Lick me like I do … La Ibense Salou ice cream
”Well, that’s gonna be a challenge trying to look professional and not to put all my fingers into the freezer to taste all the flavours I can …” I said out loud.
Ice cream. Let’s make out.
Important steps to make ice cream:
1. Know the ingredients you put inside
Ice cream consists of 60% liquid part and 40% solid part. Each fruit consists of different amount of water and sugar and you need to know the exact amount of both. Ice cream is served at -16 to -18 Celsius degrees so you need to know very well how much water to add to each ice cream flavor.
Anyone could make ice cream, it’s very easy. But it is important what you put inside which is what makes a difference.
2. Mix the right ingredients
Cream, water, powder milk and stabilizers are put into machines and then heated up to 85 Celsius degrees to kill all the bacterias inside. Then another machine pushes it all together so we don’t find any sugar parts standing out when eating (they are separated from the ice cream mass during the process.) Remember that ice cream sold in supermarkets have a lot of grease and stabilizers, you get a waxy sensation when you eat it.
Then again you freeze the ice cream quickly to 5 Celsius degrees so the bacterias won’t appear there again.
Other things you need to have in mind:
- Stabilizers are used because they put together all the ingredients. In La Ibense Salou ice cream they use gluten-free natural plant stabilizer – algaroba carob powder.
- Three types of sugars are used. Each one of them freezes at different temperature which is one of the reasons that complicates the ice cream making process.
- Hotels have different temperature in their freezers so at La Ibense they have to adapt ice cream using different sugars and remembering the exact freezing points of each one of them.
- You have to consider as well what their clients need so they ask all the hotels they are working with to know what they are really looking for.
3. Add air to ice cream
The following step is to let the ice cream mix rest for at least 5 hours while moving it constantly. Ice cream needs air which is gotten when waiting. Some ingredients attract more air than others. So you need to know how much air to put depending on the amount of the ice cream there.
You need to have air to make ice cream but you cannot just inject it. The machine that does it looks like a a washing machine with a knife which gets rid of liquid.
Once Raquel explained us what the different machines do, it was time for our quetions to find out more.
”So why do you think La Ibense Salou ice cream is different?” one of us asked.
“Here we don’t sell ice cream. Here we sell emotions. What you are eating and smelling, is what you will always remember.” Raquel continued.
La Ibense Salou ice cream have been here for over 55 years for 5 generations so obviously, the emotions they are trying to sell, do sell.
”The most popular flavours are of course strawberry, chocolate and banana. However, in one summer season we make more than 200 flavors and can really make ice cream of anything, even bacon or shrimps.” Rerger laughed.
Raquel confirmed that even the chocolate ice cream lovers want to see some variety. Like which chocolate chips, orreo, cookies or something else added. I nodded.
Oh yes, chocolate ice cream has been my favorite one since I was a kid.
“I have to tell you something. We couldn’t handle the fact that children would leave without eating ice cream if they had allergies. And for that reason we even make gluten-free, vegan, vegetable, egg-free, sugar-free ice cream.”
Trying to be a vegan, I asked about vegan ice cream when my colleagues were tasting stracciatella Raquel just finished making.
Sorbet ice cream has no cow milk but vegetable/rice milk or water instead. Soy milk is not used at La Ibense because it has a strong flavor which children don’t like and also many are even allergic to it (and soy is mostly GMO, I added.)
“Not just the flavour but also the appearance of ice cream is important. It’s like with people. You can be a nice person but if you walk with messy hair and you are dirty, people will judge you by your appearance.”
At La Ibense Salou ice cream they don’t only sell ice cream heaven, but also make granizado de limon, which is something like lemon water ice made of water, sugar and fresh lemon juice. As part of our workshop, we could also have a brief look at how they make it.
What makes it difficult is the fact that there is one employee who only peels lemons by hands for granizado de limon as no tetrapack juice is used here. Unlike to make ice cream, no air is needed to make granizado. You just have to freeze it and serve.
In summer one La Ibense Salou ice cream shop makes up to 200 liters of granizado de limon per day.
- One person spends 6 to 8 hours just peeling lemons per day!
- Once made, you need to move granizado every 10 minutes.
- No citric acid is used which makes you cough (in some ice cream shops they use it but it is very easy to find out.)
Then we had an interesting discussion about natural vs. chemical ingredients.
“Why wouldn’t you make it natural if you can? The more natural, the better; we believe.” Raquel put my words into her mouth.
- Yellow natural color is added to granizado because otherwise people think it’s just ice and they wouldn’t buy it. Raquel wishes she didn’t have to put any natural coloring inside.
- The same goes with ice cream. Not every day strawberries have the same red color so you need to use red color to make it look always the same.
Now the law says that you have to state officially with a label if you use unnatural colorants as they could make children hyper-sensitive.
”We prefer our quality. For example, pistachio flavor was of less quality than we would like to so for certain time we didn’t make it. One kilogram of pistachio ice cream costs 75 euros to make only so you lose money in the process. However, you can compensate with some other flavors which are cheaper to make.”
At La Ibense they work with the most natural ingredients. Not doing so would save them a lot of money but apparently, they are not willing to sacrifice that.
”We get lemons from local producers and not supermarkets so they can still survive doing what they love doing.”
Both the season of the year and the exact moment when you eat ice cream is important.
- In winter they add heating ingredients. Many people tend to choose greasy fatty ice cream in winter so it doesn’t make you feel so cold.
- Ice cream eaten in between meals should be less sugary and sweeter served as a dessert. E.g. lemon ice cream is recommended for between fish and meat, otherwise it would destroy your taste buds.
You know what they say… if your dreams don’t scare you enough, they are not big enough… And Raquel knows it perfectly.
“One of my personal goals is to deliver you any ice cream you desire within 24 hours. Any.” Raquel made us all laugh.
Is making good ice cream an ideal job?
Raquel starts working at 5.30 am in summer and finishes at 9 pm. Renger, the Dutch part of family who was translating to English, works since 7.30 am sometimes to 3 am. Ideal? By no chance!
But it would be ideal to eat ice cream every day, right? Me and Travis both nodded. hell yeah! 😀
But Renger disagreed. He eats less ice cream now than before. ”When you work with ice cream, you have to try it at least 2 or 3 times per day so then you don’t feel like eating any more.”
It costs 16 euros per 1 kg of gourmet ice cream here. La Ibense is definitely not the cheapest ice cream shop in Salou but people are willing to pay for the quality they get.
“You cannot love what you don’t know well. Ice cream is my baby. I truly love what I do. And you know how it is… You want to take care of your baby and not to send it anywhere. Using any ingredients to make ice cream would be like sending your child to an unknown destination.” Raquel made an impression on me once again with this heartwarming sentence.
Como no sabia que era imposible, lo hizo.Because he did not know it was impossible, he did it.
Yeah, ice cream.
”It’s not ice cream that makes you fat, it’s your body that gets fat :)”