Tucked away in the quaint Noordhoek Village is Cape Town’s latest ice cream parlour, Kristen’s Kick Ass Ice Cream. Kristen Batzer, who used to work as a registered nurse in the United States, met her husband on holiday in Cape Town and has since moved to our sunny shores to follow her dream of ice-cream making.
Kristen started an Instagram account with what has become her brand name, and got a surprising amount of traction thanks to her playful flavours inspired by her upbringing and made with fresh, high-end ingredients. “Initially, it was more like I was a kid with a lemonade stand that people liked because they were related to me. But then word of mouth took over and I was getting repeated orders from people who didn’t even know me!” Kristen quips.
Six months into her bespoke ice cream business, Kristen received an email from Pete de Bruin and Franck Dangereux at The Foodbarn requesting to stock her ice creams in the Foodbarn Deli. After tasting her products, they approached her to open up a shop in the Farm Village instead. Says Kristen, “I could already imagine the shop. I would source ingredients from locals who would bring their boxes of figs and stay for a tea and a chat; there would be quirky succulents everywhere, a soundtrack with Sinatra booming around the shop, happy kids with chocolate all over their faces, wagging dog tails, handwritten chalkboard menus that changed daily, and local art and pictures of my puppies.”
In December 2015, four months later, Kristen’s Kick Ass Ice Cream opened its doors to take the Noordhoek community by storm. The café has over 40 flavours on the menu and the scoops of the day are based on what’s in season. All of the flavours are made from scratch with free-range cream, milk, and handmade ingredients. Kristen makes her own marshmallows, honeycomb, fudge-and-praline sauce, oatmeal-crunch streusel, jams and peanut butter. She explains, “I do this because it tastes far superior (to me) than commercially bought pre-packaged stuff, and I cannot fathom selling anything that I wouldn’t want to eat, and think about eating when I’m not eating it.”
The ice creams are free of essences or any preservatives and are made to taste exactly like the inspiration behind the flavour. The gin and lime scoop is made by infusing the boiling ice cream base with lime rind and crushed juniper berries, which is then churned and doused with freshly squeezed lime juice and a lot of gin.
Currently, the most popular flavours are homemade cookies and cream with homemade ‘Oreos’; sea-salted caramel with dry-roasted cane sugar and Maldon smoked sea salt; garden mint chocolate chip with fresh mint leaves; brown sugar cream with caramelised figs; and a play on a deconstructed Bounty Bar with coconut cream, milk chocolate and almonds. And, if you’re looking for a caffeine kick, the scoop shop also serves up cold brew coffee on tap using beans from The Village Roast.
What’s next for Kristen and her buzzing little store? “The future is a weird concept for me. I’m not saying never, but I’d rather have a perfect little place that makes people happy, than an impersonal empire.” While us city-bowl dwellers won’t be seeing a Kristen’s Kick Ass Ice Cream store in supermarkets anytime soon, a leisurely drive to Noordhoek for a scoop of lemon meringue and a takeaway tub of peanut butter and chocolate doesn’t sound half bad.