HOW WE MAKE OUR ICE CREAM

A few months back, we wrote a blog post on how we make our butter. We know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats waiting for the ice cream edition. Well, we like making dreams come true over here at Foothills Creamery, so here it is!

If you’re not familiar with food science, some of the terms can get a little confusing and bring you back to those dreaded school days. Therefore, we’ve tried to make it easy as possible to understand!

The ice cream process actually starts when we make butter. A key ingredient for ice cream is buttermilk, which we collect and store in a silo for ice cream use.

To begin, we make the ice cream mix. Bart, our ice cream maker, pumps pasteurized cream and the buttermilk into a 6500kg vat in the blend room. He checks the fat ratio – our ice cream is 12 per cent fat – and if it’s accurate, he begins adding the powder ingredients, such as sugar, skim milk, and stabilizer.

The mix is then heat treated in another vat and run through a homogenizer. From there, the mix is sent to the cooling press where it is cooled down and pumped to a storage tank.

The mix is stored overnight in a storage tank until next morning, and then pumped into our flavour vats (1800L). From there, it goes into the ice cream machine where it is frozen. At this stage, the texture will be like soft serve. While being frozen, the machine pumps air into the mixture, making it 50 per cent ice cream and 50 per cent air. This is how we achieve our fluffy texture!

The machine then adds in any additional ingredients required by the flavour. Today, we added a chocolate ribbon which is fed through a variegator and cookie dough pieces which is added through a fruit feeder. Can you guess which flavour we’re making? From there, the mix is pumped into an 11.4L tub, weighed, and sent to the freezer for the hardening process.

Each tub is loaded onto a pallet and transported to the blast freezer, which is around negative 35 to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We use a blast freezer because the faster we harden our ice cream, the better the quality is. If the ice cream takes too long to freeze, ice crystals will start to form.

Finally, once the ice cream has been frozen completely, it’s shipped out to our lovely customers!

And that’s all of it! If you want to know more about our ice cream making process, please let us know.

FOOTHILLS CREAMERY ROAD TRIP

On August 1st, Foothills Creamery set out on a road trip across British Columbia. Our customers are what matters most to us and so we wanted to come say hi and update them on what we’ve been doing lately! We packed up our gear, #DonnyTheTravellingCone, and headed out West.

Our first stop was the Goodies Candy Shop in Lake Louise. We arrived at the perfect time as the park was just opening and there were only a few visitors. The shop is located on the lower floor of the Fairmont Chateau. It’s pretty tiny so you may miss it, but just look for our Foothills Creamery sign! Inside, you’ll find bright green walls covered in jars of candy and treats! We said hello and grabbed a cone to go before heading off to the next stop!

Next, we arrived at Canyon Hot Springs. The resort is located in Revelstoke, BC, right in the heart of the mountains!  Again, you may miss this one, but there’s a BIG sign... you might just have to make a screeching last minute turn. Here we toured the hot springs, took some awesome pictures with #DonnyTheTravellingCone and then headed out again! We definitely wished we could have stayed longer to take a dip in the hot springs!

Our third and fourth stops of the day were in Salmon Arm, BC. We stopped by The Shack Ice Cream Shoppe, which is located just off a street corner in town. When you walk up, you’ll find the shop’s door is wide open and outside on the patio are plenty of families eating ice cream together. We chatted a while with the staff and even got them posing for some pictures! Promise us you’ll check these guys out if you’re ever in Salmon Arm!

Just a few blocks down, we stopped at The Candy Vault on Hudson. Boy is this place ever cool! With an exterior straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it draws you in immediately. Once you get inside, you’ll see the walls are tiled with jars of candy, chocolates, mints, and lollipops. However, the best part is hiding in the back, where you’ll find an original bank vault from Nova Scotia Bank, dating back to the 1950’s! Inside, they store their candy and Foothills Creamery ice cream.

Next up on the road trip was Moo-Lix in Kelowna. Located just steps from the beach, you couldn’t find a better place to get ice cream! The shop is bright and colorful, and the smell is AMAZING. They make their waffle cones fresh in house every day. They even serve up Foothills Creamery ice cream in waffle bowls!  If you plan on visiting here, don’t be deterred by the line out the door – it’s worth the wait.

