Read full article by susan Joe Philip@The Hindu Photo Credit: The Hindu
Going local can have exciting results such as an ice cream made with millets
At the beginning of this year, Bhargav R spent his evenings in his kitchen whisking and blending for all he was worth, trying to find that perfect recipe for a millet-based ice cream he had dreamed of. Three months and many trials later he launched Aathiyam Ice Cream at his store at Gandhipuram. “The response has been great. But I had to close down the store 15 days after the launch due to he lockdown. I reopened it two weeks ago and now I provide takeaways. My product is free from artificial colours, stabilisers and preservatives,” says the 32-year-old from Coimbatore.
Aathiyam Ice Cream comes in 24 different flavours. “All of them except the forest Honey is vegan,” he says. The base for his ice cream is a combination of milk extracted from ragi, kambu and thinai. “I use millets sourced from my farm in Dharmapuri. The millet milk is mild and enhances the flavours added to it. I also add a limited quantity of soya milk for thickness. They are whipped together with fruits till they reach the right consistency.”
Bhargav adds palm sugar for sweetness which he says gives it the brown colour, but he is not worried about that. “For the mass-produced ice cream, each flavour comes in different colours. But in Aathiyam, most of them are brownish because of the palm sugar. I explain to customers who say they were looking forward to colourful icecreams, that this is the natural colour,” he explains. The production is done in small batches of 300 litres. “My ice cream only has a shelf life of three months when stored below 0 degrees Celcius. So I manufacture on demand.”
Bhargav brainstormed with his family to come up with flavours. “They also tasted my product during trials and gave me their opinions.” The most difficult part for him was to get the fruit-to-milk proportion right. “Some fruits like the pineapple can irritate one’s mouth when used in excess. It took me around 50 trials to understand the ratio,” he says. Some of the most popular flavours are kambu, thinai, muskmelon, mint, ginger and raw mango. “The raw mango ice cream tastes best with a sprinkle of red chilli powder on top. But my favourite is thinai. It has a mild flavour of the millet.”
The ice cream is sold in bio-degradable cups and the price ranges from ₹60 to ₹130 for a serving. “The takeaway is packed in plastic containers. We are looking for eco-friendly options.” He provides delivery for four km around Gandhipuram. “The safety of our customers is our priority. All our staffs wear masks and gloves. Their temperature is also checked every day,” he says. He plans to introduce a new line of flavours with herbs and spices next month. “It will have combinations of ginger, mint, triphala, pepper, etc. I also hope to launch fruit salads and milkshakes soon.”