Purbeck Ice Cream was born as a result of diversification from dairy farming 30 years ago. My husband Peter, myself ~ Hazel and variable ‘help’ from our three boys of 6 months, 1 & 2 years’ ran a 60 Friesian dairy herd on 126 acres of lush green hillside directly opposite the historic remains of Corfe Castle in the heart of Dorset. The Isle of Purbeck is re-known for its outstanding beauty with the result that during the summer months the population almost doubles with people basking in the countryside, idling away the hours on the beaches or pushing themselves to the limit on bikes up and down the surrounding hills.
With the introduction of milk quota’s we found it impossible to maintain the farm as a viable enterprise and had to come up with something pretty fast that we could do with our lovely milk that didn’t result in penalties for over production or tread on anyone’s toes by embarking on a venture which was already being done locally.
Along with the occasional pub crawl we had developed quite a passion for ‘ice cream crawls’ and it seemed a natural progression to make our own ice cream….but sooooo much better than anything we had ever come across on our ‘crawls’ We were adamant from the start that our ice cream should be utterly natural with no artificial additives and most certainly not coloured ~ who needs a ‘fairy liquid green’ in their mint ice cream….that was not for us. After we hit upon ice cream we beavered away finding out everything we could so we knew exactly what we were getting into….we were in for a few shocks along the way!
We started production in a converted building next to the dairy, one of us milking and skimming some of the milk for double cream and the other batching up small tubs of Purbeck Ice Cream. We flipped a coin to decide who would drive off in our little van complete with chest freezer in the back and who would stay at home looking after the boys.
Here & Now
30 years later the business is recognized as a forerunner in the manufacture and supply of farm made super-premium real dairy ice creams and spring water sorbets for the discerning.
There are many exceptional varieties to enjoy – all boasting clean ingredients with the best credentials of; no artificial anything, no gluten, all natural flavours and egg free, suitable for veggies, fully accredited as suitable for Halal (except the alcoholic flavours) and, of course, no added colours or nuts of any description. With local sourcing paramount, we use guaranteed Purbeck milk, Dorset cream and an abundance of natural ingredients as well as British waffle cones and we source everything we can from within Purbeck, Dorset, the South, the UK, and only going further if what we need is either not grown or of too poor a quality to consider.
We offer subtle flavours for the discerning, bold flavours for the WOW factor and exceptional flavours for the special occasion.
Available in 125ml, 500ml and 2 litre take home tubs for retail, 2 and 4 litre sizes for catering establishments and 2.5 and 5 litre Napoli’s for super scooping parlours.
We have taken many strategic steps in developing the business following a clear and simple plan; the mission statement clarifies our dedication and commitment to producing only the very best, maintaining and improving our standards whilst delivering exceptional service.
Our hygiene standards are top notch ~ reflected in the attainment for consecutive years’ accreditation with SALSA certificate passed with flying colours.
Many people ask us just what the future holds for Purbeck Ice Cream and, as we get older and slightly more wrinkly, – to Peter and me! One thing we know is that we have no plans to sell and will continue to run this family business making what we feel is the best possible ice creams and sorbets whilst delivering an exemplary service. With Patrick managing all sales and two of our sons following in our footsteps, our team has evolved with managers in place to harness and direct the skills of each team member for the benefit of the business and our customers. Over the years we have learnt that life is a series of hurdles with a never ending set ahead and, in order to survive, we must face these, assess the height, skill and nerve needed, and leap nimbly over them and our team is in the best possible position to do just that so….onward and over we go!
One step first came about at the end of 2001 when we were approached by Springbourne Fire Station in Bournemouth who asked us if we could make a ‘chilli’ ice cream for a Mexican Evening. We always enjoy a challenge and set to work blending various concoctions to come up with a product to satisfy the hottest of Firemen! After launching our innovative ChilliRED ice cream, we realized that there is always a time for eating all manner or flavours whether sweet or savoury, as a desert or as an accompaniment to hors d’euves, starters or main courses and our reputation as innovators was born. The team was let loose to develop more outstanding and courageous flavours for chefs to use in their culinary delights chiefly as accompaniments to standard courses to add that little twist of flavour and excitement. New blends of savoury ice cream were born with Stem Ginger harmonizing with Thai foods, Dorset Chai Latte served with toasted cinnamon roll and Dorset Truffle delicious served with fresh pasta!
We supply direct from the farm throughout Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire to our local customers including The National Trust, very many prestigious Hotels & Restaurants, lots of the best independent discerning food shops, farm shops and deli’s, beach front scooping parlours and seasonal tourist attractions.
