I have spent nineteen summers in Montreal and every year those hot humid days with orange haze so thick you think you can see the air take me by surprise and I find myself saying, “This is the hottest summer yet!” Those are the days when I come up with a million inventive ways to stay cool: lying on the ground and letting ice cubes melt on my stomach, having wet t-shirt contests alone in my apartment, or eating fifteen popcycles in a row, pushing through brain freezes, but the best I’ve come up with is enjoying a delicious soft serve every chance I get. That is how I began my epic quest to enjoy the best soft serve ice cream Montreal has to offer. I gave them all a chance, even the boring old chocolate vanilla swirl, and came up with a list of the three best soft serves.
Here we go:
Best flavour combination: Maison Publique’s balsam fir and strawberry with honorable mention to their rhubarb and mint.
Chocolate and vanilla is boring. There, I said it. Sure it’s great every now and then but since I’ve tried balsam fir and strawberry there’s no going back. Maison Publique’s soft serve has become part of my Sunday routine. Seriously, who doesn’t love a Sunday Sundae or for that matter, a Saturday Sundae. Also, the sprinkles they add is a terrific touch. When was the last time you ate a sprinkle?
Maison Publique: 4720 Marquette at Gilford
Best dessert: Kazu’s milk soft serve with sake.
It’s the small portion, about the size of a shot glass, but the perfect amount for a perfect finish. A digestif and a dessert combined, it rounds out what is usually a large meal with a refreshing, creamy bite. Nothing more is needed, no fancy presentation or difficult technique, just milk and sake. That’s it, that’s all.
Kazu: 1862 Ste. Catherine W. at St. Marc
Best overall: Kem Coba’s almond milk and sour cherry.
It’s the talk of the town. At least once a week I run into a friend somewhere in the plateau and have the “Have-you-tried-Kem-Coba’s-soft-serve-this-week?” conversation. It’s always emphatic and excited and admittedly the inspiration for this article. It was the almond milk and sour cherry swirl that opened my eyes to a whole new world of tasty summer treats. Perfectly creamy, refreshing and rich at the same time, and whimsically inventive in the flavour combination department. Other Kem Coba favourites include Strawberry Cheesecake and this week’s Raspberry Mango.
Kem Coba: 60 Fairmont at Clark