By: Harvin Bhathal, Peak Associate
Growing up in Abbotsford, I associate some of my fondest memories of the city with eating ice cream in summer. While that could be said for almost any city, 72% of Abbotsford is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, meaning farms (and dairy farms) are central to its culture.
There are lots of good ice cream shops throughout the Lower Mainland, but Banter Ice Cream, which opened in Jubilee Park in July 2020, has quickly become my favourite. Created by a local couple, Laura and Zach Janz, the ice cream shop is one of the city’s best attractions for spending a sunny summer afternoon.
Laura Janz told The Peak their ice cream is made in-house using “as many ingredients from the Fraser Valley as [they can].”
Open every day of the week from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., they offer a variety of flavours. These include classics such as melted chocolate and sweet cream to more unique options like hibiscus blood orange creamsicle and rhubarb cardamom cream.
All of their flavours also come in take-home pints.
According to Janz, their most popular flavours are lemon curd, marble malt chocolate cookie dough, and sea salt caramel ribbon.
My personal favourites are their vegan blackberry crumble and vegan freckled strawberry flavours. The texture and the freshness of their ingredients really stand out.
Janz said their vegan ice cream “is made with a coconut milk base which makes it rich and creamy.” Living on a berry farm myself, I can tell when berries are at their freshest and when they are not, and Banter Ice Cream passes the quality test.
Banter Ice Cream launches four new flavours per month, and Janz shared that July’s batch of flavours is berry-based: blueberry basil, blackberry chèvre, strawberry hazelnut crunch, and elderflower raspberry. This July launch will fittingly coincide with the one year anniversary of their storefront opening. The berry flavours also represent their local roots at downtown Abbotsford’s farmer’s market.
If their creative flavours with fresh ingredients aren’t enough to convince you, what about their homemade waffle cones? These separate Banter from other ice cream shops in the Lower Mainland. The batter is made from scratch everyday and they’re made to order in front of you. As a result, the waffle cones are crunchy yet soft. The aroma is incredible too. It takes over your senses in the best way possible.
The recipe for their waffle cones is a secret, but I detect a hint of vanilla. They’re also sweeter than most cones that I’ve tried, which definitely plays a part in their quality.
Banter Ice Cream is busy 7–9 p.m. daily and all day on weekends. Janz said, “Expect a lineup if it’s hot and sunny.”
While Abbotsford may seem quite a ways away for those that live in Vancouver, Burnaby, and the surrounding cities, Banter Ice Cream is worth the trip. If you’re passing through Abbotsford, you definitely need to stop at Banter Ice Cream.