By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

The latest Veg Out: Toronto’s Vegetarian Podcast gave a fabulous rundown of the increasing vegan options for ice cream around the GTA.

With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to decide where to go when you feel like treating yourself to something cold and creamy. Imagine what it’s like for me, famous for my sweet tooth, working just around the corner from what’s been dubbed “veg village”, where there are FIVE places serving up vegan ice cream all within a couple blocks of each other.

One might wonder how they can all stay in business at the same time. Isn’t the vegan ice cream market saturated in Kensington? But once you take a closer look, you’ll realize that each place offers something unique and special, making them all worth a visit this summer. I’ve recently designated Thursday as my Veg Village treat day, so that I can make sure I try them all before fall rolls around.

Here’s a little guide to what distinguishes these great options from one another.

Cosmic Treats:

Anyone who thinks vegans are depriving themselves has clearly never stepped into this retro style diner and sundae bar. What sets Cosmic Treats apart is their incredible selection of toppings and twists. At Cosmic Treats, you can opt to top your sundae with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, marshmallows, crumbled cookies like oreos and fudgeeos, gummy candies and more. You can also have your ice cream served up as a part of a massive banana split, or sandwiched between two halves of one of their homemade cupcakes.

Bunner’s Bake Shop:

Bunner’s is where I would recommend going if you are looking for something simply classic. Their soft serve ice cream tastes just like you remember from the Dairy Queen ice cream truck. And you can get it topped with sprinkles too!

Sweet Olenka’s:

If you prefer to eat your ice cream on a stick rather than in a bowl, stop by Sweet Olenka’s for one of their delicious coconut-based ice cream bars! They usually have a couple of vegan ice cream bar options each day, including the adorable bear paw-shaped one. Have a birthday coming up? They also make custom ice cream cakes!

Hibiscus:

Long before the village exploded with all of these ice cream wonders, Hibiscus had been serving their own homemade dairy-free ice cream for years. Hibiscus is the place to go if you’re looking for something that is decadent but still feels healthy and refreshing and not over the top indulgent. They have a variety of flavours (including classics like chocolate almond fudge and specialties like mung bean), and they make them with a variety of bases (including almond or coconut milk based treats). Extra bonus! Hibiscus gives TVA members 10% off.

Seven Lives Palateria:

The newest kid on the block, this place has been getting rave reviews on Blog To and social media. What sets them apart is their focus on tropical flavours! This Blog TO article highlights many dairy-free concoctions they create such as the Mangonada, a dairy-free mango soft serve topped with mango juice, fresh mango chunks and homemade chamoy sauce.