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This article was published 13/11/2017 (1403 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The owner of a new premium ice cream shop in South Osborne will soon be serving scoops to people who’ve shown anything but cold comfort to his family.
Chaeban Ice Cream will open in the former, and newly redeveloped, home of Banana Boat at 390 Osborne St. at the end of November. The business is owned and operated by Joseph Chaeban and Zainab Ali.
Over the past two years, the couple has been at the centre of the South Osborne Syrian Refugee Initiative (SOSRI) as the grassroots sponsorship group rallied to bring Ali’s immediate family to Winnipeg and out of conflict zones in Syria and Lebanon.
"The whole reason I opened this business here in Winnipeg is because I love Winnipeg, especially this community," Chaeban told The Sou’wester. "If it wasn’t this location or South Osborne, I wouldn’t have opened anything."
SOSRI and community members raised well over $100,000 over two years to bring the three families and 13 people to Winnipeg and help them get settled, hosting a number of fundraisers, concerts, and meals to raise the funds along the way.
"I want to meet all those people who helped my wife’s family since we arrived here, and we started that journey two and a half years ago, this is somewhere I can always see the community and be involved," Chaeban said.
The new parlour will be serving handcrafted hard ice cream made on site with milk from local farms in Manitoba. Chaeban — who is a dairy scientist by trade and former head cheesemaker at a factory here in Winnipeg — has designed a 1,000-square-foot plant, complete with a 200-litre pasteurization vat, in the back of the shop. It’s here that premium ice cream flavours such as peanut butter honey chocolate, mint chocolate chip, beet, and maple pecan will be created. Chaeban said the minimum fat content of the ice cream he will be serving is 13 per cent and only all natural flavours and colours will be used in the products.
"We’re trying to create ice cream that’s really unique and enjoying the ice cream is more than just a normal experience," he said.
"With a lot of the flavours we make, we’re putting ricotta cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese in it to help with the flavour and texture," he explained. "With the beet ice cream, we put in sour cream so it helps mellow down that sweet taste."
A recent hit at SOSRI’s final fundraising dinner, Chaeban said his Abir Al Sham ice cream, an Arabic-inspired dessert with rosewater, blossom water, pistachios, cashews, ricotta cheese, and orchid flower roots, is hard to come by elsewhere.
"We’re trying to do the most unique flavours, the ones you can’t buy in the store and as natural as possible."
The front end of the shop, at about 1,000 square-feet, will have seating area for 30 people, coolers where people can pick up pints of ice cream, and eventually Chaeban hopes to bring in a coffee component to the store. Waffle cones will also be made in house and are included in the $6 price for a single scoop.
The new shop will also be a chance to provide employment for his newly arrived family members, Chaeban said. Ali’s sister Saada, who arrived from Lebanon this past February, will be involved in the production of the ice cream, while her son Tarek will be working the front end.
"We’re hoping once they all know a bit of English they can work here as well," he said.
Keep an eye on Chaeban Ice Cream’s Facebook, Instagram and social media feeds for an official opening date.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.