It’s pretty rare to come across a product that completely surprises you with delight. Most foodies like myself have been around the culinary block enough times to accurately predict what we’re about to taste and experience. However, every now and then, you come across a product that changes your perception or harkens back to a time where food was just glorious. For instance, when I first opened the nicely packaged PURE NZ Ice Cream’s Boysenberry offering, I had it in mind that most products of this type were going to be overly sweet or trading off creaminess for a sorbet-like take on the subject. What happened instead, with the very fist spoonful, was the sense that I’d just bit into the most perfect, ripe and Summery boysenberry — you know that plump, sweet & tangy balance — that happened to be preserved in the form of a gelato-style ice cream. This full flavoured fruit in the form of a well crafted gelato was especially surprising because it was found not on the streets of Milan or Waiheke, but in a perfectly accessible tub at my local Raeward Fresh.
Pure NZ Boysenberry Ice Cream
Wanting to get the back story, I had the pleasure of interviewing Director and Head of PURE Production Anna Howard who handily made sense of my surprising experience. Anna grew up on a small farm in Akaroa, the fifth generation of her family to do so. Her connection with the land, pure flavours and processes, and the simplicity of raising her own food created the perfect backdrop for her culinary / business sense. Anna is both adventurous (as a world traveller) and a no nonsense artisan maker. Her values, her sense of taste, and her ability to innovate are grounded in the kiwi experience and as such she fully deserves to call her product PURE New Zealand …
Note: you can read more of Anna’s super interesting story on PURE NZ Ice Cream’s blog here:
Pure NZ Lemon and Curd Ice Cream
Looking more closely at how Anna’s life and experience translates into wonderful ice creams, sorbets and gelatos I’ve identified what typically sets artisan makers apart from larger corporate entities. Firstly, Anna knows the central importance of exceptional ingredients. In fact, when asking her about the numbers of awards Pure NZ Ice Cream regularly takes home she tells me that “we just stick to our core philosophies of only using real ingredients with nothing artificial, giving our ice creams intensely natural flavour and an eating experience which our cutomers love”. She’s so right. The difference between boysenberry flavour and the boysenberry itself is huge. Same with chocolate, fig, elderflower, kaffir lime and ginger (all PURE NZ flavours). If the actual ingredient isn’t pure and delicious, then the ice cream can only be an approximation (read – ‘boring’) of the idea. Secondly, those ingredients need to be captured in such a way that their integrity can be maintained from harvest to the first spoonful. This is why Anna has certain boysenberry producers in sunny Nelson pick their fruit at the perfect ripeness and then quickly freeze them into a pulp that can easily be added to a few other ingredients (which are always free of artificial preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilisers, colour or flavour enhancers). Finally, the actual production (creation, pasteurisation, churning and packaging) are done by hand at PURE NZ which adds a level of care and consistent quality which harkens back to the ice cream makers of old who did it for love first, pleasure second and then, naturally, profitability.
Pure NZ Elderflower Sorbet
Small and productive makers like Anna and her team are rewriting the rules of food creation. During the last century where scale and profitability trumped quality and customer satisfaction, companies churned out a range of cheap goods laced with additives in the place of purely delicious foods. Anna and Co. at PURE are showing how an emphasis on mostly local ingredients and processes can not only deliver value for money (more quality, less quantity, especially with ice cream!) but do so in a way that creates real joy and satisfaction while celebrating New Zealand’s roots in the mix. We fully endorse this at Raeward Fresh and invite you to try out the range of PURE NZ Ice Cream to taste what we mean for yourself.