We're not vanilla.
Line breaks: van|illa
"Unimaginative". "A little… boring". "The safe choice". Sound familiar?
Give us one minute of reading and you’ll think otherwise.
There's always a preface (isn't there?)
Before working at Diageo Charlie travelled around Africa. Among the serious bits - teaching 120 students Business Studies and Sports Science - there were a few comical moments. One of which included a baboon jumping on Charlie's back, "sinking its claws in, bearing its teeth" (Charlie's words) and stealing an ice cream straight from under his nose.
Charlie also learnt, the hard way, the consequence of being too trusting. Whilst staying on the Nile in Uganda a "kind" local, unbeknown to Charlie, slipped him some powerful hallucinogenics. So powerful he swears to this day that he saw purple witches riding on broom sticks.
So how is this all linked to ice cream? It's not really. We just thought it was amusing.
We’ll cut to the chase. Whilst Charlie was trying to find himself (he's still looking...) he discovered all kinds of wild and exotic superfoods.
The Baobab tree (aka The Monkey Bread Tree, The Upside Down Tree and The Tree of Life) is an icon of the African savannah. Home to Rafiki, the baboon shaman in the Lion King, the tree produces a nutrient-dense fruit, even when the surrounding environment is dry and arid.
We love a factoid, so here are two.
#1: Some carbon dated baobab trees have been put at over 6000 years old!
#2: There's a baobab tree in South Africa, known as 'Big Baobab', that has a circumference of 47 metres and even a bar for 60 people inside the trunk.
But we’re more interested in the tree’s fruit than using it as a pub. That's because baobab is basically a multi-vitamin in a fruit. It has 6x the vitamin C of oranges, more potassium than bananas, and more antioxidants than blueberries. It's got more calcium than milk, loads of iron, magnesium, and fibre, and prebiotic qualities that stimulate your gut's 'good' bacteria.
Creating our Madagascan vanilla and baobab
The challenge was to find a baobab that was sweet and tangy but not sharp, and a vanilla robust enough to compliment rather than clash. In the end we tested no fewer than 50 different vanilla extracts and numerous baobabs to try and find the perfect match. With over 50% pectin, the fruit gives our ice cream the creamy mouth-fee you'd expect from traditional ice cream.
Ice cream for breakfast. Yes please!
Our Madagascan vanilla with baobab makes the perfect breakfast treat. At Oppo HQ we team it with gluten-free oats, mixed berries, almonds and chia seeds. It beats a Weetabix. Another favourite is dropping it into our cup of coffee for the ultimate affogato.
It’s not as vanilla as you might think!