Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 4, Tuesday, July 20, 2004




i scream, you scream, weall scream for ice cream!

LOCATION: a very busy evening in one of Dhaka's popular ice cream parlour. The place is crammed with people of all ages: couples dating, friends chatting, parents pampering their toddlers. It is a very common sight in any ice cream parlour of the city on a Friday. All these people who possess different views on life happen to share a common passion, which brings them together. It is the passion for the scrumptious, lip-smacking dessert we call ice cream.

In the parlour we randomly approached some of the ice cream lovers with only one question in mind: why do they love ice cream?

"It is like a seduction", one of them answered while relishing her scoop. In another table some one else replied, "It is the most delicious food ever". A tiny tot of about 4 years of age, busy filling in his mouth with something purple, tells us while trying to gobble, "I don't know. I just love it".

Ice cream. Just let one morsel in. The sweet, creamy, smooth, delectable element first embraces the tongue, giving it a cold pleasant feeling all over. The taste buds sends the sensation directly to the brain, it then slowly stretches inwards, tempting other parts of the digestive system, which of course wants more of it. This is a common experience for those who share the passion for ice cream.

How this passion evolved is the second question we have in mind. There are several popular stories about the creation of ice cream. There is a saying that roman emperor Nero and the ancient Chinese people use to have a special "ice cream like dessert". Nero used to send his slaves in to the mountains to bring back snow. He loved the mixture of snow, nectar, fruit pulp and honey. Another theory is that Marco Polo, the 13th century adventurer, brought back home a Chinese recipe for water ice. These desserts are not like the ice cream that we enjoy today and these stories are all unverified folklores, some people however believe that these recipes gradually evolved in to ice cream.

In another popular tale it is said that King Charles 1 of England once hosted a state banquet for many of his friends and royal kin. The meal was simply superb with all sorts of delectable items. The dish that pulled a "coup de grace" was ice cream. The king's French chef delighted the guests with his new dish. The dish was cold and resembled freshly fallen snow but was much creamier and sweeter. The thrilled king summoned the royal chef and asked him not to reveal the recipe to any one. He wanted the delicacy to be served only on the royal table and he paid a handsome amount of money every year to keep it that way.

People's passion for ice cream has pioneered lots of ice cream parlours around the world. In Dhaka, there are now several international and local parlour chains catering to all the ice cream lovers. Lets move around and savour their flavours.

Club Gelato
As the name reveals Club Gelato is offering Italian gelato. At the back of the parlour situated at Banani 11, they have their own kitchen, where chefs remain busy all day. The most popular flavour there, is the chocolatey Ferrero Rocher. Among other flavours, their customers go wild for Chocolate chip, Coffee Crunch, Cassata and Jungle Crunchy. A single scoop of any flavour is Tk60. Their popular ice cream sundaes include the heavenly Chocolate, Coppa classic, Merry mint, and Choco seduction, all priced at around Tk175. They have a weekly special called Deep fried ice cream.

This very popular ice cream parlour is situated at Gulshan Avenue. It is a Swiss chain, which opened in Dhaka in the year 2000. Movenpick's items are imported from Switzerland. Their specialty is they use "only natural ingredients" to prepare the delicacy. Those who hang out in the parlour love their Chocolate, Stracciatella, Caramelita, Vanilla brownies, and Maple walnuts. For single scoop in cup they charge Tk60 and Tk70 for cone.

Danish chain Andersen's is popular for their Strawberry, Chocolate, and Belgian choco-chip. Their creamy rich Waffle Basket sundae, the fruit blend with yoghurt or vanilla, or the ice creamy smoothie blended with real fruit are also an allure for many. Their sundaes cost around Tk200. Single scoop of any flavour cost Tk70. Their home pack single cost Tk230 and double Tk450. Andersen's ingredients come directly from Denmark. In their Tongi factory they prepare their specialty. Andersen's have two parlours in Dhaka, one in Gulshan and another one is in Uttara.

Gelateria Igloo
Gelateria Igloo is a local company famous for their inexpensive options. They have three outlets in Dhaka and one in Chittagong. In their Kemal Ataturk outlet they have cosy sitting arrangement outdoors. Young couples love to visit this place during the evening. The most-sold flavour of the parlour is Vanilla, priced at Tk40. Their Destiny (to please the customers of course), Twinkling Stars, Royal Salute, Fruit Valley are also a craze among many.

Sweetmax is basically a food mart also catering ice cream. In their spacious outlet situated at Kemal Ataturk Avenue, they have a huge parlour. Around 11am to 12 noon they have a rush of students coming in from the North South University, chatting and enjoying their favourite flavours. Sweetmax serve Italian ice cream in cone and cup. One scoop of any flavour would cost Tk50 in this parlour, while the cup costs Tk45. The good old vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and soft green pistachio ice cream mixed with real pistachio nuts, the perfect combination for any nut lover is their best sellers. Soon they will open another outlet in Dhanmondi 8. This chain hails from Chittagong City. They have three more outlets in there, pleasing the ice cream lovers of the port city.

Baskin Robbins
One of the oldest international ice cream chain, Baskin Robbins shot to fame with their 31 flavours - one for every day of the month. Till date, they've come up with more than 1000 different flavours and sherbets, and their outlets are found all over the world. The first Baskin Robbins in Dhaka was located in front of Shaheen Collage. They have since opened up chains in Gulshan, Dhanmondi and Uttora. The Rocky Road and Oreo Cookies 'n Cream are their most popular flavours. Prices are comparable to other parlours.

Rainbow rocked Chittagong before arriving in Dhaka in the early 90's. Opening first in Gulshan they recently moved to Dhanmondi Rd 28. Once they were famous for their Rocky Road and Faluda, but since then have brought out new flavours like Aloha Mongo.

