Monday 19 March 2012

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Tickleberry's and the Wall of Cones

We were driving through Okanagan Falls today, which is a little community about an hour south of Kelowna, and we found ourselves following along the route of the Ironman competition. The Ironman is an enormous endurance race consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and then finishing off with a 26.2 mile run. Only the world's very fittest athletes participate in this kind of race, and although I certainly don't consider myself an elite athlete (despite my muscular calves), I couldn't help but get a little swept up in the moment. I decided to pull off to the side and get out of my car to soak up the atmosphere and live out in my mind what it must feel like to be a finely tuned athlete.

OK, I don't imagine too many of the world's top athletes pull over for a snack during the race, but the Ironman course happens to run past one of the most amazing ice cream shops I've ever had the good fortune to stumble in to. Ironman competitors might be forgiven for not stopping, but nobody else should miss an opportunity to visit Tickleberry's. Of course you don't have to get quite as carried away as I did, but I have a really good excuse for that, which we'll get to in a minute.

Tickleberry's is a sweet shop in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia. It's one of those places that, if you're from the Okanagan, you know about, and if you live within a four or five hour drive of the store, somebody has probably recommended it to you. The namesake product of the store, Tickleberries themselves are any dried fruit that you can coat in chocolate (and let's face it...everything should be coated in chocolate) but the store carries all sorts of other goodies, including some to-die-for fudge.

As good as it is though, the fudge isn't why you come to Tickleberry's. What you want is to try some of the 72 flavors of ice cream that they keep on hand. That's a lot of flavors to choose from, and I wish I could help you narrow it down a little, but I have to report that I haven't found a flavor that I don't like yet, and as you can see, I've done some pretty extensive research on the subject. If you're not careful though, you'll end up working your way through those 72 flavors in a hurry too. Here's what you need to know about ordering ice cream at Tickleberry's:

Please note that, despite what you were taught in math class, the pictures beside each level are accurate. The single cone does indeed have three scoops of ice cream, and the double in fact has four. Even the Child's cone has two scoops, so if you just want a single scoop of ice cream, you're going to have to order a Baby Bear or pretend that you have a dog with you and order a K-9. Where you need to be careful is if you're like me, and your eyes naturally gravitate towards the word "Large". At Tickleberry's, a large cone is a sky high stack of ice cream and, more importantly, a spot on the "Wall of Cones"

The Wall of Cones is reserved for those people willing to put their lactose tolerance to the test by piling seven scoops of ice cream onto a single cone. Tickleberry's opens in March each year, and apparently only five people have been insane enough to order a large cone in 2012. That alone was nearly enough impetus to give the large a try, but when you pair the Wall of Cones honor with a bunch of family members saying things like "You're not going to do it are you Dad?" and "Don't embarrass us!"....well...there's only so much a man can resist. $7.95 is a small price to pay for the chance to make your kids cringe with parental shame. The seven scoops of ice cream themselves...well that's just a bonus, although it was a really, really tasty bonus.

I don't have a whole lot of "must-do" items on my list when it comes to the Okanagan, but a stop at Tickleberry's is something I recommend to anybody. If you're heading south of Penticton and north of...Oh let's say San Francisco, then you should make plans to stop by. You don't have to order a large cone (although I know you want to) and get yourself on the Wall of Cones. Feel free to just point at my picture and say "I know him". I'm sure you'll get treated with all the same respect and reverence that my kids treat me with. Good luck with that.