Five new ice cream brands in Chennai that put us in a ‘sundae’ state of mind
From a former Mr Tamil Nadu churning up healthy gelato to Halloween-inspired Trick-or-Treat flavours that has scary amounts of choco chip cookies – we’ve got the scoop. Here is a round-up of new brands in the city delivering cold comfort.
Belgium to Chennai for a weekend of gelato research sounds pretty crazy. But this is what Praveen Rajagopal (27) made a habit of over the course of six months last year. Now our curiosity is piqued! Praveen, who left his finance job (in Belgium) and took the plunge to be a full-time entrepreneur, moved to Chennai earlier this year to co-run Les Amis by Whipd Foods Private Limited with friend Abhinav Reddy (26). Reddy, a fellow entrepreneur has food trucks in Bengaluru.
Though the brand started with a store in Anna Nagar in September last year — they closed in March (due to the lockdown) and now operate three cloud kitchens. But surprisingly enough, it was this period that shot up their popularity. “With all of that extra time, we went on a flavour experimentation spree with every fruit we could get our hands on — nongu to watermelon to dragon fruit,” Praveen shares. Incidentally, the families of both founders have agricultural and dairy farming backgrounds, so fruit was in easy access. What was originally eight flavours quickly ramped up to 34!
We sampled their fresh and summery vegan Avocado flavour (with fruit sourced from Old Union Farm in Kodaikanal) and a bright pink Strawberry sorbet. For a little more indulgence, we ordered Baileys (with a Callebaut chocolate base) and a Blueberry White Chocolate (with chocolate chips for crunch). For diabetics, there is a sugar-free line which includes a Ferrero Hazelnut. This flavour was not sweet enough for our palate, but a welcome inclusive step on a ready-to-go menu, as opposed to made to order. With much hype around their gelato cakes in their ‘frozen baked hybrid’ line — we can’t wait to try their macaroon gelato sandwich next!
200 ml tubs at INR 149. 500 ml at INR 449. Order online.
Low-calorie and all-natural, the options from Obvsly Gelato are for the health-conscious. “I always struggled to find desserts when I was on a diet,” says Avinash Anantharam, the creative force behind the gelato recipes and one of the partners of this venture which comprises a team of four. We are compelled to pay attention to Avinash as he explains the science of stevia and the advantages of gelato (an all-milk healthier option to regular ice cream) — and we keep in mind that he was Mr Tamil Nadu just five years ago. We tried a couple of their flavours and decided that the Fresh Mango was our favourite. At 72 calories, it is the least of the lot and the Alphonso has us all nostalgic about those summer days. We found that the Ferrero gelato was chocolatey but restrained in the hazelnut taste. Avinash tells us that for this flavour they have used Gianduja (where the proportion of chocolate is higher than hazelnut). Though they had opened a store a year ago, they shut shop during the lockdown. Now the brand is open online since September and is planning to get placed on the shelves of popular departmental stores across the city.
125 ml tubs at INR 150.
All of 19 years old, Ahana Balaji has been churning out limited but interesting flavours of homemade ice cream since last month. Calling her home-based brand Scoopy Doo, this youngster surprises with a mature understanding of the market, and concedes that the green-hued, strong peppermint flavoured option is an acquired taste. Though Ahana tells us that the coffee flavour is the slowest moving ice cream — as coffee addicts we are excited that it hits the spot like no other. Strong and bold — this one is for the true blue coffee fan. While caramel and chocolate are popular, Ahana has whipped up some themed flavours for Halloween. Expect the Trick-or-Treat that plays up the caramel flavour and “has scary amounts of homemade choco-chip cookies”! Meanwhile, Goosebumps is not for the faint-hearted — with tangy orange and sinful chocolate.
A tub of 500 ml from INR 230 onwards. Order online.
Aysha Lubna had never made ice cream in her life until four months ago. But one taste of her brand Fluff Creamery’s perfectly balanced Caramelised White Chocolate — and one could assume she’s been perfecting this craft for years. Even more impressive is the fact that this 22-year-old, who taught herself by watching YouTube tutorials — doesn’t own an ice cream maker! “I churn my ice cream by hand,” she tells us over a phone call from her home kitchen. And with a minimum batch size of five litres, “this is quite the bicep workout,” admits the psychology graduate with a laugh. Expect a limited menu of three flavours. We dig into the other two — a Strawberry Cheesecake (with crunchy bits of a homemade cheesecake base for texture and strawberry compote layered through) and a velvety smooth Lotus Biscoff (combines Lotus biscuit and the popular spread). Look out for a surprise flavour that promises to inspire nostalgia notes — just ahead of Diwali.
200 ml tubs at INR 190, 500 ml at INR 450. Order via her Instagram handle, no prior notice required.
Fudge that diet
Brooklyn Creamery has come to town and created a stir on Instagram recently. The astonishing low-calorie value of these ice creams has us intrigued — after all, they are promising 50 per cent fewer calories when compared to regular ice cream. Their Sweet Cream Vanilla is reminiscent of our childhood favourites — sweet and milky — however, at 65 calories in 100 ml, we don’t mind making this one a habit. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie and the Sea Salt Caramel are rich and creamy and we promise you — they taste decadent enough to make you forget that you are on a diet!
A box of 450 ml from INR 275 onwards. Order online.