Where can you get handcrafted ice cream that’s made right before your very eyes in less than a minute? At à la Minute Ice Cream in Old Towne, that’s where!
In bringing their “instant” ice cream concept to 117 North Glassell this May, owner Ryan Berk and his wife Cassi have successfully added a second location to their Redlands-based ice creamery, which takes its name after a French term meaning “made to order.” Featuring fresh local produce in the recipes, à la Minute uses liquid nitrogen to freeze very small batches of made-to-order ice cream for each customer.
“Liquid nitrogen is simply nitrogen, which is 100 percent safe and comprises 78 percent of our atmosphere,” explains Ryan. “At -321 degrees, it freezes the ice cream instantly, minimizing ice crystals and producing an ice cream that is very creamy and silky. Our customers enjoy witnessing the process. It’s fun and theatrical to watch.”
Unique gourmet flavors include Strawberry Balsamic, Orange Honey, Salted Caramel and Caramelized Bell Pepper Coconut. There’s even beer-infused ice cream made with craft beer from local breweries. The idea is to incorporate as many locally sourced products as possible, says Ryan.
“We want to promote the local economy based on what the farmers and vendors here are offering that particular week,” he says. “We are obtaining most of our produce from Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market, working closely with the local farmers.”
In addition to ice cream, the couple has recently launched their own Parliament Chocolate Company, featuring handmade chocolate made from imported cacao. Ryan, who attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Hollywood, travels four times a year to Central and South America to obtain the cacao directly from local farmers.
“Cacao is not grown here locally, but I always want to know where my ingredients are coming from,” he says. “To be able to bring this product back is pretty amazing. We use it in our ice cream, as well as to make chocolate products, including bars, truffles, syrup and more.”
Now that he’s in Old Towne, Ryan appreciates the chance to collaborate with local chefs for his ice cream recipes and to be part of a community he admires.
“It’s awesome to partner with fellow merchants,” he says. “Old Towne is extremely welcoming, and we feel really lucky to be at this location.”
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