Gluten-Free Ice Cream Tips from Vancouver Island

Ice Cream tips from – and for – families on The Celiac Scene’s Gluten-Free Family Page. Ask to join!

gluten free ice cream coneGuy:

  • Anyone who has traveled to Tofino/Port Alberni/Parksville are generally aware of the Coombs Market and their ice cream operation, it’s awesome. If you or any one of your family is Celiac, you also understand the pain of those members of your family who cannot participate because of the potential for cone cross-contamination. They do now carry “Mexi Pops” which are great and GF, but it never feels quite the same when everyone else is eating an ice cream cone. We found an entirely unexpected solution.
  • The Co-Op gas station on the Alberni Highway, just another 7km up the road (6 minutes) has an impressive/large selection of Island Farms ice cream and here’s the kicker, for those with Celiac, they will open a fresh tub of ice cream from the freezer, use a freshly washed scoop, and will pull a gluten free cone from a sealed “tupperware” style container. I know this because they did this for my daughter who had been in tears at Coombs because she couldn’t have ice cream like everyone else. I was blown away. The Co-Op is 2km east of the Little Qualicum Falls campground, directly next to a little drive-in restaurant. On your next trip north, support this company, they were absolutely heroes this past week. Note: this is not meant to disrespect the Coombs Market, they too have an impressive number of GF products on the shelf.
  • UPDATE: Since this post was published, The Celiac Scene has reached out to Coombs Old Country Market to support them in sourcing gluten-free ice cream cones and setting up a protocol that would allow staff time to accommodate requests for ice cream to be taken from an unopened tub. We promise to keep you posted on their progress! 


  • They opened a fresh ice cream for my friends son who has a nut allergy also. They are great there!


  • We’ve also had the people at Coombs pull out fresh buckets of ice cream for my daughter. They don’t have gf cones but have been great at getting “clean” ice cream for her. Maybe if Coombs ice cream were approached by you they may have more incentive to develop some good training and awareness amongst their staff.


  • We were in Parksville last weekend and went to Coombs for the day. One of the cashiers at the icecream shop saw we were hesitant to try the Mexi pops because they are not in sealed packages, so had the server get a new tub from the freezer and thoroughly wash an already clean scoop so that my two Celiac kids could have ice cream like the rest of our group. It was awesome!! Great to know about the gas station too though!


  • We always carry a box of GF cones in the car so that if we’re out and about and tempted, my daughter doesn’t miss out!

Have you got a gluten-free ice cream tip to share? Scroll down and leave a comment below! 

gluten-free ice cream