By Hand From The Heart is a Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 , Jenney Residency, Coimbatore. 23rd Edition: February '18 in Chennai.
Kshama Adka runs a Chennai based artisanal icecream business, Shmoozie’s Hand-Crafted Ice Cream. We chat up with Kshama to find out more about her food venture, her recipes and what it takes to pursue one’s dreams.
A bit about yourself. Do you have a food background?
Born in Mangalore, brought up in Chennai, Studied in Goa and worked in Hyderabad, I have now moved back to the place i love the most. From being caught up in the cushiony corporate world and trying to catch the next bus, next meeting, next training, next job – setting up a small ice cream cafe is nothing short of a dream come true. I am a commerce student with an MBA degree from Goa Institute of Management. I have no food background except for the absolute love of it. The love for ice creams made me do a lot of research for more than a year. Once I understood the science behind it and knew that good quality ice cream could be made by hand at home, I discussed it with my folks and they loved the idea. That was all the motivation and support I required to drop everything, move home and start up my dream.
Why handcrafted ice cream?
Ice cream is more than just a dessert. It is magic. It is a celebration. Imagine making your own ice cream! you get to play around with flavours and create a lovely dessert out of it. Hand -crafted ice creams gives me the privilege of customising a flavour and creating everything from scratch. Most of what we get these days has a ton of colouring, essences and excess sugar. I prefer to keep it simple and give more importance to flavour. Most of the magic happens in that first bite of ice cream
The idea- while eating a scoop of Backyard Mint Refresher , you remember the freshness of the mint lemonade after school in the summers. The kadak garam chai on a rainy sunday evening. The comforting lull of your grandmother’s filter coffee as you sat on the swing. Reliving memories
About the ingredients you work with.
Based on what is freshly available for the season, I decide on a flavour and then go about on a list of combinations. With the final list , I start my trials and test with friends and family. The ingredients I use, are either naturally available or I try to make them by hand or source it locally. I avoid using artificial essences and colouring. The Butterscotch ice cream will NOT be a yellow colour.
Making delicious ice cream. What’s involved?
I read about local items that are available and produced in different parts of southern India. I try to source them and then begin testing with them. It’s a step by step scientific process. The mix has to be made, aged for hours for infusing flavours , churned and then frozen. It takes about a day for the entire procedure.
Describe a typical day at Shmoozie’s.
Work is usually based on orders. I encourage people to come and taste the ice creams and pre- order their flavours for an event, occasion or if they just want to send a heartwarming gift to someone. I make a list of all the orders that I receive through call, whatsapp. Once the order is placed, with some happy music in the background, I start with the methodical process of creating a perfect tub of heaven . On other days I am curating , planning and testing my next recipe, menu, structuring, finding finances to run the show.
Your work space.
A garage at home is now converted to a single kitchen work station. This opens up into a beautiful sit out.
Tell us about your products that you propose to showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
Buttered Walnut Candy : Walnut lover’s delight. Walnuts are butter roasted and candied with sugar. While they are a little warm they are put into freshly churned cold ice cream. This creates juicy and crunchy butter pockets in the ice cream .
Coffee cinnamon and roasted almond: Made from fresh brewed filter coffee and slight cinnamon to enhance the flavour. The roasted walnuts compliment the coffee and brings a balance to the otherwise strong flavour
Butterscotch Almond Brittle: Homemade butterscotch sauce is swirled into fresh cream along with crunchy bits of Almond brittle that ensures a crackle in every spoonful
Backyard mint refresher: Fresh mint leaves with citrusy lemon. This one’s a keeper for the summers
Dark chocolate indulgence: Powerful source of antioxidants. Not too bitter not too sweet Dark chocolate with a slight coffee kick
Banoffee Pie Cream: The famous Banoffee pie now as an ice cream. Toffee cooked for 4 hours blend with banana and crunchy homemade digestives
Callebaut Belgian Chocolate: No surprises here. Good old milk chocolate ice cream
What’s your favourite Shmoozie’s pick?
Backyard mint refresher. Cool and refreshing, and full of zing.
What’s the best thing about being a food entrepreneur?
Finding inspiration. You can’t settle for anything- you have to be on your toes to innovate, keep brainstorming and coming up with new offerings. Not everyone knows what they want or if they like a particular flavour. Convincing them and opening them up to try new flavours and accepting ideas. Throwing together different things, and learning along the way based on how people love the flavours.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
Be open to criticism. It’s impossible to please all palettes. But don’t stop trying.
Your advice for aspiring food artisans / food entrepreneurs?
Think wild and creative. Welcome ideas, criticism and most importantly learning. I was a commerce grad but i had to try and understand a lot of chemistry while trying to learn the art of ice creaming.
Growing up in Chennai – I love the sweltering heat, the fish aroma beach, bus rides , Idli for breakfast and everything typical about it. The heat may have been a reason for my extreme liking towards ice cream and lead me to taking up a career :). I left the city hoping to learn new culture and meet people from all parts of the world. I am back here and it still has the same old goodness but so much excitement to try everything new. From the auto guy to a celebrity “Vanakam Sir” works wonders. Such is the humility of the place. Always Singara Chennai 🙂
Kshama Adka of Shmoozie’s Hand-Crafted Ice Cream, Chennai, will be at the By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 18th Edition
Friday – Saturday, 5th – 6th August, 2016
10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India