Ice cream fires my imagination – it’s an experimental cook’s dream. Cream, sugar and eggs set the stage for any flavour combos you can think upClaire Kelsey from her book Melt
I’ve been an avid fan of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium since discovering them at the Manchester Food and Drink festival in 2014. I was very much drawn in with her rather unusual combinations such as rhubarb crumble ice cream and salted caramel and peanut butter ice cream (aka the Chorlton Crack). Since then, they’ve set up shop on the first floor of Affleck’s Palace and Claire’s repertoire of creations have steadily increased and evolved with fresh inspiration and the changing of the seasons.
Here, I ask Claire Kelsey, owner of Ginger’s, a few questions about herself and her business.
From your book, Melt, I understand that you bought Ginger’s (the ice cream van) in December 2009, when did you first start trading and where was it?
I first started trading in Spring 2010. There was a lovely little shop in Chorlton called Tallulah (now closed) and she let me set up in the area outside the shop. Kendal Calling was the first festival I started trading in.
You are a food stylist before becoming an ice cream lady. Was this your first job? Do you still apply things learnt from then to now?
I trained as a chef originally but started quite late at 24. I’ve done all the food styling for my book and had to think about the presentation of the dishes available in the Affleck’s Palace shop, such as the French Elvis and the Black Forest Ghetto Sundae.
How do you choose your ingredients suppliers?
The milk and cream come from Cheshire Farms. I tend to choose ingredients from other traders I’ve met. The community within markets is really nice and we tend to trade with each other.
What was your worst kitchen disaster?
I tried to make a champagne and rose sorbet using prosecco and made 24 – 30 litres of it. It ended up tasting of just sugar and rose water as the taste of champagne was ephemeral and by one week the flavour of it was gone.
Do you cook much aside from ice cream?
There was a point where I was making so much ice cream, I forgot how to chop an onion! I’m now back into cooking and I can make a nice vegetarian lasagna and a vegetarian masala.
Ginger’s have some unique ice cream flavours where do you get your inspiration from? How often does the menu change?
I get my idea from other traders, such as Madeline Express in Yorkshire, or from people I meet. It was someone from Africa who introduced me to Ndali Vanilla and when I went to America recently, someone asked if I did pineapple and turmeric ice cream (this is now on the menu). It can be difficult selling unusual flavours, as I’ve had to explain to potential customers in the past that we don’t do sprinkles or mint chocolate ice cream.
What are some of your favourite flavours?
My favourite is the pure origins chocolate ice cream, but I also like the honey tahini and marmalade on toast.
Claire’s recipe book, Melt, can be purchased at your local bookstore at a RRP of £18.99. Helpful links below:
Header image, French Elvis and Monkey Heaven supplied by Claire Kelsey
Ginger’s have an ice cream van and a bike which visit different markets including the University of Manchester markets. They also have a shop in the centre of Manchester.
Address: 1st floor, Afflecks, Church St, Manchester, M4 1PW