The Blissful Story Creamery: Slow-Churned Ice Cream a Labor of LoveFebruary 6, 2017
Joan Cruel didn’t think that the gift of a hand-crank ice cream maker from one of her neighbors in the food destination of Kapitolyo would be the fountainhead of a home business. With a background in visual arts (she is a visual effects producer, 3D animator and graphic designer), Cruel had previously only considered cooking and baking as hobbies, crediting YouTube as her official culinary school. “When our first son came,” Cruel explains, “it was natural for us to eat out less and to cook for the family. Home-cooking became our modest attempt to show our sons that cooking is a family event that we can share in our kitchen.”
Thanks to the encouragement and support of family and friends, Joan and Desmond Cruel decided to share what grew into a shared family obsession of making ice cream with others by starting The Blissful Story Creamery. Joan tells us that though she hasn’t been in the advertising business since her first son was born, her background in it helps the married couple market their products: Joan creates the labels and posters, while Desmond creates the website and do copy for the online channels.
With their two sons as their cheerleaders and taste-testers (though she admits the eldest only likes the Dark Trinitario Chocolate right now, while her toddler loves all their flavors), they began to innovate unexpected flavors like Sweet Corn Fudge and Mango Sauvignon Blanc using only the freshest natural ingredients, locally sourced eggs, and butterfat from local carabao milk.
“Not having any formal culinary sort of brings out an intuitive feel [for] what goes together in terms of flavor and taste. Between us, its my husband who’s into more of these pairings,” she says, as she proclaims him the mastermind behind their alcohol-infused line of ice cream including Strawberry Rose (with a Tequila Rose base) and Bourbon Coffee (with a Jim Beam base). “It’s knowing each ingredient and their distinct flavor profile. We did a lot of trial-and-error at the start, but like learning a new language, once you get the basics, you’ll be able to make your own sentences.”
By word-of-mouth, the Cruels’ home business has grown more than they ever dreamed of in the span of the one year they have been operating. Now, they are in the process of navigating a balance between meeting their orders while creating ice cream through slow-churning in a small home ice cream maker, a small upgrade for the handcrafters to keep up with demands. The process of slow-churning requires right timing: if it is done too slowly the ice cream will turn out heavy and thick, while too quickly results in ice cream that is thin and airy.
Joan admits that slow-churning is a time consuming process, but it is worth it for the the significantly exceptional texture of their ice cream. Also a difficult task for the homemaker is creating and extracting flavors from scratch, and she tells us that the seasonal Sweet Corn Fudge is the most work-intensive as they have to remove the corn from the cob patiently by hand.
But honesty is the value that drives their brand, and they would not want to make their products any other way. The Blissful Story Creamery boasts top-notch quality, with no food coloring, artificial flavoring, emulsifiers, thickeners, fillers or stabilizers. Using carabao milk, which has higher fat content than cow’s milk, their ice cream offers creamier, richer texture to commercial ice cream using cow’s milk-based dairy. With the hearts for artistry, Joan and Desmond patiently create artisanal honest-to-goodness products that they themselves love to eat and are endlessly proud of.
Joan and Desmond Cruel created The Blissful Story Creamery as an ode to their sons; its name is derived from moments the family has shared over their favorite books like Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. Their homemade, small-batch ice cream is not only freshly made and slow-churned but also hand-packed and personally labeled by the couple themselves, who run the business without any assistance. And it is their pleasure to create their sweet gift with the rest of Manila.
The Blissful Story Creamery
The Blissful Story Creamery offers hand-churned ice cream made from scratch using locally sourced eggs and carabao milk.