Big City to Small-Town: Flavours & Finds

Experience the world by food & drink in your own backyard & local community.

An original small-town girl, Lisa Culbert has spent the past 6 years living and working as a lawyer in the “Big Smoke” of Toronto and recently resumed living in what she can only describe as the welcoming and wonderfully peaceful town of St. Marys. Now working remotely, she delights in sharing her local town and county discoveries that highlight her passion for world travel, city trends and fine food & drink, but without the traffic jams and a whole lot more fresh


It’s Not Too Late for the Ice Cream Debate: Hard v. Soft-Serve – Get Your End-of-Season Favourite @ Hearn’s!

Ever wondered what the difference is between hard and soft ice cream? Is it really the same recipe? More water, less cream? What makes flurry toppings stick so well in soft serve and nearly impossible to mix into (without superhuman strength) hard ice cream?

This week, Flavours and Finds uncovers the myth of the hard v. soft-serve ice cream debate in celebration of our local ice cream favourite: Hearn’s Ice Cream (located at the corner of St. John & Queen Street).

The origins of both types of ice cream can be traced back to the French and the Americans.

French style ice cream being especially rich with more egg yolks and American style often without the yolks. The creamy custard-like concoction is cooked, then cooled and then churned at high speeds. The churning incorporates air and increases the ice cream’s volume. More “air” means more volume and a fluffier texture. In terms of your wallet, it also means the difference between cheaper and pricier versions of ice cream you’ll spot in the grocery store – essentially those Haagen-Dazs containers are so small because you’re getting a richer, denser ice cream and not paying for added “air” – really! Soft-serve ice cream however, was a gift from our neighbours to the south when back in the 1930’s, the founder of the Carvel brand had a flat tire on his Ice Cream Truck. Instead of letting his inventory melt away, he sold his melting treats to travelers passing by. Seeing their satisfaction with softer ice cream, he developed a soft serve formula and a patented low temperature machine.

Thankfully, St. Marys’ own Eileen Hearn also recognized the melty, sweet and creamy opportunity in soft serve and added a soft-serve machine to Hearn’s storefront shop in 1967.

Since then, Hearn’s storefront has grown to offering a widely delicious variety of ice cream treats (form everyone’s favourite hard ice cream flavours to shakes, Blizzards, cones, sundaes and even frozen yogurt)! Top soft-serve sellers are the hot caramel and salted caramel sundaes, the traditional vanilla-chocolate twist and chocolate-dipped cones and of course the Flurries with your favourite mix-ins?!

In this fabulously Summer-like September, be sure to get your last ice cream fix of the season. Let us know: are you a hard or soft serve ice cream fan? What’s YOUR favourite Hearn’s treat?

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