Real fruit flavours have become ice cream lovers' latest fad

Are you someone who enjoys the difference that fresh fruits make to a bowl of rich ice cream? You are then probably one of those who might get addicted to the natural, real fruit ice cream flavours that have hit the market this summer.

According to those in the business, chikoo, guava, musk melon, papaya, watermelon, custard apple and pineapple flavours are beginning to draw more ice cream lovers, compared to conventional flavours such as vanilla, butter scotch and chocolate.

“I love the tender coconut and anjeer (fig) flavours. There was a point when I would have only vanilla or vanilla with chocolate sauce. But now, I am in love with these real fruit flavours,” says college student S. Anusha, sounding like a seasoned ice cream patron.

Natural Fresh is a brand that specialises in different flavours of fruits with interesting toppings. “The demand has been very high. The fact that children specifically ask for these flavours shows that they are becoming popular,” said an employee at the G.N. Chetty Road outlet of the ice cream chain.

What ice cream lovers, perhaps, enjoy is the moment their taste buds suddenly encounter a few pieces of the fruit itself, just as the cream melts in one's mouth.

Saravana Dairy Foods, the ice cream production unit attached to Hotel Saravana Bhavan chain, has over 30 real fruit flavours. “In a few years' time, these flavours will displace the older ones,” said its manager R.C.Chandrakumar.

Fresh fruits are procured in bulk for these flavours of ice cream. “For instance, we buy mangoes from Ratnagiri and jackfruit from Panruti. Four litres of ice cream is priced between Rs.470 and Rs.800 depending on the flavour,” he adds.

Established brands like Amul have also introduced a whole range of flavours, branding them “nature's treat”. Mangoes, black current, litchi and fresh strawberry flavours make the Amul menu card tempting, even for the calorie-conscious.

A single scoop of natural fruit flavours across brands is priced between Rs.30 and Rs.60 depending on the fruit.

Loyalists hold fast

However, some ice cream lovers continue being loyal to some of the conventional flavours. Brands such as Baskin-Robbins have their own list of delights, particularly for “chocoholics”. The sweetness of chocolate with a tinge of bitterness is something R. Karthik, a class VI student, will never give up for any new flavour. “I might try other flavours, but I invariably finish with chocolate,” he says.

There are others who like ice creams that in “Madras parlance” are often referred to as “kucchi ice”. As software professional S.Prabhu puts it: “Nothing like licking away from the stick of ice cream, chatting with friends. It is something I have had from my school days, and habits die hard.”

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012