Could rolled ice cream replace the traditional ice cream cone?

PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 July 2018

Strawberry and Prosecco with popping candy

Strawberry and Prosecco with popping candy


It’s all the rage in trendy capitals around the world and now ice cream rolls are available in Lancashire.

Becky and Woody of The Ice AlchemistsBecky and Woody of The Ice Alchemists

Becky Wood’s childhood is filled with memories of family visits to Frederick’s Ice Cream in Chorley. Her family went for long walks along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal with a pit-stop at the renowned ice cream parlour. It’s a ritual she still enjoys with husband Iain, three-year-old daughter Josephine and son Samson, aged one.

Today, she has turned those cherished memories into a business. Last September Becky and Iain, who both now live in St Annes, founded The Ice Alchemists. The couple, one of only a small number in the UK making and developing ice cream rolls, were inspired by the Thailand trend that has been a part of street food culture since 2009. It started with just a few vendors but spread to neighbouring countries and has now reached the UK.

This modern style of ice cream, which is made fresh in front of you on freeze plates in less than two minutes, is growing in popularity with restaurants popping up in New York, London, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Now, it has taking off in Lancashire.

Becky, 32, looks after the logistics of running the business while 34-year-old Iain takes care of flavour development and experimentation. A regular brewer of real ale as well as a passionate cook, it is the alchemy side of the business that Iain relishes.

Oreo with salted caramel sauceOreo with salted caramel sauce

He loves to create new and interesting flavours and conjures up everything from classics including the popular Oreo roll as well as a gin and tonic recipe and prosecco and strawberry with popping candy. They also have seasonal recipes including mince pie and gingerbread flavours.

Despite running an ice cream business, Becky can’t eat the rolls. Within weeks of founding The Ice Alchemists the couple discovered their son has a severe dairy intolerance. The allergy is so serious that a single drop of milk on his skin would bring him out in hives. Drinking or eating something with dairy would mean emergency treatment.

‘It’s been a real rollercoaster ride with Samson’s allergies and a bit terrifying at times,’ said Becky, originally from Bolton. ‘He can end up really very poorly if he comes into contact with anything. Because I’m breastfeeding, it means I can’t eat dairy either. There are lots of family members willing to step in and try the flavours to help Iain, of course.’

Founding the Ice Alchemists has also brought a much-needed change in lifestyle for Becky who also suffers from severe joint conditions called hypermobility syndrome and fibromyalgia. Before starting the business, Becky was working in a desk job at Myerscough College. Being less mobile at work exacerbated her condition and something had to give.

‘It became really clear the way I was working just wasn’t an option for me anymore. I was in agony. I do still suffer with pain but it has improved massively since I’ve been able to be more mobile. It’s made everything much more manageable, a real breath of fresh air.’

The business has also become an extension of the sustainable way the Wood family live. Their ice cream roll machine is the most eco-friendly option available, their pots are made from compostable materials and their “plastic” spoons are made from plant-based materials. They are also researching edible spoons.

‘A lot of rolled ice cream businesses use a soft serve liquid ice cream, a bit like what’s used for Mr Whippy,’ said Becky. ‘It can contain palm oil from unsustainable sources and low-quality ingredients.

‘Our liquid base comes from real cow’s milk and we buy it just 15 minutes from where we live. We live in a very sustainable way, you’ve got to look after the planet and care for it. That why working in this way, too, was important to us.’

Despite still being in its infancy, the business has quickly grown with the couple attending food fairs, festivals and events around the country as well as being a regular feature at weddings. They have been commissioned for a private party in London later this year and now they are on the lookout for a permanent shop.

‘We can’t quite believe how well it’s all gone so far, we’re absolutely thrilled,’ said Iain, who also works in digital marketing. ‘When we’re at events it’s something that really captures people’s attention. We try to push people with their flavour choices – many people tend to go for our Oreo flavour.

‘The biggest reward though is when people try something new. They turn away from the stall as they take their first bite and then rush back to us, full of excitement when they love the taste. It’s such a good thing to see. We love it.’

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Lancashire Life