KOCHI: For Ranjini Balakrishnan, the best time to eat ice-cream is all day. “Unlike other desserts, ice-cream is probably the only one that is consumed with childlike joy. Therefore, we wanted our brand and what we create, to be pure and innocent,” she smiles. Her brand, MeltU, at Kadavanthra, recently unveiled artisanal ice-cream flavours that are unique to Kochiites. Occasionally helped by her husband, Salil Babu, Ranjini’s ice-creams solely focus on natural and organic ingredients.
“We used to travel around for work. During these, we realised the clear difference in the quality and taste of the ice-creams produced outside the country. Ranjini loves ice-creams and we had been toying with the idea of starting a culinary venture. Back in 2014, Kochi didn’t have as many ice-cream parlours like today. But we didn’t pursue the same. Around 2018, we decided to go for it,” says Salil.
The genuine trigger was another factor for Ranjini. “I would wonder why the ice-cream doesn’t melt. Both of us started analysing the subject (Ice-cream is science) and discovered several chemicals, stabilisers and emulsifiers that did the trick,” she says. It is one of the most adulterated food products, interjects Salil. Ranjini nods and continues: “This made us want to find suppliers to source the natural product and inculcate the same into our ice-creams. As a result, our ice-creams are usually cream, brown or white, except for the fruit sorbet. They may lack colour but they are rich in quality.” Depending on the flavour, these organic ice-creams last three to five days.
Going au naturale isn’t the only USP of MeltU. Its extraordinary flavours add to it. I spot a ‘Lavender’ which is true to its name and makes you feel real pretty upon tasting, S’mores which combines coco solids, marshmallow fluff and choco fudge, and a Pound Cake and Choco Caramel Swirl. Pound cake? “It’s inspired from the same available in the UK,” Ranjini quips.
And how right is she. Even the humble Vanilla (‘Vanilla Bean Overloaded’) tastes nothing like the flavour we have been accustomed to. “We source vanilla pods for the flavour and stay true to it, sans other elements,” says Salil. The Filter Coffee Caramel, Rich Roasted Pista, Cinnamon Cake and Apple Sauce, and Dark Chocolate make you feel like you’re indeed destined for the finer things in life
Through their venture, the couple has realised what Kochiites want. “Complex flavours.
The only classic flavour we retained was vanilla. (Because it is holy, interrupts Ranjini). People are on the lookout for unique flavours and we intend to create what they want,” says Salil. MeltU currently serves 14 flavours and three types of ice-cream cones but they are ever-a-changing. “We have categorised our flavours. There’s timeless, which includes vanilla and an ‘around the world’ one which comprises pound cake, s’mores (USA) and French cream,” says Ranjini.
Though the MeltU menu loves its ice-creams, it also pays attention to cold beverages such as milkshakes and hot beverages comprising exotic black and green teas. “As we advocate for natural ingredients, we also intend to use our platform to educate customers. Also, in line with our motto, our containers are plant-residue-based ones. You might think the container doesn’t flatter the ice-cream but it is true to the soul of MeltU “ Ranjini adds. The cold never bothered them, anyway.