Growing up in Oakville, Ontario, a young Omar D’Souza had a dream - to run an ice cream business. That dream is now a reality and one that delights both Kelowna locals and visitors alike, as D’Souza owns downtown Kelowna’s Parlour Ice Cream.
Parlour is both a throwback and a thoroughly modern ice cream shop. Located at 1571 Abbott Street, right across from the lake, the shop serves up classically-crafted ice cream made in-house featuring carefully selected local ingredients.
Consider these absolutely delicious - and they are delicious - examples from the current “Local Luxuries” menu: Whisky Hazelnut, featuring Okanagan Spirits whisky and hazelnuts from Gellatly Nut Farm, or Lavender, made with lavender from the Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm in Kelowna.
Earlier this year, they even teamed up with Canoe Coffee Roasters to produce a Caramel Macchiato ice cream (pictured below).
It’s no surprise that Parlour is such a hit with those who venture in, but D’Souza ending up in Kelowna was a bit of a surprise as he explains:
“I've lived in Kelowna since 2007. I moved here from Oakville, Ontario, through a job transfer with a pharmaceutical company. I spent my summers during university working for Fairmont Hotels and took multiple trips to Kelowna and fell in love [with the place]...”
To think that without D’Souza’s summer job at Fairmont Hotels, Kelowna may have been deprived of Parlour Ice Cream. Luckily that didn’t happen and the business, which opened in August 2017, is thriving.
The store is currently open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and in addition to a rotating menu of local specials, Parlour also offers staples and a number of plant-based ice cream options. For D’Souza, the commitment to local ingredients is clearly important:
“When you come to Parlour you are supporting all the local businesses we partner with. The fruit used in our ice cream is Kelowna or BC local (Jackalope Farms, Fresh From the Farm, BC Tree Fruits). We use lavender from the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm in Kelowna. All baked goods in our ice cream come from Bread Co., 350 Bakehouse, and Bakery V. We use plant-based colours in our ice cream…”
A foodie at heart, it makes sense that D’Souza is passionate about Parlour showcasing local deliciousness and for him, part of what makes Kelowna so great is our eateries. So where does he like to dine?
“BNA! The wild mushroom pizza... well, the entire menu to be honest. Kyle and Carolyn Nixon [the owners of BNA] are pivotal to bringing amazing changes to Kelowna with BNA and upcoming establishments. Justin Best, the exec chef at BNA, has put together a winning menu, too!”
After he has enjoyed his pizza at BNA, he likes to stop in at another downtown favourite, Okanagan Spirits:
“Okanagan Spirits is a distillery that boasts everything local from the Okanagan. Tyler and his family use the best local ingredients to make distinguished spirits and liquors. BRBN has to be my favourite since I use it in our Whisky Hazelnut and Maple Bourbon ice cream!”
When he isn’t enjoying tasty eats and beverages, D’Souza likes to get outdoors and loves the fact that Kelowna is a true four-season playground. However, one of D’Souza’s very favourite things about Kelowna is the growing diversity and inclusivity:
“The LGBTQ+ community in Kelowna has grown significantly over the years. There are so many thoughtful individuals within the community... who have managed and introduced initiatives to make Kelowna a more inclusive place for everyone to live.”
We'll eat ice cream to that!