After Moo-Lix, we took off towards Kettle Valley Coffee & Scoops, which is also in Kelowna. If you want a quaint neighborhood coffee shop that’s good for kids, this is the place. Here they have ice cream, coffee, snacks, board games and even a play area!

After Kelowna, we were off to Penticton. Despite the smoky skies, it was still a beautiful drive. We checked out the local shops and took some pictures along the beach. #DonnyTheTravellingCone really enjoyed Penticton!

Following Penticton, we had a long drive ahead of us. #DonnyTheTravellingCone loved the countryside views. Our first stop was Kettle River Woodcraft in Rock Creek! We enjoyed chatting with the workers and checking out their adorable shop. Not only do they serve our delicious ice cream, but they sell hand built unique furniture using reclaimed wood! It’s a wonderful place to stop at while on a family road trip.

Next up was My Udder Store in Greenwood! They were our very first customer when we opened up our warehouse in Kelowna. Since it’s located in the smallest incorporated city in Canada, it’s a great attraction for those that want to get away from it all. They sell 24 of our flavors so you shouldn’t have trouble deciding which one to get ;) After grabbing a cone, be sure to walk around the tiny town, they have some really unique architecture worth seeing!

For our next stop, we took a trip back to the 50’s! The Ice Creamery in Christina Lake is a retro styled diner with over 40 of our flavours! Inside you’ll see the walls decked out with vintage memorabilia, checkered floor tiles and red cushioned seating. The Ice Creamery is the perfect photo op for any savvy Instagrammer. We may have stayed here a little longer just to take pictures.

Next, we drove out to Creston to visit our friends at Happy Trails Ice Cream Parlour! Another shop that will transport you back in time. Here we came across some kids who eagerly asked us to take their picture while eating ice cream! Happy Trails uses our waffle mix to make their waffle cones in house. The retro décor combined with the amazing smell is reason enough to stop by here multiple times a day.

Following Happy Trails, we headed out to one of our newer customers, Two Scoop Steve in Yahk. After buying out the shop, the new owners have been killing it this summer! You definitely won’t find this place empty. Thankfully, they offer plenty of seating outside for families. If you’re driving down the highway, you won’t miss this place!

Last but not least, we made our final stop at The Scoopin’ Moose in Canmore, Alberta. You can’t get more Canadian than this place. Again, you walk in and you can smell the amazing scent of waffle cones being made. You’ll also find an adorable stuffed moose perched in the corner! Before we left, we got a celebratory scoop of our All Canadian Moose to finish off the trip!

It was so great travelling through BC and visiting our customers. What’s better than meeting new people and sharing in the joy of ice cream? We wished we could have visited everyone but we and #DonnyTheTravellingCone hope to visit more customers soon!

CANADA DAY: ICE CREAM SANDWICH CAKE

Canada Day is just around the corner and this year it's a big one. So to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, we whipped up an exciting ice cream sandwich cake recipe! Yes, it's a real thing!

Not only does it taste delicious with our Vanilla and Red Velvet ice cream, but it literally looks like a giant ice cream sandwich. 

Ingredients: 

- Foothills Creamery Vanilla and Red Velvet ice cream

- 6 eggs

- 2 cups water

- 2/3 cup vegetable oil

- 2 Chocolate cake mixes

- Red icing (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cover a 13x9 inch (or smaller) glass baking tray with plastic wrap and fill with ice cream scoops. Smooth out ice cream with a spatula until it's even. Cover ice cream with plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 13x9 inch pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable and 1 cake mix for the first cake layer. Beat on low for 30 seconds and then on high for 2 minutes until soft. Repeat for second cake layer. Pour or spoon batter into prepared pans. 
  4. In preheated oven, bake each for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when you stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  5. Once cooled, flip one cake over and poke with a straw to create ice cream sandwich design.
  6. Remove frozen ice cream from tray and place it on top of the bottom cake layer. For optional fun, draw the Canadian maple leaf with red icing. Place second cake layer on top and freeze for one hour.
  7. Enjoy!

