Photos by Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios
Tatamagouche Ice Creamery takes flavours, and business, to the next level
Keeping up with demand is a problem for Daniel Curren’s ice cream shop. And he sees that as a very good problem to have.
“We currently have a long waiting list of stores that want to carry our pints,”
says Curren, owner of the Tatamagouche Ice Creamery. “This is an exciting time for us.”
The business opened in the summer of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. Aside from the typical complications of starting a new company, the Creamery has been growing at a rapid pace. So quickly, that Curren is now planning to build a processing plant.
The business currently leases a space in Bible Hill and they hope to break ground on the new facility in the next few months.
“It would also be a great tourist attraction,” he says, “much like Ben & Jerry’s is to Vermont or Cow’s is to P.E.I. You can come in and we’ll have windows so customers can view us making the ice cream and see how it’s done. We can explain to people how the ice cream is made and offer the full experience for customers.”
While the location of the new plant is still uncertain, Curren says he would like to see it close to Tatamagouche, which he feels is core to the company’s identity.
Curren grew up in Cole Harbour, N.S., but spent his summers at their family cottage in Malagash, near Tatamagouche.
“Tatamagouche was always just a really cool, unique place,” says Curren. “A lot of rural Nova Scotian towns have a tough time keeping residents and businesses, but Tatamagouche had the secret figured out from the beginning. To sustain a small town, you have to support the local small businesses.”
So, when Curren decided to open his ice cream shop, he felt Tatamagouche was the perfect fit. Not only would it offer support for his new company, but it also had the historic local Creamery, which had been part of the town’s identity for many years. (The Creamery was open from 1925 to 1992, producing the popular Tatamagouche butter.)
“I thought it was a cool throwback,” he says. “We even incorporated the old Creamery in our logo. It pays homage to the place and the importance of the dairy industry to the town.”
The business scoop
Although the ice cream business is relatively new for Curren, his background in finances and love of cooking have certainly made the transition easier.
Curren had spent nearly 20 years
in the investment industry — and
still maintained a job as a financial advisor until recently — but was
ready for a change.
“When I graduated high school, I was a little bit torn as to whether I should go to culinary school or business school,” he recalls. “Obviously, I went to university, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to have some sort of food business.”
He often cooked for family and friends and leaned toward more savoury cooking and baking. Ten years ago, he started to get into modernist cuisine, AKA “molecular gastronomy.”
“I liked looking at the science of cooking,” says Curren. “One of the things I ended up doing was buying a jug of liquid nitrogen to play around with and I made a batch of ice cream at home. It turned out great. I made sort of an unusual flavour and it opened my eyes to see that ice cream is really interesting.”
To aid the company’s growth, Curren also has plans to buy new equipment, such as freezer vans to offer the ice cream across the province. He currently has the scoop shop in Tatamagouche, plus pick-up locations at various markets. A new scoop shop is opening in Alderney Landing in Dartmouth this summer and plans for other locations are in the works.
Want to try a scoop of St. Patrick’s Irish Coffee? Or perhaps an Ocean Playground Sea Salted Caramel ice cream? What about something spicy, savoury or even beer flavoured?
“Your imagination is the limit on what we can do,” says Curren. “We are constantly changing the menu, keeping the classics and favourites while rolling out new flavours. We’ve never had a flavour we haven’t sold out of.”
He also plans to offer a dairy-free ice cream soon.
One of the biggest surprises for him was the fact that their basil ice cream became a cult favourite. “People love it, or they hate it,” he laughs. “If we go more than a couple weeks without it on our menu, I’m getting messages on our social media from people asking when it’s coming back.”
Curren says they have a list of about 300 flavour recipes he wants to try. So far, they’ve made about 100 of those.
And in case you’re keen to try the latest flavour as soon as possible,
they also started an ice cream of
the month club.
“Once a month we roll out limited special edition flavours that customers can order through our website. We have certain drop points and times set up so customers can choose which location is closest to them and on the day we make our deliveries, they come and pick it up and away they go.”
Ultimate Campfire S’mores Sundae
Tatamagouche Ice Creamery
• 2 scoops Tatamagouche Ice Creamery
Keji Campfire S’mores Ice Cream
• Tatamagouche Hot Fudge Sauce
• Graham cracker sauce (see below)
• Toasted marshmallows
• Graham crackers, crumbled
Graham Cracker Sauce
• 15 Graham crackers
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 stick butter, melted
Add ingredients to food processor and purée until thick but pourable.
- In your favourite ice cream bowl or sundae tulip, ladle generous spoonfuls of hot fudge sauce and graham cracker sauce, alternating with layers of ice cream and sauce.
- Top with more sauce, crumbled graham cracker and a large marshmallow (preferably freshly roasted over a big fire).