Ice Cream says ice cream is the perfect cooling agent for a long, hot summer. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Locally-made designer ice cream is hot in Calgary this summer with some flavours that are cutting through the heat with style.

The top trending flavour for Gareth Lukes, owner of Lukes Drug Mart in Bridgeland? Coconut charcoal ice cream.

"It's black. It looks really interesting. It tastes great. It has been successful so far. We have been really blown away by the response," said Lukes.

"It's crazy, you get everyone from kids to senior citizens just coming in. It is really sort of a democratic product."

Lukes says the non-traditional colour isn't turning people off.

"Oddly, nobody seems to be scared by the black ice cream. Once you taste it, it is just like, this is normal ice cream, it's nothing too crazy."

Gareth Lukes of Lukes Drug Mart says coconut charcoal is hot right now, despite its unusual appearance. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Jess Hua of Village Ice Cream — which has locations in Marda Loop, Britannia and the Beltline — says ice cream is the perfect cooling agent for a long, hot summer.

"We have been really busy lately and it has been really awesome seeing so many Calgarians out and about, just really enjoying summer, especially coming off a summer last year that was pretty rainy," Hua said.

She says colour and flavour are driving trends in the frozen dairy category.

"Things that are incredibly beautiful and things that just shout from the rooftops just how delicious they are and how visually appealing they are. Traditionally a lot of ice cream is a lot of beige colours but this year we introduced a lavender flavour that was a big hit," she said.

Willing to wait

"It was the first purple ice cream that we have had, that was very naturally purple. Some people are co-ordinating their outfits in it as well, that was really hilarious to see."

Marcus Purtzki of Made By Marcus Microcreamery on 17th Ave. says a lot of people are willing to wait for his product.

"Typically we get lined up probably starting at 7 p.m. and we hit that line until maybe about 10:30 or 11. If it's around the block, it takes us 45 minutes to get to that last person. We try to get it kind of within that half an hour range, but we do what we can with how many people are in front of us."

Marcus Purtzki of Made By Marcus Microcreamery says raspberry-beet yogurt is popular right now, as is this unicorn ice cream, pictured. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Purtzki says the most unique flavour right now involves a rare coupling of tastes.

"The most unusual flavour, I would say, was raspberry-beet yogurt, which was really interesting using some fresh beets in there. For Stampede, we are doing a toasted hay Saskatoon berry. That's going to be a little bit far-out there type of flavour.

"We are going to make just a normal base out of alfalfa hay and then do a swirl of Saskatoon berry jam in it," he said.

"Super interesting, we will see how it goes."

With files from Paula Duhatschek