The Bestest Of Vancouver ~ Earnest Ice Cream

by Carmen Cruz

Vancouver has always been a hotspot for artists. I'm talking musicians, painters, clothing designers, and the list goes on and on. But what about ice cream? Isn't ice cream making an art? Well the answer to that is yes, especially when you've had a taste of Vancouver based 'Earnest Ice Cream'.

I stumbled across these 'ice cream artists' at the Canada Day Block Party and Food Cart Festival in the parking lot of the Waldorf Hotel. As soon as Earnest Ice Cream expert Erica B. whispered the words 'salted caramel' I was hooked! One taste of this creamy delight took me to the land of ice cream Narnia... mmmmmm..........................

.... where was I ? Ah yes, Earnest Ice Cream.

This company is the brain child of dynamic duo Erica and Ben and they create their creamy concoctions at the Woodland Smokehouse & Commissary. Even though I'm currently obsessing about their salted caramel ice cream, this local company also makes an assortment of other amazing flavours like Tahitian Vanilla, Roasted rhubarb oat crumble, Cafe Etico Coffee and Whiskey with butter salted hazelnut, just to name a few.

So being the intrepid reporter  I am, I decided to have a quick chat with Erica and find out more behind the magic that is 'Earnest Ice Cream'.

Ice cream. Why? What inspired you to go down this path? 

Erica -  We have both had life long love affairs with ice cream and we are both  passionate about food and cooking. Ice cream is a blank state - allowing us  to be creative with flavours and where we can take it. And, everyone loves ice cream! Ben's first job was at Dairy Queen. I have attended culinary school (in Toronto).

What's your best selling ice cream? How did you come up with this  brilliant flavour idea and why do you think are people going nuts over it?  

Erica -  Our best selling flavour is, by far, Salted Caramel. We sell out of it every week. It's the perfect balance of sweet and salty with an amazing texture and richness. It was a flavour we developed early on, based on an ice cream made by a role model of ours, Jeni's Ice Cream. We both loved it instantly and knew it would be a favourite.

What do you love most about what you do? What's the toughest part of it all?

Erica -  What do we love most... that's a difficult question! All of it! Being in the kitchen and developing new flavours is a definite highlight, but we also love being at the markets and at events where we get to chat with our customers directly. Toughest part..... all that ice cream we have to eat ;)

Let's look ahead a year from now. Where are you hoping Earnest Ice Cream will be?

Erica-  We'd love to have our own ice cream scoop shop.

 Any future flavour ideas? Anything you'd really like to create, but are afraid to?   

Erica - So many flavour ideas! We have a long "wish list". One we had been thinking about for some time, but was a little frightened of, we just did! It was the Smoked Peach with Almond. Working at the Woodland Smokehouse means we have access to smokers and just had to use them eventually! It is definitely an adventurous and different flavour, but I think it really works.

I've gotta ask,  what tunes do you play in the background while making your ice cream?  Ice cream playlist please!

Erica -  We share a kitchen with a few other businesses, one of them is Cartems Donuterie. Rags (Cartems Chef) is also a dj so he is usually playing some sweet beats throughout the day. In the evenings, we usually have the radio tuned into Soul Town or Back Spin.

If you're interested in trying out Earnest Ice Cream for yourself (and why wouldn't you? It's the BEES KNEES!!!), you can try a cone of whatever flavour your heart desires (or whatever they have left in stock!) at Harvest Community Foods (243 Union Street) or at Cocoa Nymph (10th & Alma).
I can pretty much guarantee that you're going to fall in love with this stuff, so why not save yourself some time and just grab a pint?   You can pick one up for $9.00 (plus a $1.00 refundable deposit for the jar - recycling is awesome, right?) at The Woodland Smokehouse and Commissary (on Commercial and Pender). You can also find Earnest Ice Cream at Farmer's Markets and events around the city. When you're there, make sure you give Erica and Ben a high five for me :).