sweet creamery: great gelato in cabbagetown


Yesterday we finally visited Sweet Creamery, the new gelato and ice cream sensation in Toronto's Cabbagetown neighbourhood.

The gelato is a knock-out. Rich but light, sweet and refreshing, popping with flavour. The newest flavour may be my favourite: watermelon. It takes like a watermelon melted into cream. And it's watermelon, the fruit, not watermelon flavour.

The lemon-mint is another stand-out. As with all Sweet Creamery gelato, this is made with fresh, authentic ingredients: real lemon and real mint, not mint flavour. Passion fruit is also a crowd favourite. There's also raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and a raspberry-strawberry mix.

If you don't care for fruit flavours, try the vanilla bourbon, chocolate, or pistachio. If you're a bit more adventurous, there's spicy chocolate, blending rich, creamy chocolate with the bite of chile peppers. It's very interesting.

If you can't decide, whoever is scooping will be happy to offer you a free taste of any and all flavours. Customers will typically sample three or four before making the difficult decision.

If ice cream is more your thing, Sweet Creamery serves a wide variety of flavours made by Kawartha Dairy, a locally-produced favourite. The ice cream is very dense and super creamy.

Allan loved the banana and chocolate-peanut butter flavours, and the steady stream of customers all seemed very happy with their cones. It's very good, but when there's gelato around, I'm not eating ice cream.

Sweet Creamery also features home-made cakes and pastries. That part of the business is just getting going, but it promises to be delicious.

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Why am I writing about ice cream, you may ask? Sweet Creamery is the labour of love and devotion of two of new Canadians, Tom Smeraldo and Emilio Ojeda, who some of you know through the blog Canadian Hope.

Tom and Emilio came to Canada after living with years of frustration and fear in the US. Emilio is not a US citizen, and because their relationship is not legally recognized in the US, they were unable to secure Emilio's status. Every day the couple lived under the threat of deportation. They finally gave up on the US and moved to Canada to enjoy a peaceful life together, equal to their neighbours, accepted fully as who they are.

Tom and Emilio are not only my friends and fellow immigrants, they're some of the best people I know. They have been active supporters of the War Resisters Support Campaign: Tom told me that the war resisters' struggle to live in peace as their conscience dictates really resonates with them. When Sweet Creamery was ready to add an employee, they went to Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a mentoring and resettlement program for young gays and lesbians.

Tom and Emilio opened Sweet Creamery only a few weeks ago, and it's already become a neighbourhood fixture. Tom works full-time, then joins Emilio at the store for the evening rush. And what a rush it is! They thought they'd close at 9:00, but Emilio couldn't bear to turn so many customers away. Even with a 10:00 p.m. closing, they still see sad faces at the door, many of them making their second Sweet Creamery run of the evening.

Our mutual good friend Kim - a fixture of the wmtc community, who writes My Canada Includes Justice (at least occasionally!) - often can be seen behind the counter, scooping away. Nick and Mason - who used to write Life Without Borders - also volunteered long hours in the early going. Adam and Eric of Canadian Boomdiada have volunteered their time, as has other friends. Tom told us Sweet Creamery never would have made it through its first weekend if these guys hadn't pitched in. Community. What an amazing thing.

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Sweet Creamery is located at 521 Parliament Street, in the heart of Cabbagetown, between between Carlton and Winchester.

You can find them on Facebook, on Twitter, and on the web.

But most importantly, find them in a cup, a crunchy cone, or in a container in your freezer.

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