You must’ve heard the famous proverb — ‘Life is like an ice cream, enjoy it before it melts’. But there are some, like Delhi-based Prerna Puri, who choose to take these words literally. “Life is full of firsts. But the one I enjoyed the most is ice-cream making,” Prerna tells The Better India.
Prerna’s Handcrafted Ice cream is a gluten-free brand, which is made with “all-natural ingredients”.
However, her reasoning behind creating an ice cream brand from scratch when the world was grappling with the lockdown, due to the pandemic, is one for the books.
Ice cream therapy
“My 12-year-old son is fond of ice creams. During the lockdown, ice cream was in short supply in our house as I was concerned about the hygiene of local vendors. So, just to see the smile on my son’s face, I tried making it at home,” says Prerna.
She watched different YouTube tutors and read many ice cream recipes to understand how the sweet dessert was prepared. It was then that she realised the use of stabilizers and emulsifiers in the preparation of ice cream, which is where the dessert gets its texture and long-lasting shelf life.
The 41-year-old then understood that all frozen desserts were not great for a kid’s health, and thus began her journey to make gluten-free, all-natural ice creams at home.
She says, “I did my research and experimented for some days with ingredients available at home to make a vegetarian, low-fat cream product that didn’t include artificial preservatives, flavours, colours, or even additives.”
She adds that sans any preservatives, her ice creams have a very short shelf life. “The fruit flavours stay for just 20 days in a commercial freezer and other flavours will stay upto 60 days,” says Prerna.
The first ice cream she made for her son, Aaryan Puri, was his favourite — pure chocolate ice cream. “He loved it! And now, he is my handcrafted ice cream’s ‘taster-in-chief’,” Prerna laughs.
Getting the whole scoop
A graduate of National Institute of Fashion Technology, Prerna never expected to start a business which does not have anything to do with designing.
“Before the lockdown, I was an interior designing consultant. I stopped work during lockdown to spend time with my family and had no plans of finding a new job. But now I have my own ice cream brand, which is gluten-free,” she says.
Speaking of her journey so far, Prerna says, “I first tried making ice cream at home in the month of March. When my family and friends gave me positive feedback, I gained more confidence. Finally, in the month of June, I decided to take it up professionally and approached Modern Bazaar, which is a retail premium chain in Delhi, to sell my ice cream” she says and adds, “They loved the taste of my handcrafted ice cream and decided to stock it on their shelves.”
Prerna’s all-natural delights—available in Pure Chocolate, Chocolate with Almonds, Pure Coffee, Vanilla with Assorted Nuts and Black Raisins, Coconut, and Almond Marzipan flavours—is available in Delhi-NCR region. And via Nature’s Basket ice cream chain, it is made available in Pune and Mumbai as well.
“During the initial days, I made the ice cream by hand more than any other equipment. As I kept receiving more orders, I asked my husband and mother-in-law for help. Later, I bought blenders to match the rising demand. But even now, my ice creams remain handcrafted as I use less equipment for the preparation, and I am going to make sure it remains that way.”
Churning in the dough
Prerna proudly shares, “Every month, my sales have been doubling, and our brand which is present in 25 premium stores, has now almost touched Rs 7 lakh in revenues.”
Producing 35 to 40 tonnes of ice-cream with the help of 16 employees, which includes her sales team and helpers at home, she says, “I believe that texture and taste can be achieved with the simplest of ingredients and a loving hand. Our brand retails six flavours of ice creams and two others are seasonal flavours of Mango and Litchi.”
The price range starts from Rs 95 (for 75 ml) to Rs 650 (for 500 ml). You can place your order by calling this number — 85956 63209.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)