My job is to make ice cream with local ingredients

Sage Creamery favorites include vanilla, chocolate, honey, fruit, coffee and tea.
Photo: Aaron Yoshino

Last name: Zachary Villanueva
Age: 32
Use: Ice cream maker and co-founder of Sage Creamery

Beginnings: “Growing up, my dad and mom always made sure we had dessert in the fridge. A tub of ice cream was one of them.

His passion for ice cream continued beyond childhood and he started making it at home in 2016 for his family and friends. He thought it was much better than what was sold in stores.

Origin of the company: “The idea for Sage Creamery was born after my brother passed away in 2018. He had cancer and it was really brutal: four months after the diagnosis he died.”

Villanueva created the company in honor of her brother. His brother’s name was Daniel, but he was wise beyond his years, so people called him “Wise”.

Zachary Villanueva used to work full-time at Kō Hana Distillers but the pandemic gave him more time to make ice cream and he eventually made the business his full-time job.

Ingredients: “Things like vanilla, chocolate, coffee, honey, and even tea, we will work with other suppliers here in Hawai’i and collaborate with them to create flavors. Our vanilla comes from Laie Vanilla Co. Our coffee comes from Kailua at ChadLou’s Coffee Roasters and our honey comes from Mānoa Honey & Mead. We focus on ingredients and showcase them through ice cream. »

How it’s made: “Our ice cream base is a mixture of milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks. We puree fruit or sometimes we infuse lavender flowers or vanilla beans for a few days and let those flavors melt into the ice cream. Sometimes we also do inclusions – the things you add to your ice cream after it’s been stirred.

The flavours: Ice cream flavors are chosen primarily based on the time of year and what Villanueva and her colleagues like to eat.

“My favorite flavor is vanilla ice cream and being able to source it locally on the North Shore is a plus for us.”

They also pay attention to other businesses and their successes. Their Mango Cheesecake Ice Cream was inspired by the popular Mango Cheesecake Dessert at Diamond Head Market & Grill, the family business of Villanueva’s wife and where the couple previously worked.

“Our most recent collaboration was with Holey Grail Donuts, popular for their maple-glazed donuts. So we made vanilla and maple ice cream.

Growth: “When we started we were making ice cream in our garage, then we grew and eventually moved into our own commercial kitchen.”

The company now sells at farmers’ markets on O’ahu. Soon a shop in Ho’opili and an ice cream truck.

Motivation: “At the end of the day, it’s ice cream. We are here to make people happy. If they are happy, then we are happy.

This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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