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I’ve partnered up with Host Milano as their official Canadian ambassador and I can’t wait to explore all the cornetti, pizza, pasta, gelato, coffee and more when I visit this International Hospitality Exhibition in Milan October 18-22!  I’ll be taking you all along for the ride, virtually, of course, via my social media channels. In the meantime, HOST has asked me to share some social media and blog posts about food trends in Canada. And what better way to start than with the latest gelato and ice cream trends since it’s been so hot in Canada lately, especially in my hometown of Montreal.


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Unusual flavours

Unusual flavours have become very common in the frozen dessert world. Black sesame, all kinds of tea, baklava, halva, and more interesting flavours are fairly common these days with savoury aromas such as cheese, bacon, chili and corn (yum!) competing for a spot on your top favourite flavour list. More controversial essences such as black garlic and Sriracha might not make most people’s taste buds sing but they are a testament to today’s ice cream makers’ creativity and boldness.


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Cone, cup or something more unique?

Ice cream flavours are becoming bolder and they deserve a more creative vessel to contain them. Cone or cup just doesn’t cut it anymore. These days, a scoop or a swirl can be served in anything from a churro cone to a brioche panini, a bubble waffle or an éclair pastry. Traditional cones are also having a makeover and are being made in house with care as opposed to the industrial cones of yesteryears.


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Doing it for the ‘gram

Instagram is playing such a big role in the success of food businesses nowadays that some ice cream shops are developing over-the-top items to entice their clientele into sharing photos of their concoctions. Unicorn colours (rainbow and glitter), crazy toppings such as cotton candy, crushed salty snacks like pretzels or chips, chili sauce, spice mixes, breakfast cereal, mini donuts, and more outrageous garnishes are ruling your Instagram feed. Anything goes and the higher you pile it up, the better!


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Vegan and allergy-free options

Perhaps one of the biggest ice cream trends these days are all the vegan and dairy-free options available. Vegan and dairy free recipes have evolved and are now as delicious as their traditional counterparts. Special care is also being taken to cater to certain allergies and intolerances like, for example, ice cream sandwiches being made using gluten-free cookies.


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Boozy popsicles

Boozy ice cream cocktails are nothing new but they are seeing a revival these days and are being modernized and streamlined. Long gone are the days of labor-intensive shaken concoctions where the ice cream is used more as a flavouring than an integral part of the drink. Today’s cocktails are more inventive and can be as simple as placing an artisanal popsicle in a glass of bubbly and letting the two elements complement each other. A popsicle in a cocktail is one of the ice cream trends I can get behind!


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Artisanal and small batch

The words “artisanal and small batch” have appeared on all kinds of menus, from coffee roasting to bread making, and ice cream is no different. On the opposite side of all those outrageous toppings are artisanal ice cream makers that are subdued in looks but certainly not in flavour. These shops favour a more subtle approach while emphasizing the dedication that goes into making every batch of ice cream, which means this ice cream trend is here to stay.


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Swirl, scoop and roll

Soft serve ice cream seems to be more popular than ever with each shop perfecting their swirl technique and their ice cream texture to master that perfect Instagram-worthy swirl. Scoops are always popular when stacked together. The latest trend is also the Asian-styled rolled ice cream that is made on the spot and is as spectacular to watch as it is delicious to eat.

I’ll be writing one more Host Milano sponsored post before the big event in October. It’ll be on one of my favourite beverages. Can you guess which? In the meantime, follow the #HostMilano and #bemyhost hashtags on social media.

For more sweet treats, check out my guide to Montreal’s best bakeries and pastry shops.

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