When we look for ice cream to add to our freezer, we know we have to be picky. Part of it definitely lies in the limitations of being a small, local store. The rest? We just know our customers want flavors that are as interesting as they are delicious and high quality—no shade to Haagen Dazs. Island Pops hits that trifecta with aplomb, bringing the flavors of founding couple Khalid Hamid and Shelly Marshall’s Trini heritage to Crown Heights in rich, silky ice cream. The Rum & Raisin pint is like a boozy dream, and the idea of Grape-Nuts cereal as an ice cream flavor is certainly new to some of us. (Incidentally, that’s our graphic designer’s favorite flavor.) Once we put down our spoons, we just had to ask co-founder Shelly how Island Pops came to be, and more.
1. What inspired the founding of Island Pops?
We founded Island Pops back in 2015 when after a trip to Trinidad, I came back dangerously sick with Chikungunya. While sick in bed with 100 degree fever, I was craving soursop ice cream. My husband went out to try and pick up a pint or two and we quickly realized no shop in Brooklyn was offering the flavor in the authentic manner in which we were used to. So, we decided to make it ourselves. Fast forward one year later, and Island Pops was born.
2. What's something you'd like people to know about your ice cream or your business, but don't always get to mention?
Every single flavor we produce is tied to a memory of some sort of our time growing up in Trinidad. For example, our coffee biscuit reminds Khalid of mornings when his grandfather ate a breakfast of coffee and salted biscuits in the back yard with his morning newspaper; the soursop flavor that takes us back to climbing soursop trees behind our parents’ and grandparents’ houses after school with our friends.
3. What's the best part of being a Brooklyn ice cream maker?
We get to be part of a really great community in Crown Heights. What's even more fitting is that Brooklyn has the largest Caribbean American community, so we get to bond with our core customer base in a way we probably wouldn't be able to if we were in Manhattan or another one of the boroughs. Our customers know us by name and vice versa, and we love that closeness.
4. What's your favorite Island Pops flavor?
While everyone is smitten with soursop—it's by far the most popular flavor in the shop and in our grocery outlets—my favorite flavors are rum and raisin and honey roasted peanut.