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Clear some space in your freezer and set your alarms for Saturday afternoon to get your hands on one of the city's most sought-after ice cream pints this year.
Rex's Premium Ice Cream officially debuted at the end of March 2021, but began as a home-based business operating just for fun in its early days last year. The project started as a way to share with friends and family throughout the raging pandemic. As a result of the pandemic making employment hard to come by, Rex's Ice Cream eventually blossomed into a full-time business opportunity and has since grown so much that you can now find them operating out of Mess Hall.
Offering flavours reflective of owner Abdul Ali's life, Ali, who goes by his nickname Rex, creates combinations like Somali Chai, Caramel Lotus and Truffle Chocolate Crunch that you'll have trouble finding anywhere else in the city.
"I wanted to make meaningful flavours that represented me, my culture and my life experiences while also using quality organic ingredients," says Ali. "I grew up in many countries when I was younger and that allowed me to see a wide variety of cultures and food. These experiences shape how I come up with my flavours."
Heavily admired by customers who've tried and continue to come back for more pints of Rex's Ice Cream, you can even find weekly posts of Ali appreciating the support he's getting, by sharing the reviews and feedback he's gotten on his products.
"The support has really been overwhelming, starting out I was very nervous because I spent a lot of time and effort creating these flavours and making sure I’m putting my all into this. All in all, I’m really happy it turned out the way it did," says Ali.
Ultimately, the constant praise may even influence which flavour you need to try next time around, with one review even asking how he managed to "Package the entire Somali culture into an ice cream flavour," through the Somali Chai.
Beyond just offering fun flavours, with his personal favourite being the Blueberry Pancake, Ali truly cares about prioritizing the production of the highest quality of ice cream he can, done through using organic ingredients.
"When I first started, a friend of mine asked me what ingredients I used," Ali says. "I was curious because that wasn’t a question I’ve ever been asked. He told me it was for his pregnant wife. It was at that moment that I realized people were trusting me and that it’s super important for me to give people a good quality product without cutting corners."
With the most popular flavour thus far being Caramel Lotus, a creamy base with thick drizzles of caramel and Lotus Biscoff cookies in pieces within, you can also look forward to a fruit flavour being added to the lineup sometime soon.
Ali has also been busy collaborating with local businesses to produce ice cream versions of their signature products. This includes Sham's Cookhouse, who became known for their cheesecake back in April and most recently, Mumgry for a Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly flavour that's exclusively available at Coco Market.
Rex's Premium Ice Cream goes on sale Saturday's at 1 p.m. via a link in their Instagram bio and are available for pick-up only on Thursdays at Mess Hall at 1386 Gerrard Street East. Pints sell out fast every week, so you'll want to be ready for this online drop. Be sure to follow Rex's Ice Cream on Instagram to also keep an eye out for some future ice cream pop-ups this summer.