Question: What international sporting event begins in t-minus 18 days?
Answer: The London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Question: Will I be acknowledging them here on 365 Days of Dining?
Answer: You bet.
Answer: With THE ICE CREAM OLYMPICS.
Growing up, I wasn’t much of an athlete – my siblings did sports, and I danced. Sure, I dabbled in soccer and basketball as a child, but once I hit twelve years old I chose pointe shoes over cleats and never looked back. Sixteen years of ballet did wonders for my posture, and absolutely ruined my chances of becoming a competent kicker, thrower, catcher, or scorer. My sister still makes fun of me when I play volleyball; apparently it’s hilarious.
I’m happy to announce that after 27 years of searching, I’ve finally found my sport: The Ice Cream Olympics. The events within this highly competitive realm are endless, and I was able to recruit my friend Megan (also a former dancer) to be my teammate for the games. Our lack of athleticism doesn’t matter here, because what’s important in this sport is an appetite, and WE’RE BOTH HUNGRY FOR GOLD.
Why ice cream? Because the weather is gorgeous, and who doesn’t want to sample all kinds of cool, sweet ice creams and gelati on a hot day? And secondly, because after having wandered around Steveston over the last few weeks I’ve noticed an abundance of ice cream shops to try, and have always been curious as to what’s best. A tour of Steveston’s shops would be fun, and a tour + intense Olympic competition would be even better.
We began with a relay. The baton? An ice cream cone. The race route? Around Garry Point Park. The sweat? Pouring.
After this intense, gold medal-winning relay, Megan and I ran (not walked, because we’re athletes now) into Steveston to visit four ice cream shops: Timothy’s, Mary’s, Sara’s, and Screamers. With their names all in a list, it sounds like a family with one very problematic child.
We started at Timothy’s, where they offer a wide variety of gelati made by Mario’s in Vancouver. Our server got us a scoop each of the four flavours we wanted to try: chocolate peanut butter, pistachio, white chocolate raspberry, and espresso flake. Rule number one of a good gelato shop: their pistachio flavour is an unpleasant green. This is exactly what you want, as it means it’s natural. If the pistachio flavour is lime green – steer clear! Fortunately at Timothy’s, it was just right.
The gelato was rich and creamy, though I would have liked it to be just a little less sweet. Strangely, the peanut butter chocolate was the least sweet of them all, with dark chocolate cream and chunky ripples of natural peanut butter. They also do frozen yogurt and smoothies with fruit and berries.
Next, we wandered across the road to Mary’s, where they sell ice cream, gelato, and bubble tea. We tried 4 gelati: mango, coconut, green tea, and hedge-hog. The green tea was my absolute favourite; barely sweet and tasting strongly of matcha, it was fresh and restoring. I’d love to get my hands on a whole pint.
Third stop on the tour was the Screamers stand near the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. While many people have never heard of a screamer before (soft serve mixed with slushie), Megan and I are oh-so-familiar with them, as are any of the tree planters I’ve ever cooked for.
It would appear that in this province, screamers are only really known in Richmond and northern BC, though in Tumbler Ridge (where tree planters consume them as if their lives depend on them), they’re called Icebergs. Why? Who knows! But they’re refreshing.
I went with the vanilla and pineapple soft serve + Orange Crush, while Meg tried the vanilla + Cream Soda. We both ordered minis, and it was more than enough. Delicious.
Our final stop was Sara’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, winner of the Most Creative Pie category in the pie contest I helped judge back at the Steveston Visitor Centre. It’s owned by Kate, a former aviation professional who, after retiring from her first career, decided she’d like to pursue the freezing of fresh cream. You’d think this lady has been in the biz her entire life, her homemade ice cream is that good. Her flavours are seasonal and often local, ie. Garry Point Blackberry, and she makes several semi-savoury varieties like Olive Oil and Thyme. Take note celiacs – they also carry gluten-free cones!
So what did we try? That brings us to Ice Cream Olympic Event Number Two: The Blind Ice Cream Taste Test.
A big thanks to Kate and her staff for helping us with this, and to all of the other shops for cooling us off with such tasty scoops.
Question: Did we have stomach aches by the end of this day?
Answer: You bet.
Question: Was it worth it?
Answer: Forever and always YES.