Ice cream tour of the city

What's better than a scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day? Three scoops, an ice cream sandwich, soft serve drizzled with chocolate syrup and a vegan charcoal banana coconut confection, of course.

That's what participants devoured on a recent Gourmet Ice Cream Tour in Vancouver, one of several culinary walking tours offered by Off The Eaten Track. 

The tour began at Railtown Cafe, which sells house-made ice cream, sorbet and vegan options made by pastry chef Alex Abley, who previously worked for famous Vancouver chocolatier Thomas Haas.

Hungry guests were each given a bowl containing strawberry and dulce de leche ice cream, as well as citrus pear sorbet. 

The tour guide then took the group to see a few of the sights in Railtown, allowing for some calories to be burned off before the next stop. 

With a history lesson out of the way, the group's attention returned to ice cream. Guests were taken to the beautiful Cadeaux Bakery, also in Railtown, where the group was introduced to the bakery's ice cream sandwich, a signature creation that is made in a different flavour every week.

The next stop was in Gastown at Soft Peaks Ice Cream. The shop serves organic soft-serve ice cream with unique toppings, including local honeycomb, Himalayan pink salt and sweet and sour Yuzu marmalade. Guests dove into a cup of creamy vanilla soft-serve topped with chocolate syrup and Tim Tams, an Australian chocolate biscuit.

The big finale was waiting for guests at Virtuous Pie, a vegan pizza-and-ice cream restaurant in Chinatown, where participants received either a bright-yellow scoop of turmeric black pepper or a tar-black serving of charcoal banana coconut.

Bonnie Todd, founder and owner of Off The Eaten Track, launched the company in 2012 in Vancouver and later expanded to Victoria. Tours in Vancouver also include a brunch tour, an "urban eats" tour of Railtown and a "sip, savour and shop" tour of Main Street in East Vancouver.

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