Ice cream by Ian, creations by Lori
He’s Ian Carandang, 31-year old modern-day sorbetero. (It’s actually pronounced “EYE-yan,” but with his permission, I call him “EE-yan.” (Old pronunciation habits die hard.) It was Ian’s seemingly innocent purchase of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at Duty Free Philippines five years ago that launched his life’s mission: better, bigger ice cream. “I had heard of Ben & Jerry’s before, but had never had the chance to try them until then. I was blown away by the names, the flavors, and the sheer sense of FUN that the ice cream was imbued with.” He talks animatedly with lots of hand movements. When you meet Ian, it’s easy to understand why the concept of “fun” in food is so attractive to him. The guy is loud and large, with an even larger sense of humor. I can’t stop laughing when I’m with him.
I once had a craving for his ice cream so compelling that I rearranged my weekend schedule just so that I could have it. Since then, I keep quarts of said ice cream stashed in my freezer. (Not a good idea when trying to keep temptation at bay). Believe you me, this man is changing the world one pint at a time.
The no-limits limitation when it came to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors appealed to the artist in Ian. Before ice cream, he was actually a member of a band called Silent Sanctuary. A relatively successful band, they released an album that was available at Tower Records and even recorded a live performance for MTV Philippines. How’s that for big, hey?
It was when Duty Free stopped selling Ben & Jerry’s that Ian was spurred to action. If he couldn’t buy Ben & Jerry’s, then he would do the next best thing: make his own. Armed with nothing but the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream recipe book and an old-fashioned churner from a US-based aunt, Ian proceeded to create his own version of the Chunky MonkeyÂ® (banana ice cream with walnuts and fudge chunks). “It was very icy. And crusty,” Ian laughs at the recollection. “I’ve come a long way since then.”
And how. His version of Chunky MonkeyÂ® which he’s renamed Banana Bonanza is hale and hearty with lots of chopped walnuts, fudge bits, and sufficient banana flavor. Ian specializes in ice cream that’s big on taste, and he doesn’t skimp on the good stuff, especially the chunks. His bestselling Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has gobs of dough as big as pebbles. Truly, this is ice cream that’s only for people who appreciate big, bold flavors and larger-than-life textures. Those whose preferences in ice cream veer towards the more delicate (dare I say ”˜plain?’) should stay away. However, for those who like the chunk more than the ice cream, here’s your holy grail. This is Ben & Jerry’s cranked up a few notches.
Other flavors in the family include the Choc-Nut Chunk; TobleroneÂ® Cheesecake with whorls of graham cracker; Mango Sans Rival, slivers of the golden fruit frolicking with cashew nuts and a wafer base (I love this one); Peanut Butter Cookie Dough which has a chocolate base; and speaking of chocolate, Ian makes a phenomenal I’m-a-gonna-smack-you-silly chocolate ice cream that he’s christened Chocoholics Anonymous: a deep midnight brown custard base with the texture of thick silk. It slithers down the hatch like chocolate syrup except that its extreme richness is goaded on by surges of chocolate nuggets and lashes of chocolate fudge. It’s a taste experience in gooey, creamy, crunchy, CHOCOLATE. You need courage to take on this mother flavor.
When it comes to ice cream, I thought that my heart beat for one and only one flavor alone: chocolate chip cookie dough. I must admit however, that I’ve met another flavor that has my heart under lock and key: Ian’s White Chocolate Macadamia. White chocolate ice cream snuggles with the Rolls Royce of all nuts, the macadamia. The interplay (foreplay? Woohoo!) of the nuts’ buttery richness canoodling with the white chocolate ice cream makes me believe that I’m eating a cold crÃ¨me Brulee. One taste craves the next, entrenching itself in my taste memory. This is ice cream that I eat and abandon myself completely to.
Are these ice cream flavors the product of an overactive imagination? Ian chuckles. “I get my ideas from basically everywhere ”“ cake shops, candy stores, magazines, and food anime like Yakitate Japan. I try to absorb everything because I never know when a neat idea might fall into place.
Every ice cream maker has chilly disappointments that he relegates to the dessert hall of shame. “I was most disappointed with Sweet Potato (kamote) ice cream.” Ian recounts. “Personally, I felt it was a tasty flavor but it might have been too unfamiliar to people. It taught me that if I’m making something new, I have to give the customer something familiar to latch onto. Additionally, my Haw Flakes ice cream ”˜Haw Delightful!’ wins the award for most inquiries and fewest actual purchases.” We guffaw at the thought.
This modern day ice cream man has big dreams for himself and the ice cream business, Sebastian’s, that he’s set up with a few business partners. Goals include a scooping station in every mall, and establishing a standard of excellence while remaining 100% Filipino. (Rock on Ian!). “Creatively however, I want to create that one unique across-the-board flavor like Cookies & Cream or Choc-Nut. If in the future I saw a flavor I invented being copied by Magnolia or some-such, I’d consider it the greatest of compliments.”
“We love Tito Ian’s ice cream!” Boo and her cousin, Josh.
Ian’s ice cream is characterized by enthralling complexity, gutsy tastes, and unusual combinations. Move over, Ben and Jerry’s. Your successor is here.
Sebastian’s Ice Cream is available at:
1595 Quezon Ave.
413-8359 / 924-0815
Sebastian’s Ice Cream Studio
Alabang Town Center
Single scoop P75, double P130
- Greenbelt 3, Makati
- Metrowalk, Ortigas
- Alabang Town Center
Shepherd’s Staff Bookshop
Mall of Asia
North Parking Bldg.
Single scoop P65, double P130
Olio Steak and Seafood Restaurant