Several weeks ago, a guy named Paul contacted me and asked if I would like to review his homemade ice cream on my blog. He offered to deliver the ice cream to my house.
Did you hear that? A complete stranger offered to deliver me free ice cream. Free ice cream! Surely, I have now reached pinnacle of my blogging career. I mean…FREE ICE CREAM.
After a few milliseconds of serious consideration, I accepted.
Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream. Delivered to my house.
Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream has an interesting story. Paul, who is in his early twenties, started making ice cream a couple of years ago when his mother gave him an ice cream machine as a present. He soon began giving his ice cream as gifts to friends and family, then started advertising it on social media. Paul’s ice cream has now become the hottest dessert in town, sold in several hip cafés and stores around Joburg.
Paul is half American and spent his childhood summers in New York City. He loved New York’s gourmet ice cream culture and wondered why such a culture does not exist in Joburg.
I’ve often wondered the same thing. Joburg has the perfect climate for ice cream, and yet the good stuff is hard to come by. Cheap soft-serve is ubiquitous, and fro-yo (that’s trendy for frozen yogurt) has recently become the rage. But with the exception of a few Häagen-Dazs stands in the fancy malls, high-quality ice cream is scarce. (Trieste Café in Greenside is a notable exception. Trieste makes its own gelato and it’s delicious.)
Paul has made it his mission to create a Joburg ice cream culture. He seems to be succeeding. Wolves, Love Food, Warm & Glad, Park Café, Burnsides Café, and Thrupps are all stocking Paul’s unique ice cream flavour combinations.
Paul’s “cereal milk” ice cream at Warm & Glad in Craighall.
Anyway, Paul delivered three containers of ice cream to my house. Despite my glorious visions of ginormous gallon tubs, Paul’s ice cream cups are small — he sells in single-sized portions. This is probably for the best, as Paul’s ice cream is rich and not meant to be consumed in large quantities.
I received three flavors: peppermint crisp, peppermint crisp tart, and white chocolate honeycomb. My friend Annette ate the peppermint crisp, Lucky tried the white chocolate honeycomb, and I sampled the peppermint crisp tart.
Peppermint crisp tart: a combination of the Peppermint Crisp candy bar and South African milk tart.
I loved the peppermint crisp tart and Annette raved about the peppermint crisp. (Although Annette couldn’t finish hers because it was too rich. I did not have that problem.) Lucky enjoyed the white chocolate honeycomb although he said it was a bit too sweet for his taste.
The ice-cream-tasting was great and I was enamoured with the interesting flavors. But eating Paul’s ice cream in my house just didn’t seem interesting enough for a blog post. I needed more.
I knew from following Paul on Instagram that he sells ice cream and waffles at Father Coffee — the hippest coffee shop in Joburg — every Saturday. You can get a waffle, a scoop of ice cream, and a cup of coffee for R60 ($6). Paul’s ice cream on a waffle sounded like a combination that can’t go wrong, especially when combined with a Father Coffee americano.
I finally had a free Saturday morning this past weekend so I went to try it out.
Paul Ballen serving up waffles and ice cream at Father Coffee. Like Father Coffee and all of its customers and staff, Paul is very hip. It’s a perfect partnership.
I met my friends Tim and Charles at Father. We staked out a spot on the bench outside and ordered up.
Waffle with Madagascan vanilla and granadilla ice cream, topped with salted caramel sauce. I was lucky to get this picture before the food disappeared.
Tim and Charles both ordered their waffles with Madagascan vanilla and granadilla ice cream. They received their plates before I did. In the blink of an eye, before I’d even started, Tim’s plate was empty.
I ordered my waffle topped with peanut butter and chocolate chunk ice cream. I was overjoyed about this. Peanut butter and chocolate, which every American knows is the most perfect flavor combination on earth, is surprisingly uncommon in South Africa.
Waffle with Paul’s peanut butter and chocolate chunk ice cream. De Beer Street, the hippest street in Braamfontein, is in the background.
I won’t wax lyrical about what this meal (accompanied by a Father Coffee americano — not shown) tasted like. I think the photo speaks for itself. But it was the best breakfast I can recall eating in Joburg.
Full disclosure: I didn’t actually spend R60 because Paul comped me. (Free ice cream AND waffles. Blogging pinnacle, I tell you.) But if I had, it would have been the best R60 I’ve ever spent on breakfast. Or lunch, for that matter. Maybe even dinner. Go try it.
In addition to selling ice cream at local restaurants and stores, and at Father Coffee all day on Saturdays, Paul also sells at various markets and special events around town. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.