Yee Kwan makes beautiful ice cream!
She, for Yee Kwan is a person as well as a
company, is tucked away in Devonshire Business Park just near the Devonshire Cat (one of her outlets) and I paid her a visit a couple of weeks ago to find out a bit more about the company, the ice cream and the inspiration behind it. Cleverly, I took along my little recorder to record the conversation and then, stupidly, forgot to set it up correctly – so I am writing from memory and a certain amount of further googling!
Yee is of Chinese heritage and in a former life was a Chartered Quantity Surveyor before deciding that being a surveyor was not what rocked her world. She felt driven to do something rather more creative and having been raised in Yorkshire and with happy memories of childhood trips to the Atkinsons’ ice cream parlour eventually she and husband, Antony, decided to create a business producing high quality ice creams that reflected their interest both in their Asian heritage and their concern for local foods.
Yee shows me around their little production unit – introducing me to a vats of creamy base mix which will eventually become her award winning black sesame seed ice cream. “the raw ingredients for the ice cream are pastuerised and it ages overnight before I finish it off tomorrow,” she explains. “By using locally sourced milk and cream, the quality of the product is second to none” Altogether the process is a simple one and the unit boasts only the equipment fundamental to the production of ice cream: a batch pastueriser, batch freezer and freezers for storing the finished product. There is also a storage area where their customised tricycle is kept, this has been spotted at many foodie events over the last twelve months and is gaining popularity as it is available to hire for weddings and corporate events. In that time Yee calculates she has single-handedly produced approximately 10,000 litres of ice cream.
So it wasn’t long before the samples came out and I was tasting flavours ranging from traditional Vanilla and Strawberry Ripple to the more exotic Black Sesame and Green Tea – flavours inspired by her Yorkshire childhood, her Chinese background and travels in South East Asia. And the flavour list is still growing Yee tells me as I tuck into Sea Buckthorn – a pale orange ice cream with a delicate citrus flavour. “It’s still in development,” she says, but tastes pretty good to me already. Then there are the sorbets – alphonso mango, pink guava and passion fruit, lychee and Yee’s favourite lime and lemongrass – they are lighter in texture, fat and lactose free, clean tasting and truly refreshing.
Having been trading for only a little over a year Yee Kwan’s ice cream is certainly gaining a reputation for itself. It is now available in many shops and restaurants throughout Sheffield. “We are members of the Regional Food Group – deliciously yorkshire”, Yee explains, “and they have been really great with advice and practical help putting promotional materials together and marketing ourselves.” She tells me that she is also aiming to become a SALSA member – SALSA stands for Safe and Local Supplier Approval, “the scheme provides national and regional buyers with the confidence that SALSA approved businesses not only make fantastic products, but do so in a safe and legal manner.”
Yee has great ambitions for her little company, telling me that she would love to have her products widely available for everyone to enjoy. Hot off the press, she has just returned from a meeting with Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge who will be exclusively launching her brand in April. Judging by the sense of purpose that Yee demonstrates and the passion she obviously has for producing her top quality ice creams, I think it will only be a matter of time. Watch this space!blog comments powered by Disqus