When people think of soft serve ice cream, the images conjured tend to fall into two buckets – ice cream trucks and fast food joints. Just talking about that truck sends the infamous overplayed tune through our heads, but it could get us to bolt outside when younger (and maybe even as adults…) every time! As for the fast food option, we were both DQ kids 100%. Blizzards and McFlurries came about in the 90’s, with their ability to mix in toppings to every bite – WHAT!? Then, for what our money could buy, the soft serve world didn’t evolve much further than that.
In 2015, a brick-and-mortar soft serve ice cream parlour opened up its first location in Toronto, looking to be something different. Their name, Sweet Jesus. You know, what you say when something is surprisingly good? Like, “oh, sweet jesus, this is tasty!” As you could imagine, conservative Christians didn’t appreciate their branding. The marketing approach was also unique at the time, pulling in Social Media users with their picture-worthy products and soft blue walls to take pics against. As a result, any advertising was essentially done on their behalf by consumers posting to apps like Instagram. The lineup year-round has been huge and locations began popping up all over Ontario.
Well, we recently made a trip to Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton and found ourselves a new location of Sweet Jesus. After finding them on the winning side of a battle against Cinnabon for our sugar cravings, they were promptly put to The Taste Test.
If you’ve never seen what they have to offer, every single selection can be described as ‘loud.’ Multiple topics coating every inch of ice cream, making it look a little daunting as to how you’re even supposed to start your attack. Likely in response to this, they actually provide a plastic shield for every cone purchased.
To provide some variety, we selected two different offerings. Below are our specific experiences!
Chris: So, cotton candy. As a normal ice cream flavour (would that be hard serve?) Cotton Candy is one of my favourites, introduced to me by the defunct Lick’s, which I am fully aware wasn’t necessarily gourmet but damn, it was good to the very last lick – oh, the irony. When I saw pics from Sweet Jesus over the last few years, their Krusty the Cone, with its cotton candy, sprinkles, and candy sauce, caught my eye time and time again. While it may not be the most masculine order, I chose to just go for it and just to tame it down, I requested to have my flamboyant treat in a cup, which I admit did take away some of its “extra” factor. To tackle it, I went for the pink cotton candy first which was pretty straight forward carnival-style stuff but still so nostalgic. Some of the ice cream even melted on it, changing its texture to a sticky, gooey sweet mess and those bites in particular were great.
With the cotton candy out of the way, I was able to try the next layer – the base vanilla and candy sauce. What I noticed first was how incredibly creamy and smooth the ice cream was, something so different from its competition. The sauce itself was almost strawberry like and incredibly sweet like fresh strawberry compote meet strawberry jam x 100. Even though I had purchased a small size, by the time I hit the bottom and was scooping up any remaining melted cream, my craving was beyond satisfied. I think a large for me would have been a little too much but the kid in me was tempted to go big! Either way, as far as I am concerned, cotton candy never disappoints and even though I did find this a little bit much for a sugar rush, it is a treat that I can’t deny was, and is, full of potential with every bite. 4.5/5 Stars from me!
Candice: I got the Birthday Cake cone and it was disappointing to say the least. I love birthday cake EVERYTHING and this kind of, just simply, didn’t work for me. The combination of cream cheese icing, creamy-rich vanilla soft serve and birthday cake bits sounded insanely enticing but it turned out that it was just far too rich. It felt more like a dinner meal than a quick afternoon treat. Now, I am someone who definitely doesn’t shy away from something sweet but I found it to be more Instagram worthy than anything else. It looked great with the fancy candle (that I had to blow out immediately as the blue wax started to cascade into my ice cream) and the beautiful rainbow smattering of sugar but I am not sure if it is something that I would get again unless I am looking for a great photo op. The storefront brick wall definitely made for a great background though, don’t you think? Anyways, give it a shot. Let me know your thoughts. For now, I give it 3/5 stars.
So there you have it, our first impressions of this truly impressive chain. There’s a location in Muskoka, which would be such a great setting to try it again someday soon!
Cook on the bright side,
Chris & Candice