Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Adults only: A taste sensation strictly for grown-ups

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]


Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Barbara Ludman
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

US fashion contaminates Africa’s water

Untreated effluent from textile factories in in Lesotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius and Madagascar pours into rivers, contaminating the water

Deep seabed mining a threat to Africa’s coral reefs

The deep oceans are a fragile final frontier, largely unknown and untouched but mining companies and governments — other than those in Africa — are eying its mineral riches

Komodo dragon faces extinction

The world’s largest monitor lizard has moved up the red list for threatened species, with fewer than 4 000 of the species left

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…