HAPPY CANADA DAY! 

 

WHY WE STARTED OFFERING LACTOSE FREE ICE CREAM

According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 7 million Canadians suffer from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a component of milk and other dairy products, and the foundation of all ice cream products.

Many sufferers steer clear of certain foods such as ice cream to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms. Foothills Creamery wanted everyone to be able to enjoy our delicious ice cream, so we knew it was time to innovate!

Foothills Creamery now adds an enzyme to the ice cream mix that breaks down the lactose, enabling worry free digestion from sufferers!

Lactose free is also a better tasting option than dairy free, as the flavour remains the same without needing a dairy substitute like soy or almond milk. This enables us to maintain that rich, creamy flavour Foothills Creamery is known for!

Our current lactose free flavours are Oh Macaroon and Strawberry Sensation!

LILAC FESTIVAL 2017

What a great weekend! On Sunday, June 4, Foothills Creamery made its debut at the Lilac Festival in Calgary! The day was a huge success and exceeded all of our expectations! We raised over $800 for charity, went through 49 tubs of ice cream, and served ice cream to over 6,200 people.

Highlights from the day:

We decided to come out to the Lilac Festival this year so we could meet our incredible community and fellow ice cream lovers. To say the least, we were graciously greeted by so many friendly faces - and their pets! It was a blast interacting with our vibrant city.

If you haven’t already heard, we launched seven new flavours this year. With those, we decided to partner up with Make A Wish Foundation, Canadian Red Cross, and 4H Canada to donate $3 from every tub sold of our brand new Shark Attack, Tropical Snap Soda, Just Peachy, and Crème Brûlée.

For the Lilac Festival, we wanted to give away free samples while still raising money for our partner charities. So, we welcomed donations and amazingly, our community was extremely generous and donated over $800! It was incredible to see such a large outpouring from the community.

Not only was it a good day for fundraising, but also a great chance to launch two of our new flavours, Shark Attack and Oh Macaroon. We ran out of Oh Macaroon pretty fast once people realized it was lactose free ;)

To start the day off, we were a little nervous about the weather. Leading up to the event, there was a 40 to 60 per cent chance of rain. By 10 a.m., as the festival began, the clouds were still lingering around teasing us with the possibility of rainfall. Fortunately, the clouds cleared and it was BEAUTIFUL the rest of the day.

The soundtrack of the day rang with “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s” as everyone tasted our free samples. So many people were intrigued by our unique flavours such as Caramel Candy Apple and Blast Off. We gave away sunglasses and beach balls, and even ran a contest to win a Stampede Superpass, which we are eager to reveal!

Since it was our first time at Lilac, we really underestimated ourselves. Many of us weren’t sure how busy we would be and even expected some lull periods - boy were we wrong.

The line was NON-STOP. There wasn’t even time for more than one of us to take a bathroom break. We aren’t complaining, it was great meeting and interacting with all the people! We would do it all over again right now if we could :)

All in all, Lilac Festival 2017 was a great success. We hope to see you there next year!

 

 

EVER WONDERED HOW A NEW ICE CREAM FLAVOUR IS CREATED?

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This year at Foothills Creamery, we are releasing a record seven new flavours. Usually, we only launch four a year, but we just couldn't help ourselves.

The new flavours coming your way are Shark Attack, Tropical Snap Soda, Just Peachy, Crème Brûlée, Cinnamon Twist, and our two lactose-free options, Oh Macaroon and Strawberry Sensation. 

There is a lot of time and effort that goes into making a brand new flavor. Aside from actually eating the ice cream, the creation process is half the fun!

In the fall of each year, our management team holds their annual general meeting. During this meeting, the team sits at a round table and conducts a taste test of all the supplier's submissions. Foothills Creamery requires that all submissions include at least one "kid friendly" flavour.

Following each taste test, the team member records their rating out of 10 and their comments.

If a flavour doesn't taste that great, but the team thinks the ingredients would work really well with another concept, they may combine submissions.

