As the temperature in the city rises by the day, there’s a flurry of people trying to find ways to beat it. My search for the perfect cooling agent brought me to Amrith Ice Creams. The parlour struck me as fascinating for two reasons: their variety of flavours, and the fact that if you were lucky enough, you might just witness how the ice-cream is made.
As I sat there relishing the taste of my litchi ice-cream, I found the refrigerator peeking at me from inside what I assumed was their kitchen-turned-mini-ice-cream-factory. The most conspicuous were the cooling cabinets, of course, from which the various flavours beckoned me to taste them.
Whole family involved
The parlour was started in 1993 by the late M.N. Sarathy, says Ramapriyam, his son. Sarathy studied ice-cream making in Denmark, and later worked as a technologist at the National Dairy Research Institute. “After retirement, he decided to start making ice-creams himself at home, and eventually the whole family got involved in the business of making ice-creams,” says Ramapriyam, his son.
The ice-cream parlour is set up on the ground floor of their residence in Malleswaram, and it’s behind the sales counter that the real action happens. The ice creams are ‘home-made’ in the sense that they are made at home, but the touch is that of a thorough professional.
Ramapriyam says the first step in ice-cream making is pasteurisation. “The milk is boiled first to about 60 degrees and then mixed with milk powder, butter, cream and sugar. Usually, when ice creams are made at home, they become lumpy and grainy because the fat is not homogenous. We overcome this by using the homogeniser,” he clarifies.
Then comes the churning, during which the flavours are mixed in. Meticulous attention is paid to every step, from getting the right proportion of ingredients to the milk base, to cooling the ice creams to just the right temperature. The entire process takes about two days. “Every day, we make about 50 to 60 litres of ice cream. In winter, we reduce the quantity a little,” says Ramapriyam.
After the saccharine litchi, I decided to try a little something on the bitter side: the caribou coffee. Almost as dark as chocolate, a scoop of this ice cream is a must on the coffee lover’s list, and also fulfils nut cravings with its chunks of walnut. The pure saffron, on the other hand, lets you simply enjoy the experience of tasting saffron without the interference of nuts.
Apart from this there are the usual flavours of strawberry, vanilla, and rum and raisin, among others. Flanked by schools on either side, the parlour has students throng the place at lunch break, mainly for a taste of Amrith’s flavoured candy. Kulfi and hot chocolate fudge are popular here too.
Most of the flavours they use, such as fig and honey or mango, are natural. Regulars are drawn to Amrith for its homely feel. “I used to come here a lot when I was in school. After my exams, my father would give me money to buy ice cream from here and every time, I’d buy fig and honey. All the flavours here are equally mouth-watering, but fig and honey is simply irresistible,” says Bhumika Rajan, a regular.
(Amrith Ice Creams is at 53/1, 11th Cross, 5th Main. Call 23345035.)