In 2001, La Cigale first opened its doors in a small heritage house on the main street in Old Chelsea, just 12 minutes north of Ottawa. Offering freshly churned ice cream to residents, hikers and visitors to the Gatineau Park, we gradually became known for our fresh take on that simple pleasure. In 2010 we moved to a larger space just around the corner directly across from the park's Visitors' Centre. We were able to add a wraparound porch and extend our garden; all with the intent of growing our business in a way that continues to emphasize fun, relaxation and the goodness of homemade ice cream.
Why I decided to start an ice cream shop
In 1998, my husband, George, was contracted to work overseas for 6 months. Jumping at the chance to try living somewhere new, I quit my job working at a local restaurant, we gave notice to our landlords, and we packed up our few belongings, including 3 foodie magazines (I had to limit myself), and moved to Senegal, Africa.
While we did find adventure and excitement in Senegal, there was also a lot of time to sit and wait, and I got to know those 3 foodie magazines inside and out. While sweating my way through the rainy season, I really seized upon one particular article from Bon Appétit that featured the best homemade ice cream in the United States. Homemade ice cream, what a great idea!! I love to make people happy with food, and ice cream equals happy right?, So it seemed a natural fit.
So when we got home I signed myself up for a few ice cream courses at Penn State and the University of Wisconsin. And a couple of years later, after all the work of writing business plans and securing financing, we found a great little storefront on the main drag in Chelsea where we could get started.
And the rest is history!
Owner. La Cigale Homemade Ice Cream