From there, our production planner will take all of the flavour ratings and average out the top four. They will then call the suppliers and ask for the minimum order for ingredients - this is the biggest factor in deciding a new flavour. For instance, one flavour got scrapped because the minimum order of one of its key ingredients would last for almost three years, which is way too risky for a brand new flavour. Our production planner will look for alternative ingredients if this is the case. Most of the time, Foothills already has a lot of the ingredients required.

If all goes well and we can order a suitable amount of ingredients for the trial run, the flavour moves forward. It must then pass a series of nutritional and quality assurance tests before the flavour is finalized.

And last but not least, picking the name – this is easily the most fun part of it all. Here at Foothills, we like to put our own creative spin on our flavours. Most often, we hold contests among employees to see who can create the best name. For example, our brand new flavour, Tropical Snap Soda, was named by our production planner’s daughter!

We take pride in the hard work that goes into creating a new flavour. With every creation, our customers can expect simply the best!

STRAWBERRY SORBET BELLINIS

We hope everyone is having a good week so far! May Long Weekend is almost here and we stumbled across the perfect drink to help you wind down... but with a Foothills Creamery twist ;)

The food blog, Recipe Runner, created a super easy and tasty recipe for Bellinis, which you can find here.

It only calls for three ingredients, one of which we've substituted for our own delicious Strawberry Sorbet!

Ingredients:

- 1 bottle Pink Moscato, Prosecco, or Champagne, chilled

- 1 pint Foothills Creamery Strawberry Sorbet

- 1/2 pint fresh raspberries or strawberries

Instructions:

  1. Place 1-2 small scoops of Foothills Creamery Strawberry Sorbet in the bottom of each Champagne flute.
  2. Carefully pour the Pink Moscato over the top of the sorbet.
  3. Top each drink off with 2-3 fresh raspberries or strawberries and serve.

HOW IT'S MADE: FOOTHILLS CREAMERY BUTTER

Ah, butter. Butter is that simple yet savory ingredient that most recipes call for. Traditional butter has now expanded to unsalted butter, garlic butter, and whey butter. Butter is quite prevalent in most of our diets, but have you ever wondered how it's made? Here is a behind the scenes look into how Foothills Creamery makes their butter – from pasteurization, all the way to your kitchen table.

Firstly, cream is received in a tanker, which can hold up to 28,000 litres of cream. The cream is then run through what is called an HTST (high temperature short time) for pasteurizing. Like the title suggests, the cream is heated at a high temperature of 181 degrees Fahrenheit and held for the short time of 34 seconds. The cream then comes out extremely hot and goes through the plate exchanger, in which one side has warm cream and one side has cool cream. Finally, the cream is cooled to a refrigerated temperature using ice water and is ready for the silo.

The cream is pumped into the silo, where it is stored for approximately four to six hours. The silo is insulated so that even though its container extends outside the plant, the exterior temperature won’t affect the cream.

The cream must be stored here before churning because it holds latent heat. If they began churning right after the HTST process, the butter would either be very sticky or wouldn’t break at all.

Usually by the next day, the butter maker will pump the cream into the butter churn. (Fun fact: one of the two churns in our plant is the original churn that our president, Don Bayrack, bought from Swift & Company back in 1969!)

Next, the butter maker fills the churn about half way, which holds approximately 1600-1800 kilograms of cream. While churning, the fat is separated, and then the buttermilk is drained for resale or ice cream production. The cream is then rinsed down to drain any excess buttermilk. It is continually worked and then salt is added for flavour. For salted butter, 1.6% of the mixture is salt and 17.8% is moisture. Here at Foothills Creamery, we also make ‘Lightly Salted’ and ‘Unsalted Butter.’ The entire churning process takes about 50 minutes before the fresh butter is transferred into the butter tray.

From the butter tray, it goes into the butter boat. The butter boat has augers that push the butter towards the centre into a pump. The butter is then sent to wherever it needs to go: the butter patty machine, print machine, cup machine, etc.

From there onward, the butter is packaged and distributed.