By Naomie Happie Pokam
September is a turning point in Zimbabwe’s outdoor activities as it marks the complete change in seasons from a long dry winter to a sweltering sunny season. This is the perfect time to indulge yourself in a chilly blend of your favorite frozen delights. From the name itself, “Treat Gourmet” is a Zimbabwean-based artisanal rolled ice-cream company whose forte is in letting their customers express themselves through personalized sweet tooth delicacies.
Treat Gourmet Rolled Ice Cream, like any other entrepreneurial business, rose from humble beginnings. The owners Ennis Tendai Cakana and Zolani Cakana still feel as though it was just yesterday when they participated in their first-ever event, an Unplugged concert in Harare. During those times, they would set up mobile carts at various outdoor fairs; introducing rolled ice cream to Hararians. It was not until one particular Colcom Festival that they received their big break and ever since then, the company has climbed up the fame ladder. They first partnered with Glen Lorne Food Lovers in 2017 and after this branch closed, they then joined Food Lovers Avondale on Valentine’s day in 2018. A day which they believe sparked the love affair many people have for this rolled ice–cream company.
The Ndeipi team was thrilled to have had a Treat experience at the company’s recently opened shop in Rolf Valley, Harare, located at the corner of the Zuva service station’s parking lot. You can also track down their other outlets in Food Lovers – Avondale, and Bradfield – Bulawayo.
The art of making rolled ice cream
The process of making rolled ice cream is quite different from the traditional method of ice cream making. Rolled ice cream is created using a milk base that is combined with fresh ingredients of your choice. This mix is then finely chopped over a freezing pan until creamy. Fascinated yet? The now icy mixture is spread over the freezing pan as a thin layer where you can have a message inscribed; – for example, you can have the artisan write a name (Ndeipi) or if you are feeling romantically adventurous a “will you marry me?” message will work splendidly. This thin layer is then rolled into light cylinder-shaped tubes.
To top it all off, once the ice cream is all rolled up and in its eco-friendly packaging cup, it is garnished with toppings of your choice, these include cereals, waffles, toasted marshmallows, and gummy bears just to name a few. Your toppings are then stylishly arranged on top of your ice cream to add the finishing touches to your masterpiece. Ennis has shared with us that the topping selection process is usually the most exciting for both children and adults, so I would recommend you take your time to add as many toppings as you would like.
Panashe, a Treat employee, highlighted that his favorite part of the job is “when customers make up their own flavors,” such Treat Gourmet’s unique selling point, apart from other ice-cream companies, is that they allow their customers to handpick and choose the flavors for their ice cream.
After a long and exciting decision to make, l went for the passion fruit and lychee ice cream with waffles and cereal toppings. I had the pleasure to stand by and watch as my ‘Treat’ was being made. The ice cream looked just as good as it tasted, each spoonful was soft, candied, and laced with sudden crunchy bites. l could tell from the very first scoop that my order was made with love. At Treat Gourmet, the ingredients are garden-fresh, the milky base is freshly made each morning, the creatively shaped waffles are homemade, and the ice cream is prepared with great care right in front of you. Overall, it was a huge thumb’s up from me!
For those who would like to add a little kick to their frosty dessert, two alcoholic flavors have recently been added to the shop’s menu, the Amarula Heaven and the Rum Banana Nutella. If you thought that it could not get better than this, they also offer lactose-free and vegan ice cream.
Apart from rolled ice cream, Treat Gourmet also serves melton and gourmet teas, matcha lattes, and cappuccino. When making payment for your five-dollar ice-cream cup, cappuccino, or gourmet tea, you can pay using either Cash, EcoCash, Swipe, and Slydepay for Stanbic bank users. Conveniently affordable right?
Treat Gourmet’s new location is decorated with soft lighting that enhances its ongoing tropical theme. A soothing aura permeates the air as soon as you walk in and the workers are both delightful and cheerful. A swing set has been placed next to the glass window which makes this the ideal place for people to capture the moment with a picture. The area is surrounded by potted green plants and an aesthetically pleasing wall mural runs along with the room.
Owners Ennis and Zolani say their shop encompasses everything they want people to experience when they visit.”We wanted Treat to be a shareable experience for people. We have watched people’s moods lift up with a simple ice cream, birthdays celebrated with a treat, and even proposals taking place with a sweet ice cream message.”
After embracing all that Treat Gourmet has to offer, I hope you come to know that it doesn’t take much to treat yourself and those around you.
Images by Naomie-Happie and Vimbai Ruvengo
Originally published in the 7th Ndeipi Digital Magazine