Mare Haimona-Riki and Paridhi Bakshi - Whakaata Māori
A Kiwi patisserie chef from Island Gelato Co., has developed the world’s first gelato from upcycled kumara.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
A Kiwi patisserie chef, Hannah Clarke from Island Gelato Co., has developed the world’s first gelato from upcycled kūmara and is on a mission to reduce food waste with her innovative culinary skills.
“We are taking a product that wasn’t destined for supermarkets. It wasn’t destined for export because it was too small, blemished, or too large.
“That means it might not have a home and might have to go to the landfill because nobody wants to buy it, so we are rescuing it from that step before the landfill and turning it into this artisan product.”
Clarke says she studied how kūmara reacts when it’s frozen.
“I did some research into how kūmara, once it’s frozen, changes consistency - and it’s almost custard-like, and you can roast it, so that caramelises that flavour as well.”
Difference between Gelato and ice-cream
Gelato, originating from Italy, contains less butterfat than ice cream, resulting in a denser and smoother texture. This lower fat content allows the flavours to shine through more intensely. Additionally, gelato is churned at a slower speed and incorporates less air during the freezing process, making it denser and less airy than ice cream.
Gelato is typically served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, which further enhances its flavour and provides a silkier mouthfeel. In contrast, ice cream, because of its higher butterfat content, has a richer, creamier consistency and a more indulgent taste.
Clarke has experimented with not only kūmara but many fruits and vegetables - like cucumber, rhubarb, grapefruit and a lot of berries, upcycling between 50 to 100 kg of unwanted produce per week from their Ponsonby store.
She says while they have utilised imperfect fruits in their gelato previously, this was the first time a root vegetable had been used and it required extensive trials to determine whether it was feasible.
The Island Gelato Co. chain, which was last year named one of the world’s top 25 gelato stores, was launched in 2014 on Waiheke Island by MasterChef runner-up Ana Schwarz and her partner Geoff Tippett.
The company has grown to five locations, including a new site in Auckland’s Mission Bay.
Hero image: Chef Hannah Clarke from Island Gelato Co., has developed the world’s first gelato from upcycled kūmara. Photo / Mare Haimona-Riki and Paridhi Bakshi