Bär Häagen-Dazs Pop-Up
Bär Häagen-Dazs is the latest pop-up hitting Toronto this summer. As a foodie and dessert lover, I knew I had go check it out.
If you’ve been following this blog for at least a couple of years, you may recall that I visited the Häagen-Dazs restaurant in Paris with my friend Susan. I had the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted there. Unfortunately, it was a flavour limited to Paris :(. But when I had found out about Toronto getting a Bär Häagen-Dazs pop-up, I knew I had to go! So I quickly told Susan about it and we scheduled a day to visit.
Bär Häagen-Dazs is limited time pop-up shop at The Spoke Club on King St. Its run is from June 22 until July 22nd. So you have a bit less than a month to get your butts there! The hours vary depending on the day, plus every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after 5pm there is Häagen-Hour. The 19+ space is transforms into an immersive area with a a bar with a live DJ and cocktail floats for you to enjoy. Full details can be found on the website here: https://www.haagen-dazs.ca/.
Walking into the space, you automatically notice the gold accented decor. There is a pretty bench that greets the front door. From there you will notice the ice cream bar, a cafe area, a lounge, and a bar.
Susan and I glanced at the menu by the entrance and noticed there were different options for one to try. Luckily one of the staff came to us and explained to us the different experiences at the pop-up.
At the Ice Cream area, you can get a One Scoop flavour of your choice, or a Two Scoop, a Macaron & Scoop, or a personalized Ice Cream Bar. You can also buy a tub of ice cream. By the Cafe area, you can try one of their coffees/espressos with a scoop of ice cream. For the Bar area, that’s where the Flights tasting experience occurs.
Susan and I initially came to get a personalized bar but while looking at the prices, we came to the conclusion that the Flights was the best option. So we decided to get that as well.
Flights is the tasting experience where you can try five different flavours. Once you’ve finished sampling, you pick your favourite out of the five and you get a scoop paired with a macaron.
On the Flights menu, we were told that the Free-Spirited Passion flavours are limited to Canada only, while the Summer Passion flavours (which are sorbets) were not found in Canadian retail stores but will only be featured at this pop-up.
The Summer Passion flavours Susan and I had when we were in Paris, so we knocked that off. Then the Free-Spirited Passion ones I was skeptical of. Sometimes alcohol-flavoured ice cream doesn’t go well and all you can taste is the alcohol, even if there’s a minuscule of it. So we both opted for the Passion Paired tasting menu.
The Flights arrive in a large wooden tray (branded with the Häagen-Dazs logo) with five ice cream filled, golden spoons, and a flavour card.
We started off with the Midnight Cookies and Cream. This flavour blends chocolate ice cream with fudge and chocolate wafers.
This one was heavy in chocolate/cocoa flavour. It was decadently overpowering that you couldn’t enjoy or even get the hints of fudge or the wafer. Out of all the flavours we tried, this was the most basic one.
Next was Pineapple Coconut. It combines pineapple with coconut ice cream. A perfect pair for summer!
If you’re a fan of coconut, this is the flavour for you. The coconut taste is strong and unfortunately masks the chunks of pineapple. But it’s the perfect flavour for a hot summer’s day and it’s light and creamy. This was my favourite.
Pralines & Cream was the next flavour in line. This particular flavour mixes caramel with pralines into the vanilla ice cream.
Crunchy and not overly sweet. You would think that the caramel would add great sweetness but it doesn’t. It complements the pralines and gives the vanilla ice cream the right amount of boost. This was my second favourite.
Second last on the menu was Chocolate Peanut Butter. Do I really need to describe this flavour?
Obviously if you’re allergic to peanut butter, please avoid this. But like the flavour title, it tastes exactly as it sounds: Chocolate Peanut Butter. I mean, it’s delicious and a great combo but I’m looking for that wow factor.
And lastly, Java Chip. This flavour contains coffee ice cream balanced with chocolate chips.
The coffee is strong with this one (Bonus points if you understand that reference!). That’s all you can taste in this ice cream. COFFEE. If you need a wake up call – get this one. The chocolate chips are pretty much mute in this flavour; they’re just added for texture, in my opinion.
Once Susan and I sampled all five flavours, it was time to choose our favourite ones for the one scoop and macaron pairing. I chose the Pineapple Coconut and Susan picked the Pralines & Cream. If you look back at the menu for the Passion Paired, it also indicates which macaron flavour pairs with your ice cream flavour of choice. Mine comes with a mint-flavoured macaron.
I already described how the ice cream tasted but the macaron was decent. I couldn’t taste any mint flavour and mint-flavoured anything is usually strong. It had a nice crunch but broke apart quickly when you bit into it. However, if you eat the macaron with a spoon of ice cream, they go really well together. The macaron gives the ice cream a crunchy texture. The bowl of ice cream also had raspberries (sour ones by the way), golden chocolate chips sprinkled, and topped with a branded Häagen-Dazs candied-chocolate. The golden chocolate chips were a cute touch but I really did not like the candied-chocolate – it was too artificial for my liking.
For $10, this option was not bad at all compared to everything else on the menu. I would highly recommend this.
After Susan and I took a breather, we went in for Round 2: The personalized Ice Cream Bar. This was the main thing we wanted to get (doing it just for the gram).
There only six flavours for the ice cream bar: Caramel Almond Crunch, Irish Cream, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Almond, Vanilla Dark Chocolate, and Vanilla Milk Chocolate. I ordered the Irish Cream.
We were then moved to the decorating section, which is just a table right beside the Ice Cream area, to get our Ice Cream bars personalized. I knew “Eat. Snap. Post” would be too long for it, I decided to go with my personal branding: SYNTHIAT. I really should have asked for it in uppercase letters but it still works either way.
The Irish Cream ice cream bar at first did not resemble anything like Irish cream. With the chocolate casing still on, the chocolate took over in taste and the ice cream inside ended up tasting more like vanilla. It wasn’t until the chocolate was all gone and when I was about two thirds done that I really tasted the Irish cream. I got a big punch of it that took me by surprise. A definite wake up call for me. But the ice cream was creamy and a fun treat.
(FYI: If you’re going to take photos of your personalized ice cream bar, do it quickly because it melts fast. As I was eating it, the chocolate outside started falling apart and fell on me and the table! 🙁 I suggest grabbing napkins for this just for safety precautions.)
If you really like ice cream, especially Häagen-Dazs, then I suggest hitting up this pop up shop. The prices are a little pricey but for the experience, I would say it’s worth it. It was fun to try out the flavours and get your name personalized on an ice cream bar. And, there’s Häagen-Hour! Also, the decor is flawless. I loved everything about it, so here are more photos of the interior space.
But on a serious note, there is a market for this in Toronto. Look at all the food trends happening around and a lot involve dessert items. Plus, Häagen-Dazs is an ice cream brand that the public trusts, so you know you’ll get your money’s worth. For food events and trends, this one lives up to its hype.
If you have visited Bär Häagen-Dazs, let me know what you thought of it and link me to some of your personalized ice cream bars!