Occasionally, an email will appear in my inbox that will quite simply light up my day...
I have to admit, it doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, you can guarantee I’ll be sitting at my desk (aka the kitchen table) with a big Cheshire cat grin on my face. “What sort of email?” I can hear you asking… Well, I’ll give you the perfect example. Recently, I was typing away when a familiar ‘ping’ alerted me to the fact that I had mail. I duly opened up my inbox to see an invitation for me and the kids to visit Jude’s ice cream factory in Hampshire. Well, need I say any more? Of course, I said ‘yes’ and of course that email made my day…if not my year!
So, fast forward a week or so and my children and I found ourselves at the gates of Jude’s Ice cream factory in Hampshire – remember Charlie Bucket standing outside the gates to Wonka’s chocolate factory, that look of pure euphoria on his little face? Well, that’s pretty much sums us how we all felt. Yep, it's fair to say, my children were buzzing with excitement, and I was trying (and failing miserably!) to act the mature, reserved adult. You see, if you’re familiar with Jude’s ice cream, you’ll understand why we were quite.so.excited about our tour of the factory – after all, these are the guys who brought Salted Caramel to our shores; this is the team behind Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple, Black Coconut and Honey and Toasted Almond…oh yes, we’re talking ice cream aficionados here!
With blue hair nets firmly in place, the chiller doors opened and the kids and I stepped into the freezer of dreams. We visited on a day when the shiny silver machines were churning out Caramel Pecan ice cream, the sweet-smelling aroma filling the chilly air around us. A quick taste of this creamy goodness hit the spot and instantly had our universal seal of approval. I could see the, “Give me more” look on the children’s faces, but we were herded along to the next station before they could dive headfirst into the vats of freshly made ice cream.
Everywhere we looked, accolades and awards adorned the walls – indeed, with over 40 Great Taste awards, it’s obvious these guys know their stuff and they clearly love what they do, well, let’s face it, who wouldn’t? And, what’s more, the team are proud to point out that only the best ingredients are used in their products. The milk, for example, comes from Matterly Farm, which is just a stone’s throw from the factory, whilst the salt in Jude’s Salted Caramel is none other than Maldon’s signature sea salt. Where possible, the team will source British ingredients such as milk, cream, eggs, sugar, mint, apples and gin – yes, there’s even a Gin and Tonic ice cream on their books!! Indeed, over the years, Jude’s has developed more than 100 flavours of ice cream, but I was intrigued to know the most popular…Yep, you’ve guessed it…vanilla, strawberry and chocolate – what creatures of habit we are!
But, rewind a little more than a decade and Jude’s was a much smaller affair from the slick and shiny enterprise that greeted us. In fact, Jude’s started rather sedately in a Hampshire dairy barn in 2002. Just one man, mixing and churning away and, as it turned out, making some pretty delicious ice cream. He named his creations after his wife and soon his sons jumped on the ice cream train…and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, when you’re contemplating your next dessert, and you spot a pot of Jude’s in the freezer of the supermarket, you can rest easy knowing that it’ll be delicious. And when you’re questioning whether a second bowl is a good idea or not, I can tell you here and now it is. 100%! And, for parents looking for a healthier ice cream option, Jude’s have created their very own Little Jude’s range; flavoured milks and lollies with 30% less sugar than the competition. Is there anything they haven’t thought of?
Check out all the different flavours here at www.judes.co.uk