Chilling Me Softly

The creamiest, dreamiest, most over-the-top soft serve sensations this summer


Sweet Jesus’ Red Rapture

This relatively reserved creation (you should see some of their others) from the darling of the city’s cone-hounds has crumbled red velvet cake, a schmear of cream cheese icing, a raspberry drizzle and crunchy meringue shards over a twisting tower of vanilla. $7.50. Multiple locations,

iHalo Krunch’s Black on Black

Claims of charcoal’s health benefits may be dubious, but pitch-black charcoal soft serve in a waffle cone of the same hue is peak Instagram fodder. Just don’t plan any photo shoots or public speaking engagements until after you brush your teeth. $6.50. 318 Queen St. W., 647-505-3777, @ihalokrunch.

The Fix Ice Cream Bar’s Like A Sir

This cup of surprisingly creamy vegan peanut butter soft serve is finished with a chocolate crackle, a dusting of candied peanut powder, and your choice of curlicue, handlebar or bushy vegan chocolate ’stache. (They call it Like a Sir for a reason.) $6.50. 207 Queens Quay W., 647-977-276, @fixicecreamto.

Wvrst’s Salted Maple Rosemary

Sweet up front and savoury in the back, Wvrst’s salted maple rosemary soft serve is the perfect herbaceous segue from dinner to dessert. While you’re at it, ask them to add some crunchy duck-fat fry bits. We shouldn’t have to tell you why. $6.50. 609 King St. W., 416-703-7775, 

La Diperie’s Kid at Heart

The opportunities for mix-and-match combos at this Danforth dessert parlour are infinite, but we like the Kid at Heart, with its Yayoi Kusama–like technicolour sprinkles. (There’s dark fleur de sel chocolate, too, for kids with more mature palates.) $5.15. 372 Danforth Ave., 416-901-7130,

Roselle Dessert’s Earl Grey

For 50 cents extra, Corktown’s cute-as-a-button confectionery will take their earl grey soft serve to the next level by adding house-made lemon curd, crispy white chocolate bubbles and a mini–shortbread cookie. $5. 362 King St. E., 416-368-8188,

Booyah’s Chocolate Dip

There’s something so perfectly summery about a straight-up dipped cone that we sometimes prefer to overlook the flashier fare. Here, soft serve goes for a brief plunge in a tub of Belgian chocolate and emerges with a smooth new coat. $4.70. 16 Vaughan Rd., 647-347-2001,

Bar Ape Gelato’s Fresh Mint

The flavours change often at this small-batch-gelato window, but the fior di latte–style fresh mint is a perennial favourite. Made with nothing more than sweetened milk and fresh herbs, it has nothing in common with the neon-green stuff you’ll find in the back of a freezer. $4.42. 283 Rushton Rd., 647-223-4931,

Chocolats Favoris’ Cookies and Cream

Covered in white chocolate that hides an avalanche of cookie crumbles, the Cookies and Cream cone is like an inside-out Oreo. Make it “kooky” by adding dark chocolate coulis and bitty cookie balls. (FYI, bibs are provided.) $7.98. 1440 Major Mackenzie Dr. W., Vaughan, 905-303-1616,

Eative Film Cafe’s 24K Ice Cream

The city’s glitziest soft serve comes blanketed in a sheet of 24-karat gold. The precious metal itself is tasteless, but every lick of the stuff comes with a teeny metallic zing—a gentle reminder of how fancy you are. $12. 230 Augusta Ave., 416-890-9079,

Tom’s Dairy Freeze’s Rainbow Flavour Burst

Since 1969, Tom’s has enticed people to its Queensway corner for classic treats, and the colourful Rainbow Flavour Burst cones are hard to resist. Each stripe stands on its own: the orange tastes like orange, the strawberry tastes like strawberry, and the “blue goo,” well, that tastes like cotton candy. $5.75. 630 The Queensway, 416-259-1846,

Forno Cultura’s Toasted Walnut

Bread is at the heart of everything this bakery makes—including gelato. Sourdough steeped in milk becomes the base, imparting the final product with a subtle toastiness. Toasted walnuts and burnt salted caramel make it one of the most gastronomic cones in town. $5. 609 King St. W., 416-603-8305,

Piano Piano’s Brown Butter

There’s a playfulness to Victor Barry’s Italian dining room that extends to the soft serve options, which have included strawberry Nesquik and rich chocolate Ovaltine. But it’s not all child’s play: the brown butter version is velvety and sweet with just a touch of savoury, and coated in brown-butter crumbles. $9. 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788,

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cereal Milk

Christina Tosi, the confectionery queen behind Crack Pie, has some serious soft serve game. A frozen swirl of her ingeniously trademarked Cereal Milk creation, dipped in crunchy cornflake bits, tastes just like Saturday morning cartoons. $6. 190 University Ave., 2nd flr., 855-333-6455,

Eva’s Original Chimneys’ Dream Cone

This is no ordinary cone: it’s a chimney, a doughy Hungarian specialty, coated in sugar and served warm. The inside of the Dream Cone is coated with Nutella before the ice cream goes in, which is then topped with brownie, salted caramel streaks and toffee bits. $9.75. 454 Bloor St. W., 416-697-8884,


This piece originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $24 a year, click here.