Inside Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, his office in his backpack, on the lookout for fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban chronicle.
"Unicorn poop" overflowing with cotton candy, edible "science kits" for kids, Arruda sundaes with natas (Portuguese tarts) or adorned with a chocolate "Mount Royal Cross" are some of the fare original and eminently photogenic ice creams from the Iconoglace creamery.
Of course, I abstained from lunch and dinner in order to show up with an empty stomach, fully ready for my mission, at the business on rue Bélanger.
An enticing scent of butter emanated from the waffle iron from which the cones are taken.
“It takes three hours of work for an employee to make the 300 cones we need every day,” explains Anabelle Berkani, the owner of the small business which employs 30 people, including three cooks, seven days a week.
Lines around the corner forced the creamery to buy a second cash register and increase the number of employees behind the counter.
“Even in April when it was unpleasantly cold, there were always people here. »
Ms. Berkani has 27 years of experience in the film industry, including as an assistant director, and it shows. The name Iconoglace includes the prefix ikonos, the Greek word meaning image. And the desserts offered here were all "produced and made" in stages.
“It takes a long time to develop a new dessert from a basic idea because not only do I have to taste good, but I want it to look good. »
A mother of three children, she wanted to start a business in the world of food while having quiet months.
"It's six crazy months during the summer, then in the winter, I can travel, take culinary courses and develop my new recipes for the following spring," she says.
Creameries have a reputation for often choosing bad puns for names, and Mrs. Berkani tells me she wants to honor that tradition.
"My coffee ice cream latte is called Wake up call and its vegan version is called Woke up call," she laughs.
When I go down to the kitchen where the young pastry chef of Iconoglace, Alexane Labonté, is active, I watch the making of the vegan ice cream (made from oat milk) for which the place is famous.
For ice cream with milk, Iconoglace uses Coaticook.
"After several weeks of developing a new dessert step by step, after lots of trial and error, when it's finally successful and you see the end result, it's moving, I shed a tear! »
Berkani and Labonté's latest "iconoglacian" creation, a sundae with maple syrup baklava called the Phyllo-sophe, broke all sales records when it launched this spring.
For my part, after having tasted a quantity of delicious food in the kitchen, I opted, for symbolic reasons, for the Mont-Royal sundae, which features a chocolate cross on a "mountain" of ice cream.
Biscuit, chocolate, caramel... I feast, moaning with professional satisfaction. If you come here one evening, remember not to dine too much in order to save space.