Dubai: From goat cheese to beef bacon, meet the Emiratis behind outrageous ice cream flavors – News

A scoop on an artisan ice cream business in Dubai



Published: Mon 19 Sep 2022, 3:05 PM
Last update: Mon 19 Sep 2022, 5:26 PM


Most of us rarely stray from traditional ice cream flavors. But if you consider vanilla too vanilla and chocolate a bit boring, then how about goat cheese ice cream with balsamic fig jam or smoked caramel with beef bacon?


Welcome to the world of wacky ice cream flavors that tantalize your taste buds but leave you scratching your head at the same time. From peanut butter and hibiscus jam and ice cream to tangerine and black tea sorbet and smoked caramel and bacon (shown below, clockwise from left), Canvas Gelato offers unique flavors for food lovers.


“For me, the only rule of making ice cream is that there are no rules,” says Ahmad Almarri, founder of Canvas Gelato, the Dubai-based artisanal ice cream company behind Willy’s worthy creations. Wonka.


Almarri launched Canvas Gelato in 2017, hoping to raise the bar for indulgence in frozen desserts.


Five years later, its eccentric flavors continue to intrigue and exceed expectations. “You might find my creations strange, but if you can have goat cheese and figs in a salad, there’s no reason you can’t have them in another dish, especially ice cream he reasons.


Other outrageous concoctions include pistachio baqlawa, green apple wasabi and saffron ice cream with Emirati pumpkin pudding. Almarri says he ventured into the ice cream business to provide better ice cream with bolder flavors using real ingredients.


“I want people to step out of their comfort zone and try something different. There’s a whole world beyond vanilla, chocolate and strawberry waiting to be discovered,” says the father of three. “There’s no limit to what you can do with ice cream. I wonder why other manufacturers aren’t more innovative. I see ice cream as a blank canvas where you can let your imagination run wild. This is precisely why I added the word ‘web’ to my company’s name.”

challenge the palate


Almarri says he likes to think outside the box and challenge people’s palates with new flavors. He did it quite effectively when he teamed up with the Middle East’s premier chef, Hattem Mattar, to offer smoked caramel and candy bacon ice cream.


“Chef Hattem Mattar provided us with smoked fat extracted from beef brisket and ribs which we then turned into a caramel sauce for our ice cream. Is it a flavor for everyone? Almarri replies: “Probably not. But that’s part of the fun. You can try something that isn’t common but might still end up falling in love.


Many foodies did just that when they tasted Aseeda’s Saffron Gelato Chocolate Fudge. A modern twist on an Emirati dessert, the delicacy is the result of a collaboration with local bean-to-bar chocolate brand Mirzam. “It was an instant hit.”


Almarri says all of their seemingly odd pairings are based on science.


“What you get is a blend of science and creativity with no preservatives or artificial flavors.”


Today, Canvas Gelato flavors are available in several restaurants and cafes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They can also be ordered online. A one liter tub costs between 120 Dh and 150 Dh.


Almarri says he didn’t expect his messy flavors to be all the rage when he started producing them in his sister’s kitchen at Al Quoz in 2016.


“Initially, we were just a home delivery business that operated on Instagram. Things accelerated during Covid-19. As a result, we found ourselves besieged by online orders.


I had to work very hard to meet the demand. Making ice cream is a laborious process that requires a lot of skill and attention to detail. »


Almarri says he signed up for ice cream-making classes to master the craft after his first attempts at making the frozen dessert didn’t go well.


“Once I decided to surprise my friends as we were coming back after dinner to Box Park. When we got to my car, I pulled out a polystyrene box containing a tub of plain milk ice cream I had made earlier. My friends took a bite and exchanged amused looks with each other. Eventually, one of them asked, “Do you think it will sell?” Almarri recalled.


“Now I know better.”


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