Dolce Vita
This parlour is one of Dhaka's oldest, and could arguably be called the pioneer amongst ice cream parlours in Dhaka. With one branch in Kemal Ataturk and one in Dhanmondi, they specialise in Italian ice-cream, with their Vanilla Butter Brittle still enjoying popularity amongst loyal patrons.

In all these parlours, prices are still a little too high for the middle class people. Igloo, Polar and Milk Vita are brands that are more wallet-friendly. Ice cream from these companies, mostly of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours are available in all the confectionaries, bakeries, general stores and fast food shops all over Bangladesh. The Chocobar, priced only at Tk10 is a rage among both kids and adults. The list of name goes on and so is the passion for the great dairy delight.

Once the delicacy that was served only in the royal tables is now the craving of the entire world. All the craze and people's addiction towards ice cream makes us wonder whether king Charles's chef was faithful to his master at all.

By Shahnaz Parveen
Photo: Zahedul I Khan

Special thanks to:
Sheraton Hotel, Club Gelato and Gelateria Igloo

Igloo the oldest local Ice-cream wonder

PRODUCING more than a staggering 20,000 litres of ice-cream everyday, Igloo definitely sets the highest standards in the Ice-cream industry here in Dhaka. Although there have been numerous ice-cream boutiques springing up in the city, this local ice-cream company has, without a doubt, kept up to all the competition, offering great tastes at affordable prices.

Igloo started up in 1964 in Chittagong under the central Pakistan government. However, Abdul Momen Ltd. took up the brand name and all operations in 1984, paving Igloo's way into being the most widespread and popular ice-cream brand in the country. In those days, all the flavours one could enjoy was the cup, chocbar and the lolly. They shifted the factory to Shampur from Chittagong. The factory at Shampur is fully automated and the machinery is all purchased from different European countries.

Igloo has come a long way since those three flavours, with upto fifty-five different varieties available in the market presently. The chocobar, shell and core, and the lolly are old items but are still ever so popular in the local market. However, maintaining quality is the important part. Maintenance of quality at Igloo is assured mainly because their products don't have any human touch to it; from processing of raw materials to packaging, everything is automated. In fact the rigorous quality control and well-planned company policy has led to Igloo being presented the acclaimed HACCP (1) (given for quality control) and the ISO 9001/2000. Igloo even has interest in its products from other South-Asian countries and plans to export.

The story behind the newest range
The newest range from Igloo has definitely taken the ice-cream market by storm. Single Scoop Sundaes and Double Sundaes have definitely won over the children, and not to mention people of all ages in the city. The 'Chocolate Cheers' has especially been very popular, and it went out of market because Igloo didn't expect sales to skyrocket in the way it did. Igloo ran out of the chocolate chips, which are imported from Europe, however a new shipment is on its way to serve the chocolate fans in the country. School-going children have especially expressed their interest regarding the new line. "After a hot day at school, children run to my van for Single Sundaes. The single sundaes have become very popular even for the parents," says Maksud, an Igloo road-vendor.

Interesting tidbits about Igloo
The most selling and widely popular ice cream made by Igloo in Bangladesh is the Chocbar.
The packaging material or plastic covers for individual ice-cream sticks are imported from Italy.
Believe it or not, the stick at the centre of the ice cream is imported from Dubai!
The core of the Ego ice cream is completely made from chocolate imported from Europe.
The main ingredient of an ice cream is SMP and Igloo imports it from Australia.
Igloo offers its dealers Danish refrigerators for storing their ice cream.

It takes around 7-10 days for the ice cream to reach a shop in the city from the factory, so it is pretty fresh.
Prices of Igloo products are affordable and this definitely gives the manufacturer an edge. With great flavours already available, and a widespread market spanning the whole of Bangladesh, Igloo certainly looks to dominate. However, do look out for new and interesting flavours coming out soon in September and October.

By Mishel Ali Khan

fun facts about ice cream

HERE are hundreds of facts about the wonder treat ice cream. Here's some interesting trivia you can share with friends.

Top ten flavours
All over the world Vanilla is the most favoured ice cream flavour. Then follows Chocolate and Butter pecan. Strawberry, Neapolitan, Chocolate chip comes next. French vanilla, Cookies and cream, Vanilla fudge ripple and Praline pecan these are some other most favoured and sold ice cream flavours of the world.

Top five ice cream eaters
Americans are the greatest eaters of ice cream in the world. In 1924, when the savouring was quite new the average American ate eight pints a year. By 1997, the International Dairy Foods Association reported that the figure had jumped to 48 pints a year. After USA, Australians are second in this category.

First ice cream cone
Who invented the cone ice cream is a matter of debate. There are several stories behind it. One story is that a vendor named Italo Marchiony used to sell his home-made ice cream from a pushcart on Wall Street. Customers breaking or stealing his serving glasses became a major nuisance for him and costly too. He reduced his overhead by baking edible waffle cups with sloping sides and a flat bottom, which we now know as ice cream cone. He patented his idea in 1903. Others link the ice cream cone's invention to the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis. An ice cream vendor there reportedly did not have enough dishes to keep up with the demand. He teamed up with a waffle vendor and began serving ice cream in cones.

Did you know…
that a very important ingredient in ice cream is air? Bizarre as it sounds, without it, the stuff would be as hard as a rock.

The biggest
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest ice cream sundae in the world was made in Alberta, Canada, in 1988. It weighed nearly 55,000 pounds. The same year, a baking company and a sheet-metal firm in Dubuque, Iowa, teamed up to produce the world's largest ice cream sandwich, which tipped the scales at nearly 2,500 pounds. And, in 1999, Baskin Robbins created an ice cream cake at a beach hotel in the United Arab Emirates that weighed just less than 9,000 pounds.



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