It’s hard to think of a summer treat more iconic than ice cream; not much can beat two scoops of vanilla or chocolate atop a waffle cone. But Alberta is a province of food artisans and our most innovative ice cream makers have been busy improving upon perfection—with flavours inspired by travel, culture and the seasonal bounty this province provides. If you’re hankering for something cool and creamy, check out this list of deliciousness and plan your Alberta road trips accordingly.
DELLOR ICE CREAM
This family-run shop makes its ice cream right before your eyes when you order. Its Thai-style method involves freezing the cream and mixing your desired ingredients on a cold platter; they’re then spread into a thin layer and scraped into a roll. The result is a richer, denser version of traditional ice cream. Among the refreshing flavours are Eastern-inspired Mango Monsoon and Vietnamese Coffee.
MADE BY MARCUS
Owner Marcus Purtzki has put his food science background to delicious use! With locations in Calgary and Edmonton, his artisanal ice cream parlours dole out farm-fresh, made-from-scratch flavour combos such as bee pollen and lavender, sea salt and goat milk caramel, and lemon curd and blueberry—made with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
Cousins Tiffany To and Anita Ly offer artisanal ice cream in flavours inspired by current trends and their Vietnamese-Canadian roots—try the Milk ‘n Bolo, studded with chocolate cake bits, and Egg Tart with a ribbon of silky custard. Grab-and-go minis and pints are currently available at John’s Breakfast and Lunch, but a standalone scoop shop is in the works for summer!
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VILLAGE ICE CREAM
This Calgary staple recently opened its fourth location (in the Bridgeland neighbourhood) and makes a point of partnering with local purveyors. Its coffee flavour uses beans from renowned local roasters Phil & Sebastian, while Guide’s Mint is studded with chunks of mint cookie by Sweet Relief Pastries.
XO ICE CREAM & WAFFLES
Small batch and made from scratch, XO offers all the classic flavours plus tasty options like blackberry-lavender sorbet and salted caramel chocolate. Creations are inspired by the seasons in this modern ice cream parlour that’s modelled after the mom-and-pop shops of yesteryear.
In business for nearly 75 years, this family-owned institution knows a thing or two about making ice cream. Classic scoops such as butter pecan, rocky road and cookie dough predominate—or try a more fanciful flavour like saffron- and cardamom-infused Kulfi and Filipino-inspired Halo Halo, with mung beans, coconut and jackfruit.
KIND ICE CREAM
Featuring chef-inspired flavours like Sicilian Olive Oil and Toasted Coconut Charcoal, Kind Ice Cream is anything but basic. The small-batch creations come full-dairy, and dairy-free in a captivating menu of rotating flavours like cold brew and Dunkaroos, sure to appeal to adults and kids, alike.
A branch of Italy’s Gelateria La Carraia, the Edmonton location (in the Mayfair Building on 109 Street) opened in 2018 and serves silky smooth gelato in traditional flavours like Hazelnut and Pistachio. Or get a little more adventurous with Ricotta and Pear. For an instant pick-me-up, add a scoop of gelato to espresso, and presto: instant affogato!
This unique shop offers a rotating selection of Filipino-inspired soft serve flavours like purple yam, black sesame and mango. Try them in a waffle cone, as a milkshake or with champorado, traditional chocolate rice pudding.
EVELYN’S MEMORY LANE
In 2012, Hubert Aumeier put his chef skills to work when he took over his friend Evelyn’s long-standing diner in High River. Though the nostalgic setting remains, the menu got a contemporary overhaul, and includes homemade ice cream and sorbet for dessert (or anytime)—in flavours like White Chocolate Rhubarb Ripple, and Rose and Raspberry.
LETHBRIDGE & MEDICINE HAT
The original Swirls, a vibrant walk-up shop in Medicine Hat, is hard to miss—as are the brightly coloured trucks that operate in the Hat, Elkwater and now, Lethbridge. After more than 30 years, Southern Albertans still scream for Swirls’ classic dipped, soft-serve cones, sundaes, floats and candy-blended Arctic Swirls.
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BIG DIPPER ICE CREAM SHOP
The Big Dipper offers over 30 flavours of Foothills ice cream plus several others from local social enterprise Righteous Gelato. Want to shoot for the stars? Top your creamy treat with the Big Dipper’s house-made peanut butter sauce. It’s out of this world!
THE BIG MOO
Stroll Lakeshore Drive with a blended ice cream coffee or a scoop of one of the dozens of flavours at the Big Moo, a former gas station and convenience store that’s now a summertime institution in Sylvan Lake. If you don’t mind getting a bit messy, order one of the gigantic ice cream sandwiches, absolutely loaded with toppings ranging from hot fudge and whipped cream to Reese’s Pieces and gummy worms.
HOW TO SAVE
AMA members save 15% on all regular-price ice cream treats at Marble Slab Creamery throughout Alberta.