By Jessie Spiby
To celebrate the first days of spring and (hopefully) the return of sunny days, guest writer, MasterChef’s Jessie Spiby picks her top 5 small batch ice creams and ice blocks made right here in SA…
Perhaps it’s in my DNA, my parents did have an ice cream shop when I was a baby, but I just adore ice cream and ice blocks, sundaes, eating from tubs, cones, waffles … the list goes on and on.
There has been an explosion of small producers hitting the scene in recent years each with their own unique take on frosty desserts.
From 48 Flavours award-winning gelato to Popsi Cool’s roasted peach, as the warmer months start to settle in I look to whet my appetite with some favourite small local producers.
Whether you’re into fruity, creamy, or something a bit different, there’s something to satisfy your taste buds. I don’t pick favourites so here’s a tasty list of five small-batch local producers – and why they choose SA:
From humble beginnings at the Mount Barker Farmers Market, owner Kelly Jones recalls her excitement when she sold nearly all her ice blocks from an unassuming styrofoam box with a handwritten label taped to the front.
“The feedback was really great early on and we slowly built the business from there. Word of mouth from social media really helped and we have a loyal band of foodie followers,” she says.
With sustainability being a core focus, along with the use of high quality, local, and mostly organic ingredients, you certainly won’t feel guilty when munching down on these ice blocks. Over the years they have fully phased out the use of animal products, a push from their vegan daughters, building a solid Loca-loving community.
These days you’ll find the icy treats all around Adelaide including Lost in a Forest, Central City weekdays in summer and they even deliver straight to your door on summer Saturdays for free. Be sure to visit their production kitchen in Stirling which is open to visitors and sells direct.
“We choose to do business in SA because it is our home and we love it here, especially our dynamic and thriving Adelaide Hills community.”
Must try: Virgin Lemon Mojito – packed full of meyer lemon and organic mint
It all began in 2014 when 48 Flavours opened its doors on Gouger Street to take advantage of the Adelaide Central Markets plethora of ingredients across the road.
Their concept is based on fresh produce, products made in store, and emphasis on Asian and vegan flavours using quality local milk and ingredients.
Owner Brian O’Donnell admits that it’s taken a few years to get to where they are today.
“The success of this store is about catering to our market. At the beginning we had primarily western flavours, but we adapted to cater to our market. One of our most popular flavours, Durian, is a classic example of something that was a little different that gave us enormous success.
“By stepping outside the box and trying something a little different we have thrived”.
48 Flavours recently took out the People’s Choice Award at the Gelato World Tour held in Italy for their unique gorgonzola, pear, fig and walnut flavour.
“We chose SA, in particular Adelaide’s China Town, to take advantage of the Adelaide Central Markets and have access to the freshest seasonal produce.”
Must try: Durian – a best seller! And of course the award winning gorgonzola, pear, fig and walnut.
It is all about being green and sustainable for Sunshine Iceblocks. With a focus on keeping food miles to a minimum, Sunshine Iceblocks use locally sourced produce, 100% compostable wrappers and fully biodegradable sticks from certified sustainable Beechwood plantations. They even go as far as to compost their own fruit waste either through their worm farms, compost areas on their farm, or even feeding leftovers to their lucky chooks, goats and sheep.
Recently receiving accreditation as a dairy producer by the Dairy Board of South Australia, Sunshine Iceblocks have begun making all natural gelato and sorbets using the same ethos as their ice blocks and shaved ice.
It all began selling with the Victor Harbour Farmers Markets in 2013, and things have been on the up and up for this family-run business ever since. The driving force was to make natural sweet ice treats they would happily feed their own children.
“We have three young children, and we all love iced treats, especially at the beach in summertime,” says Brenton Lineage, owner.
“We simply couldn’t find anything on the market that we were happy to give to our kids, so we started making our own. We started using whole fruit, and real ingredients and they turned out amazingly good. Friends and family encouraged us to turn it into a business.”
Find Sunshine Iceblocks across South Australia, or visit the Willunga Farmers Market, and Adelaide Showground Farmers Market. You’ll also catch them popping up at major events like the Meadows Country Fair, Vegan Festival, Semaphore Street Fair, Laneway Festival and at Friday’s After Five in Aldinga during the summer months.
“We choose SA because we find both consumers and those in the food industry to be so supportive here in South Australia. There’s a great foodie movement happening, and the people seem to really understand the importance of supporting local business – with so many customers seeking quality local, handmade products”.
Must try: Lemon & Mint Shaved Ice – coarse snow, topped with all natural fresh fruit syrup. Zingy lemon, sweet fruit in an icy slushy.
Owner Olivia Pilla went vegan in 2011. After experimenting with making ice cream at home with a two-litre ice cream maker she realised she was on to something special when her non-vegan family members tried and loved her creations. With her family’s endorsement she set down the path of commercial production and she now has a loyal following of vegan and non-vegans alike.
Along with her delicious gelato cookie sandwiches and a newly introduced ‘pick and mix’ bar at Plant 4 where patrons can have vegan marshmallows, brownies, fruits and sauces added to their gelato, Live A Little Gelato is continually growing and hopes to expand lines and get their product onto more supermarket shelves soon.
Get your fix at Plant 4 markets Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, or find them at the Vegan Festival and Crush Festival. You can also satisfy your cravings any time of the day with handy tubs available at supermarkets.
“South Australians love supporting local business and the vegan scene has been growing rapidly since our inception. It’s a great place for a niche business such as ours. That’s why we Choose SA”.
Must try: Fig, dark chocolate + honey-comb, using Willabrand figs
From town planner to ice block vendor, Popsi Cool’s owner Martin Rutt first planted the seeds for his business while on a holiday in New York.
“I saw this burgeoning industry of ice block makers creating small batch, handcrafted ice blocks using natural fruits and quality products. I kept thinking about it over and over until I started my own business in 2014”.
Popsi Cool pride themselves on having both unique and approachable flavours. While trying to include ingredients that are a little different, they use all Australian produce, sourcing strawberries from Mylor, watermelons from the Adelaide Plains, and use locally produced dairy.
The best part? Their ice blocks are 50-100% pure fruit, and have no nasties. Find them popping up at markets and festivals throughout summer – keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram for their whereabouts.
“I do business in SA because it’s my home and I love living here. It’s a small and supportive food community. South Australians love great food and there are amazing food businesses here who are very supportive of my own business”.
Must try: Roasted Peach… if get your hands on it consider yourself lucky as the small batch run always sells out! Mango Smoothee is a delicious back up.
Visit I Choose SA to find out how you can support our State by choosing South Australian businesses, products and services.