These are not the sort of desserts one finds at a child's birthday party.
The roasted pistachio ice cream tastes like pistachio nuts, not like sugar with a hint of the nut. The black sesame ice cream is smooth, not too sweet, but brilliant, and if you’re looking for first-rate salty caramel, Pete’s Super Natural Ice Cream is the place to find it.
Salty caramel is a classic artisanal flavour, says Peta Frysh, the “Pete” of Pete’s Ice Cream. A former journalist and video producer, she began experimenting with ice cream two years ago.
Blame it on Bistrot Bizerca in Cape Town; one taste of the restaurant’s green apple sorbet and she went looking for an ice-cream machine so she could duplicate it.
Frysh works in Johannesburg, where most of her clients are chefs. There’s a good reason for this: Pete’s Super Natural is ice-cream for grown-ups.
One can tell from the names of the sorbets on offer: Bangkok lime and chilli, or Campari and orange. The ice creams range from amaretto almond brittle to white chocolate lemon — not the sort of desserts one finds at a child’s birthday party.
It really is all super natural. The milk and cream are organic and sourced locally. And the flavours are the real thing. When she was asked to make lavender ice cream, for example, Frysh researched farms for weeks before she found the right grower with the best organic lavender. Her latest invention is rose pomegranate Turkish delight, the pomegranate added to cut the sweetness of everything else.
There are no artificial colours. The black sesame ice cream is grey, and the roasted pistachio is the colour of pistachio nuts — another reason why most of her ice cream is for adults.
Still, there are a few flavours for kids among the more than 40 ice creams, frozen yogurts and sorbets she has developed: milk chocolate (soon to be made with French Valrhona chocolate beans), strawberry buttermilk and some really good pink peppermint.
She uses no eggs: “For me,” she says, “eggs interfere with flavour. The casein and whey in the milk are an effective protein without the added richness of eggs. It’s a very clean, pure flavour base.”
The biggest sellers are classic artisanal flavours, including lemon frozen yogurt (Pete’s includes sour cherries) and the croquants, with nuts that are roasted, caramelised and chopped. Justly popular is Vietnamese coffee, made the classic way with sweetened condensed milk but somehow not cloyingly sweet.
“There’s a fantastic movement in the [United States] of all artisanal food, but especially artisanal ice cream,” she says. And it’s a good bandwagon to be on — there is much advice on offer from leaders in the field overseas, including Humphry Slocombe in San Franciso and Jeni Britton Bauer in Columbus, Ohio.
Peta Frysh makes four or five flavours a week, but can handle special orders if given a few days. Find her at [email protected]