805 Queen W, at Stanley, 647-349-4984, delightchocolate.ca. Perhaps it's the fact that Jennifer Rashleigh and Jeff Brown only use certified Local Food Plus eggs, organic fair trade chocolate and Harmony organic dairy that makes their small-batch ice creams so stellar. That and flavours like Muskoka Sun (cedar infused with orange zest) and Quebec blue cheese make Delight downtown's undisputed queen of ice cream. Other location: 3040 Dundas W, at High Park, 416-760-9995
Monday noon to 8 pm, Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8 pm (Queen); Monday 11 am to 8 pm, Tuesday to Friday 9 am to 9 pm, Saturday 10 am to 9 pm, Sunday 11 am to 8 pm (Dundas). Unlicensed. Access: step at door, washroom in basement (Queen); ramp at door, no washrooms (Dundas).
238 Augusta, at Nassau, 416-364-6183. Who says you need butterfat to make gelato? Not Joseph Tam, who employs classic techniques with vegan ingredients to produce some of the tastiest ices around, most notably his Earl Grey Tea with rice milk and preservative-free pistachios. Don't do cones? Order yours wrapped in a gluten-free buckwheat crepe instead.
Daily 11 am to 6 pm. Closed some holidays. Unlicensed. Access: three steps at door, washroom on same floor.
3. Ed's Real Scoop
920 Queen E, at Logan, 416-406-2525, edsrealscoop.com. This east-side institution is a zoo at the best of times, more so on a hot summer day when it turns into a magnet for every stroller this side of the DVP. But who minds a queue of rug rats when there's Belgian Callebaut chocolate, joltin' Mercury espresso and maple bacon crunch ice cream at the other end of the line? Other location: 2224 Queen E, at Beech, 416-699-6100
Daily 11:30 am to 10:30 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, no washrooms (Leslieville); two steps at door, washrooms in basement (Beach).
4. Il Gelatiere Artigianale
647 Mt Pleasant, at Hillsdale, 416-488-2663, ilgelatiere.ca. Anyone can put a prefab mix in a machine and get gelato out the other end half an hour later. Most do, but this relocated north Toronto Roman import is one of the few that whips up everything from scratch. See the difference in gelati like classic pistachio, nutty macadamia and spicy pancetta brittle. That's right - bacon gelato.
Monday 1 to 10 pm, Tuesday to Thursday 11 am to 10 pm, Friday 10 am to midnight, Saturday 11 am to midnight, Sunday and holidays 1 to 11 pm. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free.
443 King W, at Spadina, 416-599-7662. Though it's made it's sizable rep as the maker of some of the finest chocolate on the planet, this environmentally aware operation is also home to its own gelato and sorbet factory. Fancy a Wonka-worthy scoop of Madagascar vanilla or dairy-free Muskoka blueberry with basil tossed with house-made almond crisps? Other location: 55 Mill, at Trinity, 416-815-7662.
Monday to Wednesday 9 am to 8 pm, Thursday and Friday 9 am to 9:30 pm, Saturday noon to 9:30 pm (King); Monday to Saturday 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday and holidays 11 am to 6 pm (Mill). Closed Sunday, holidays (King). Unlicensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor King); barrier-free (Mill).