We set up Baboo Gelato because we wanted to create great ice cream using the wealth of amazing ingredients in the West Country. Six years on, and we still spend a lot of our time meeting with local farms and suppliers.
We think that our use of real ingredients sets Baboo Gelato apart. We don’t use flavourings, much to the astonishment of the big flavour houses. Instead we start with organic milk from Holy Cow in North Perrott, Somerset, and add real ingredients. For example, each July, Julian arrives from Forde Abbey with a van loaded with freshly picked strawberries, which we puree for our ever popular Strawberry Gelato.
We source a lot of fruit locally, whether it is plums from North Perrott Fruit Farm, pears from Ellwell Farm, elderflowers from the local hedgerows, damsons from our garden, blackcurrants and gooseberries from Forde Abbey. Kind supporters of Baboo drop in their excess produce. It is not only fruit that we source locally: our mint comes from Summerdown Mint in Hampshire; our salt from Dorset Sea Salt; our malt from Devon’s Otter Brewery; our cold brew coffee from Read’s Coffee in Sherborne.
There are products that we cannot get locally. But we use the same principles of trying to find the very best suppliers we can, buying direct from farms rather than use large bulk intermediaries. So our nuts come direct from farms in Piedmont, Veneto and Sicily, and our haskap berries from a farm in Poland. We really value the relationships we have with our suppliers, and believe that by working directly with the farmers we can be sure of the quality.
We care deeply about the quality of our milk. We buy a rich organic milk from Holy Cow, which has phenomenal animal welfare standards. Their robotised milking ensures the cows are not stressed as they choose their own milking time (really!), and their computerised system ensures that they are not overmilked. Their herd grazes on rich pastures of grasses, herbs and flowers. We have been horrified by the factory farming techniques that exist in the US and are moving to the UK, and we would never buy from such an operation. We believe it is important to support our dairy industry, and we pay commensurately.
Our focus on using real ingredients does increase our costs a lot, not only as real ingredients cost more than flavourings, but there is all the effort of processing, sieving, reducing, caramelising, roasting and pralining.
Because we use real ingredients, many of which are seasonal, we may run out. This is frustrating for you and for us, but we cannot help it, and we don’t want to compromise by buying Dutch strawberries in December. We hope that if we don’t have the flavour you want, you will try one of our other seasonal treats. Who knows, it could become a new favourite.
We hope you will enjoy the difference that real ingredients make to our ice cream.
It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.