Ice cream of the crop
Chaeban Ice Cream garners national recognition
I scream, you scream, all of Canada screams for Chaeban Ice Cream. The Manitoban creamery located at 390 Osborne St. was crowned grand champion at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Ont., for its salted caramel ice cream, called Salty Carl. The fair is usually held in November, but some of its prestigious food competitions were moved to June this year.
As grand champion, Chaeban gets to claim the honour of producing Canada’s best ice cream.
“It’s a dream to put all your hard work into something and get acknowledged for it. We always buy the best ingredients. We don’t take any shortcuts,” said Joseph Chaeban, a dairy scientist and co-owner of the business.
To enter, the creamery packaged up five of its ice creams in dry ice, covered the labels so judges could do blind taste tests, and sent them off to Toronto.
One of the things that give Chaeban Ice Cream its deep, rich flavours, Joseph said, is a minimum three-day process, including aging and freezing, for all flavours.
Chaeban also credited his other partners, including his wife and staff, for the company’s success.
“Each one of us contributes to the company in different ways. We come in as a team and we have great leadership and great staff around us — great people working with us,” he said. “It’s like a big family that we have here.”
Co-owner Zainab Ali is married to Chaeban. She dreams up many of the flavours that fill Chaeban Ice Cream jars. There’s ice creams such as Mustang Sally, made with white chocolate and De Luca’s coffee beans, or Rocky Ricardo, the rocky road ice cream that won first place in the agricultural fair’s “chocolate with inclusions” category.
Days after winning top prize in two of four categories, including that of the grand champion, Ali was still wrapping her head around what happened.
“When I think about it, I’m telling myself, they picked this one as best in Canada — not just Winnipeg, but all of Canada? It’s still shocking for me, but it’s a very amazing feeling,” she said.
Ali said it was particularly gratifying to see the salted caramel ice cream win, because it’s likely the most difficult product they make.
“We make each day 100 to 200 litres of caramel, and we have to leave it for the next day,” she said.
As word of the creamery’s win spreads, those quantities may jump even higher. Customers since been streaming into the store, eager to try the competition winner. The owners said they knew the uptick is because of the competition win because many congratulate them on the honour before gobbling up a few scoops of the icy treat.
While the judges may have picked Salty Carl as they’re favourite, Ali seemed unable to choose like a mother between her children.
“Honestly, they’re all my favourite,” she said. “Every flavour is made different. Every one has its own spot in my heart.”
Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at email@example.com or call him at 204-697-7206.