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This new downtown ice cream shop offers flavours like avocado, rosewater and ashta.
I had a feeling I would like Le Parfait the moment I walked in—in part because the flavour list for this new downtown Vancouver ice cream shop was immediately intriguing, and in part because owner Gerard Daccache’s young daughter was playing with a balloon rather adorably all about the place.
Le Parfait opened earlier in 2023, and Daccache says that his Lebanese artisanal ice cream and crepes have been welcomed by the neighbourhood (both by folks with a Lebanese background and without). The ice cream is different than the Westernized version: it’s more elastic-y and more dense. Along with a few standard classics—chocolate, strawberry, coffee—Le Parfait serves up flavours not easily found in Vancouver, like rosewater, avocado, miske (mastic gum) and ashta (middle eastern ice cream).
I try a bunch—Daccache hands me those little ice cream sample spoons like he’s tossing birdseed to a starving pigeon—and every single one is fantastic. The avocado doesn’t taste avocado-flavoured, or like ice cream with avocado in it: it’s like an avocado literally transformed into ice cream form. It’s delicious. The rosewater is light and subtle and refreshing, and both the miske and ashta are delicious and unfortunately rather difficult to describe (even Daccache said that you simply have to try it to experience it—there isn’t really a Western flavour to compare either to). The pistachio is my favourite: creamy and complex and fresh, it’s just what the summer doctor ordered (forget apples).
I end up getting a cone of the pistachio, avocado and miske, and the way that Daccache packs the vessel is a true art. The traditional biscuits, which he imports, are more slot than cone-shaped, but he packs in the ice cream like nobody’s business—there’s no pesky, value-less air bubble at the bottom. I ask him if its a tricky technique to learn, and he says no (I think he’s being modest). At Le Parfait, you don’t pay per flavour: just tell them what you want and they figure it out. Three flavours costs the same as one (ice cream starts at $5.99).
Along with ice cream cones, Le Parfait serves crepes and cocktails—the owner explains that “cocktail” here means a mixture of things like fruit and cream and nuts (no liquor here, sorry). Think of it a bit like a sundae. The Exotic, for example, has an avocado base, strawberry juice, chopped fruit, nuts and honey. Like the ice cream, it’s extremely refreshing, and as a bonus, it’s vegan.
I didn’t try the chocolate ice cream, but I can confirm it’s good—after a charming and understandable amount of pestering, Daccache gave his daughter a small cone to occupy herself. She and I then had an extremely hard-hitting interview in which we discovered that we both have sisters, but that my “little” sister (read: 23 years old) is older than her big sister. The world is crazy.
Le Parfait’s flavours are unique, the ice cream is awesome, and the people running it (big and small) are lovely. I can’t think of a better place to spend an unbearably sunny afternoon. Or any afternoon, for that matter.
812 Homer St.