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Five of this summer’s new over-the-top frozen treats, ranked

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While the dog days of summer and ice cream are as natural a pair as they come, there’s more than sweet, sugary refreshment to be had in the frozen treats below. The antidote to a gloomy news cycle is a healthy dose of silliness. These googly-eyed, watermelon-encased, churro-wrapped beauties are meant to be enjoyed with the starry-eyed joie de vivre of a six year old on their way to summer camp. Here are five wacky frozen desserts you need to try before the season is over (and not one of them contains ketchup or mustard).

1 Pancho’s Bakery, inside Kensington Market’s Latin American food court, turns out stellar churros, so it’s only fitting that it would innovate ice cream accordingly. Using dough made fresh each morning, the staff at Pancho’s fry up chonky churro cones to order. After the warm cone is dusted with cinnamon and sugar, customers choose their ice cream flavour, syrup and topping. We suggest a scoop of pistachio with dulce de leche drizzled beneath and on top of the ice cream. Then finish it all off with Oreo crumbles, Froot Loops, Hershey’s Kisses or Fruity Pebbles. The contrast of warm cone and ice cream is delightful.  

2 Markham’s Langham Square is home to Canada’s only outpost for Roji Monster Ice Cream, a Taiwanese chain that specializes in desserts almost too cute to eat. The googly-eyed creations come in a wide variety of flavours—the most popular of which is matcha, closely followed by black sesame and chocolate. Each little monster comes with a choice of two toppings, like dango (rice flour dumplings), red bean or hojicha jelly. For something that could be easily written off as a gimmick, the punchy, not-too-sweet quality of this ice cream is well worth a visit.  

3 Bahamian daiquiris—that is, non-alcoholic dairy-free soft serve—is the specialty at Daiquiri Drive, a two-month-old Parkdale counter. Its zaniest creation, which comes in a watermelon vessel, will attract jealous looks from kids and kids at heart. Customers who opt for twisted soft serve can choose up to four flavours—the classic has piña colada, strawberry, mango and pineapple—which end up in a scooped-out mini watermelon. The ice cream is adorned with juicy spheres of said melon, skewered citrus gummy candies and whimsical (but inedible, of course) cocktail umbrellas.  

4 Hawaiian shaved ice is the inspiration behind this teeny counter tucked away inside a Leslieville appliance store. It’s sort of like a snow cone but lighter and fluffier, and at Ice Queen, it’s available in an array of flavour and topping combinations. The shop’s signature offering, the Leslievillian, is covered in a colourful blend of blue raspberry, mango, pineapple and strawberry syrups. While delicious as is, you’d be well advised to order it Hawaiian style for an extra two bucks—that is, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom. Toppings include sprinkles, lollipops, Oreos and house-made cotton candy. (For our money, the banana flavour is the way to go.)  

5 Julie Haist’s pandemic-born business, Ernie’s Icebox, amassed a cult following for her made-from-scratch ice cream sandwiches in flavours like peanut butter and jam, birthday cake and strawberry rhubarb. They became so popular that her online store is now an IRL one in Baby Point. Our favourite flavour, s’mores, brings the campfire to your kitchen—no permit required. Vanilla ice cream studded with marshmallows and graham cracker is smooshed between two chewy, chocolatey brownies.

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