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cityscape

Best of Summer: A Guide to Popsicle Melt Times

Make an informed frozen dessert choice!

This morning, the City of Toronto issued a heat alert for what seems like the umpteenth time this summer. The temperature is making headlines and breaking records, and so we thought we’d revisit one of our favourite features from last summer, with some very helpful advice on keeping cool.

Yesterday’s heat was not quite record-breaking, but it was the hottest in recent memory, making it perfect for science. The local news cliché is to try frying an egg on the sidewalk, but Google it and all you’ll find are pages and pages of disappointed reporters watching uncooked albumen trickle into gutters. (Eggs don’t even start to coagulate until they hit 60 degrees Celsius.) The Star cooked a roast inside a car, which was pretty original. But here at Torontoist we look out for you, the consumer. And so we present to you a time-lapse video, taken on a sweltering west-end rooftop, that will help you and yours make one of summer’s most important decisions: what type of convenience-store ice cream to buy for maximum heat tolerance and minimum hand drippage.

Here are the detailed results…
Materials

  • Melona Popsicle (1)
  • Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Dark Chocolate Bar (1)
  • Ice Cream Sandwich (1)
  • Lifesavers Popsicle (1)
  • Parlour Super Ice Bar (1)

The ice cream sandwich was the first to go. It fell before we were even finished setting up the experiment, but in fairness this seemed to have more to do with the clamp than the heat. Once it hit the surface of the roof, the sandwich stayed intact for a surprisingly long time, maybe because it was insulated by its delicious, chocolaty exterior. And so ice cream sandwiches remain HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, despite their poor showing here.

The Melona pop was next, at two and a half minutes into the experiment. It fell off its stick and splattered. These things are very delicious, but clearly they aren’t designed for high performance.

Over the next few minutes, the Häagen-Dazs bar began to sweat profusely through its chocolate shell (interestingly, this only made it look more appetizing) until finally, at the seven-minute mark, it, too, slid off its stick and fell to the ground, releasing a little lake of white ice cream. The hard coating seems to have had just enough structural integrity to hold everything together until the vanilla goo had melted pretty thoroughly.

The Lifesavers pop and the Parlour Super Ice held on the longest, dropping at 10 minutes and 17 minutes, respectively. They were the only two items without any dairy content, and so it’s safe to say that water-based treats hold up better in the heat than milk-based ones. There was still a lot of dribbling, though, so make sure to grab some napkins, in any case.

This article was originally published on July 11, 2011.

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