The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests' senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store's staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of super-premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavour from a list of more than 50 options. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company's founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery's signature sweet-cream ice cream. Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer's choice of ice cream and mixins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one customized mélange.
Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers other scream-worthy confections including cakes, shakes, and ice cream cupcakes. Catering is available at many locations.
Marble Slab Creamery's story is international in its scope. In 1983, the first Marble Slab Creamery opened in Houston, Texas, serving their signature gourmet ice cream developed by two French chefs. Twenty years later, their expansion spread across the border to Alberta, thanks to their more than 50 flavours of ice cream, which are handmade daily in each store. The flavours range the traditional—such as peppermint, chocolate swiss, or strawberry—to the unexpected, such as cheesecake, birthday cake, and bubble gum. They stock lactose-free ice cream and low-fat yogurt—which proudly flaunts a size-0 ice-cream cup—and the goodies can be further modified with a plethora of mixins of the candy and fruit varieties. In addition to their singular cups and cones, ice-cream cakes and pints await full-on feasting frenzies.
A native of Lyon, France, the eponymous chef and proprietor of Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate crafts her sweets from scratch daily using traditional Gallic techniques. As she works, the shop's pristine white countertops populate with flaky croissants, artisanal chocolate truffles, and delicate macaroons in flavours such as pistachio, earl grey, and passion fruit. Colourful boxes or cellophane wrappers prepare dainty treats for gifting, and savoury options including quiche and pâté sate lunchtime appetites. In addition, cooking classes summon patrons into Chef Sandrine's kitchen to learn such culinary skills as how to summon the fire-breathing dragon that caramelizes the top of every crème brûlée.
The four cake specialists at Cupcasions know that every important event is more memorable with cake. Their expertise in crafting gourmet cupcakes and cakes in more than 10 flavours, such as boston cream and orange creamsicle, has enhanced celebrations such as birthdays, retirement parties, and alien abductions. Having customized more than 500 wedding cakes and wedding cupcakes, the kitchen is happy to personalize orders for the big day.
Before opening The Bread Company, brothers Mike and Dan Bronswyk honed their pastry- and bread-making skills as apprentices in European bakeries. To get to the root of their passion for baking, though, you have to go back a few hundred years. The Bronswyk family have been bakers for five generations, a line that stretches back to a bakery in the Netherlands in the 1730s.
Today, the brothers put the same care into the craft as their meticulous ancestors. They use filtered water and 100 per cent vegetable or olive oil to create The Bread Company’s lineup of artisanal breads, following some recipes that incorporate organic flours. Before baking on the hearth, the dough is allowed to age for 16–24 hours to develop flavour, texture, and the personal integrity needed to hold a sandwich together through adversity. The brothers also carefully craft pastries, cakes, and gourmet sandwiches, all of which can be served with fair-trade Cherry Hill Coffee organic coffees.