When I walk into Rain or Shine on Saturday afternoon, I’m wearing sunglasses and carrying an umbrella. The name of this little shop is so Vancouver, just like the concept itself: homemade, local, sustainable, organic, delicious ice cream.
Owners Josie Fenton and Blair Casey are a young married couple who opened Rain or Shine on 4th and Cypress just last November. They both have full time careers outside of the ice cream biz, but wanted a project that they could work on together. After noticing a trend of small batch craft ice cream while traveling through places like San Francisco and Seattle, they realized that this was a very Vancouver idea, yet at the time there was nothing like it here. So they decided to take it upon themselves to introduce our city to the delicious dessert.
While scouting locations for their shop, Josie and Blair spent over a year taste-testing flavours that they made at home in their small ice cream machine. Finally, they stumbled upon their current West 4th location, and knew it was perfect for their new venture. Who better to sell designer ice cream to than the yogi looking for an after-class treat or the Kits beach-goer on the hunt for a refresher? And the only competition in the frozen treat department in our neighbourhood is Scoop (frozen yogurt) and Paradiso (gelato). So they opened on November 7, 2013, and have received a rush of instant fans.
What’s the secret? Absolutely delicious flavours and impeccable ingredients. (Not to mention the most simple secret of all – good taste! Josie tells me that neither her nor Blair have any previous experience with food; they just make what they think tastes good.) They boast a list of ten basic ice creams that stay put: everything from the standard Vanilla and Chocolate to the more elaborate Blueberry Balsamic and Honey Lavender. They also have seasonal options that stick around for about two months. I will forever mourn the memory of Chocolate Chili, a winter staple of mine, but the blow is somewhat softened by the emergence of brand new Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet, here for the summer.
The ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible, and when not possible they are organic and manufactured in Canada. All the ice cream is made in the shop, and only fresh, whole ingredients – no purees or extracts – are used. The result is mind-blowing flavour and a feel-good indulgence.
Rain or Shine stays relevant and trendy by catering to a loyal Instagram following, ensuring a fun atmosphere in-store with bold and comfortable decor, and jumping on the Tuesday deal bandwagon with their infamous Taco Tuesday special. The perfect mid-week date night: pasta specials at Tratorria, a movie bargain at Fifth Avenue Cinemas, and a waffle-cone taco-shell filled with ice cream and whipped cream at your local ice cream shop.
My favourite? It’s a toss up between Coffee -Toffee and Cracked Mint. Josie says she’s all about the Peanut Butter, and Blair can’t get enough of the craft beer ice creams. Summer is sure to bring a burst of fresh flavour, with the promise of new fruit flavours. Whatever your sweet tooth craves, you’re sure to find it at Rain or Shine.
Last modified: May 11, 2014