Ice cream can trace its origins back roughly 2,500 years – a staple of summertime markets in the ancient world. And throughout its millennia-long history, everyone’s favorite treat has undergone seismic changes and adaptations.
But since around the 1870s, ice cream as we know and love it has remained relatively the same. Or at least that’s what some people think. To some shoppers, ice cream is a safe and repetitive product: you have your vanilla here, your basic chocolate there, and a few mash-up flavors adorning the freezer aisles at the local grocery store.
But Demetres is changing all of that. The decades-old dessert restaurant, an institution in its native Toronto, continues to push the boundaries of what we think ice cream is, how we enjoy it, and who can enjoy it. Continuing that millennia-long evolution that started in the ancient world, here’s how Demetres is leading ice cream innovation.
Bringing Unconventional, Unknown Flavours to the Fore
Scooped By Demetres, the company’s ice cream store and pint retailer, doesn’t settle for the beaten path. Instead, they scoop little-known, underappreciated and unconventional flavors from around the globe to concoct their perfect cones.
Ever heard of “cajeta”? Few people have. The Mexican caramel sauce is similar to dulce de leche, but made with goat’s milk for a nuttier, malty-er and slightly more herbaceous flavor profile. Scooped by Demetres pairs the Mexican delicacy with goat’s milk ice cream to create what they affectionately call a GOAT (greatest of all time) combo.
Elsewhere on the ice cream store’s menu, you’ll find wild blueberries, roses, balsamic, lavender and blood oranges. While these ingredients have been part of the popular lexicon for a while, no ice cream company has been brazen enough to swirl them into the perfect cone.
Elevating the Art of Dessert Dining
Ask Torontonians aged 45 or younger about their fondest childhood memories, and you can be confident that most people will name-check Demetres. One of the company’s key innovations was to move dessert into an elevated dining space. Instead of the “scoop and scoot” stores that proliferated in the city, Demetres cultivated a sophisticated, playful, modern atmosphere akin to an upscale family restaurant.
They continue to keep that spirit alive with modern renovations to welcome a new generation of families, first dates, wedding parties and more.
Giving Vegan Options Their Opportunity to Shine
Ice cream is, first and foremost, about the cream. (It’s right there in the name). But historically, this designation has precluded vegans or lactose-intolerant people from enjoying what everyone else admires.
One of Demetres’ pivotal innovations was ensuring everyone felt accommodated – vegans included. But rather than pay lip service to the dietary practice with uninspired options hidden at the end of the menu, the company went big. They developed a line of vegan sorbettos to rival any ice cream on their menu, drawing on bold flavors like passionfruit, rum and mango.
Don’t let the long history of ice cream fool you. The art still has a few tricks up its sleeve. And nowhere is that more apparent than at Demetres, Toronto’s go-to spot for all things melty and comforting.