We have been sent this delightful story by Kenneth Jørgensen, Co-founder and sustainable business developer of Mzungu. He writes about visiting a local ice cream shop in Copenhagen which serves…Baobab ice cream, of course!
It’s a perfect day to talk about ice cream. The sun is shining from a clear late summer sky. The air is slowly warming up the morning making it a great day for ice creams. Mia Buhn Bostrøm is co-owner of the ice cream shop, Isobar, situated in the heart of Copenhagen and I’m here to find out more about her experiments with ice cream and how she developed this year’s novelty flavour Baobab ice cream.
I meet Mia as she is about to open Isobar, which gives me an opportunity to look around a bit. Naturally, I start by looking in the ice cream counter. Here I find all the classic flavours; vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, but also a diversity of special flavour profiles and combinations like blood orange, apple & ginger and raspberry & redcurrant.
Organic and healthy ice cream
The ice cream is made on the premises of the ice cream shop and Mia herself is not only in charge of the daily production of fresh ice cream but also responsible for creating new taste sensations for ice cream lovers. Mia studied nutrition and health at Metropol, a Danish university so it’s not surprising to discover that she focuses on health and organic ingredients in her ice cream. ‘We have been producing home-made ice cream for eight years now and the proportion of organic ingredients we use today is around 70 %,’ she says, adding ‘from the very beginning, my focus has always been on reducing sugar content, using milk instead of cream to reduce the fat content and adding plenty of fruit for flavour and taste.’
Demand for new flavours
Having many regular customers, Mia is often asked for something new. ‘I’ve noticed this becoming more pronounced in recent years, and I even have regular customers from other parts of Denmark, who always stop by to try out my new flavours whenever they visit Copenhagen,’ says Mia.
I ask if she has ever tried out a new flavor her customers didn’t like. “Yes, sometimes I can be ahead of the times! Several years ago I made a chilli and chocolate mix and that didn’t go down too well then. But today it’s become popular!’
Baobab is new flavour of the year
Isobar is one of the first ice cream shops in Copenhagen to have ice cream with Baobab in the counter. Mia tells me, that the Baobab flavor is popular and has been selling well this year. She especially likes to tell her customers that the Baobab tree only starts producing fruit after 200 years. Mia also finds new products coming from Africa interesting, especially when they contribute to improving people’s lives and protecting the environment. She has a few whole Baobab fruit pods in the shop, so that customers can see and touch the fruit. Most people know of the Baobab tree already – either from the story “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry or if they have been to Africa themselves. ‘I especially remember a dentist, who stopped by once and was so surprised and happy to find Baobab here, as he had recently been to Africa, where he had tasted Baobab,’ Mia tells me.
Isobar is situated just a few metres away from Nyhavn, an historic harbour in Copenhagen. It’s very popular among locals and tourists and is full of restaurants, bars and food shops, probably one of the most crowded places during summer so a great location for an ice cream bar. A German family eager for ice cream has entered the shop as I am speaking to Mia. When the man orders Baobab ice cream I simply have to ask him why he chose it. He says it’s because he’s never tried it before and after tasting it, gives me the ‘thumbs up’, pleased with his choice. ‘It’s not often people choose a new flavour they’ve never tried before without asking for a sample taste first,’ Mia remarks. ‘and I don’t tell people how I think it tastes beforehand. People need to try it for themselves and make up their own minds– then we can talk about it afterwards.’
As I leave Isobar, I have the impression that here is a story of a brave business daring to experiment with new tastes and challenge the common perception of how ice cream should taste. Mia and Isobar have done a brilliant job of building a bridge between the creation of exciting new flavours and customers looking for new taste sensations.