Have you ever wondered what fried ice-cream tastes like? Weird? Wonderful? Intriguing? A new shop selling just that has now opened in Cornwall so locals and tourists can experience it for themselves.
Treat Yourself in Liskeard is the first of its kind in the county to allow punters to design their own fried ice-cream. The shop has been opened for barely 11 weeks and already ice-cream lovers have flocked from far and wide to try out the Pike Street parlour.
While in town for Cornwall Live’s General Election tour of Cornwall, we heard of this intriguing little place.
It sounds like it should not exist. But then again a deep fried Mars bar should not exist either but it is a delicacy north of the Wall.
Still, how can you have ice-cream fried in hot boiling fat that does not melt?
Do they encase your scoop of mint chocolate chip in a thin membrane of glass-like batter then flash fry the lot in a deep fat fryer to give you something hot and cold, crunchy and melting at the same time?
We had to try it and co-owner Tessa Hicks, who set up the fried ice-cream parlour with her partner Richard Deakin less than two months ago, was happy to oblige.
“it’s the first of its kind in Cornwall,” mother-of-three Tessa said. “It’s an idea my partner Richard has had for five years and when these premises came up we thought we’d give it a go. We’ve already had 200 five-star reviews on Facebook and we had people come all the way from Plymouth and Truro to try our ice-creams.
“We’re open seven days a week and now another shop in the town has decided to open on Sundays and take advantage of the trade as we’re bringing more people into the town.”
Tessa Hicks with her partner’s sister Rebecca Parry, who run Cornwall’s first ever fried ice-cream shop in Liskeard.
Tessa said the impetus of setting up her own ice-cream business came from the fact that as a mum she always had to take her children to Looe or Plymouth for an ice-cream as there were no ice-cream shops in her town – thus making the whole ‘taking your kids out for an experience’ a rather expensive affair.
“There’s nothing above £5 in the shop,” she said. “Hopefully it will now be cheaper for local people to take their own kids out for an ice-cream. We’re a family business. We’re local and everything we sell we source locally.”
There is a range of ingredients, all sourced locally, chalked up on slate boards on the wall. Customers can choose their own flavour and ingredient to make their ice-cream unique.
But where is the fryer? The bubbling oil in the massive roiling vat?
“Our ice-creams are made while you wait,” added Tessa, “right in front of you. It’s made on this steel plate that’s cryogenically cooled to -22C which makes anything that touches freeze in an instant.”
The plate, which can go as low as -50C, is so cold that should you touch it with your bare hand your skin would stick to it.
After you choose your ingredients they are placed on the plate and crushed before cream is poured over the lot.
Tessa or Richard’s sister Rebecca Parry will scrape it all up together into a paste as the cream solidifies into an ice-cream before smearing the mixture into a thin veil on the steel plate and rolling your ice-cream into little finger-like rolls.
The rolls of ice-cream are then delicately placed in a carton pot and lathered with cream, frothed up whipped cream, chocolate sauce or whatever else you have selected – then voila.
But what about the frying bit? Where is the deep fat fryer?
“There’s no heat or oil involved,” smiles Tessa. “The process is originally from Thailand. It’s known as freeze-frying that’s why it’s called fried ice-cream.”
While we admit having hoped to see scoops of ice-cream being lobbed into a deep fat fryer just to see what happens, our verdict on Treat Yourself and Tessa’s and Richard’s fried ice-creams? Very lovely indeed.
Cornwall Live’s reporter Hannah Maltwood tucks into her Liskeard fried ice-cream.