Deliveries go to the ship stores for the P & O Cruise Ships and into the heart of London to some of the best hotels, rather gorgeous eateries and sumptuous restaurants.
For trade customers currently outside direct delivery areas, we have several friendly and reliable Wholesalers who distribute nationally, specializing in foods of outstanding excellence increasing our distribution to include most of the UK.
Natural. Our products are superb, (I am a touch biased but it’s still true!) entirely natural with no added colour. A lot of ice cream is made with additional natural colour but we believe it to be unnecessary and therefore don’t use it.
Retail, Catering & Super Scoopers. We offer ice cream and sorbet for both catering and retail sales supplying unique, refreshingly different, high quality products guaranteed to satisfy the most demanding consumer of today. Scooping parlours enjoy our unique British range of traditional and extraordinary flavours with folk travelling far and wide for a scoop or two.
Flavours. Our ice creams are available in a range of scrumptious traditional flavours including Clotted Cream, Serious Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Honeycombe Hash as well as some truly innovative flavours including Dorset Chai Latte and a sublime Blood Orange Sorbet. The Springwater Sorbets are all made with local fresh spring water and natural fruit juices are scoopable at –18 for quick and perfect presentation in this fast and furious world and offer a welcome choice for those who may be intolerant to dairy products.
Local Sourcing. Committed to sourcing everything we can from as close to home as possible, we reduce food miles and our impact on the environment and demonstrate support to our local lovely producers.
Brand Image. The Purbeck Ice Cream brand speaks volumes with a suave and professional look encompassing innovation and originality, quality and good taste! This is displayed across retail establishments and dining venues with traditional wooden A-Boards, vinyl’s, flavour boards, menus, flyers, flags and point of sale material – all helping consumer awareness and boosting sales.
Service. Though I do say it myself, we forge lasting relationships with our customers, listening to their needs to ensure all enjoy the many benefits.
Awards & PR
Purbeck Ice Cream has been gathering awards over the past 30 years recognizing achievements judged on taste, flavour, quality, and innovation.
Great Taste Awards abound and we were awarded the accolade of Great Taste Producer for consistently producing award winning Ice Cream.
In 2017 we also received Great Taste 1-Gold Star for our Salted Maple Ice Cream and 1-Gold Star for our Dorset Truffle Ice Cream joining 2016 winners of a two star Gold award for Dorset Marmalade and one star Gold for Cracking Chocolate, and this year we received Great Taste 1-Gold Star for our Stem Ginger Sorbet.
The annual Great Taste Awards are recognized as the Oscars in the world of fine food and drink with previous winners of the coveted gold stars for; Raspberry Ripple, Strawberry, Salted Caramel and the sublime Posh Toffee, the luscious Fig & Honey, beautiful Blood Orange and quenching Quince Sorbet. gorgeous Stem Ginger, decadent Serious Chocolate, the absolute best Clotted Cream, highly addictive Honeycombe Hash, beautiful Banana, stonking Chrimbo Pud, Chocolate Orange (mine, not Terry’s), mouthwatering Mango Sorbet, sublimely delicious Ginger Sorbet; and (no longer with us – RIP) the weird but wonderful ChilliRED, Sweet Fennel, Dorset Watercress, and Crème Fraiche.
Another RIP flavour is the awesome Dorset Blue Vinny which was a double winner having scooped top spot for Fresh Ideas in Innovation at IFE and winning GOLD.
We’ve been voted the Best Dairy Producer and Dorset Dairy Champion in the Taste of Dorset Awards and won the Taste of the West Product Awards for an array of our gorgeous concoctions. Voted as a finalist for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Venus Awards and taking top spot in the Best in Purbeck Awards, we need no excuse to raise a tub and cheer each other onwards and upwards!
Ethical, Environmental & Community Commitment
Dedicated to the environment, the Purbeck Ice Cream team takes every care to maintain the beautiful countryside around us by re planting trees, maintaining hedgerows and providing animal friendly areas encouraging our suppliers to match our eco-friendly ethos. Traditional Dorset Apple Orchards have been planted across the farm and bird and bat boxes strategically placed to provide essential homes for first time flyers.
We re-use, reduce and recycle our waste and are working hard to achieve 100%. The business Carbon Footprint has been assessed and measured, coming up trumps as a business that already goes above and beyond others with a plan in place to maintain as well as striving to continually improve.
Our new high tech production building has over 150 solar PV panels harnessing the power of sunlight with power generated supplying the power required for our large storage cold rooms, helping to reduce our energy consumption and reliance on the earth’s precious resources.
We actively support local charities chosen by our team that are close to our hearts and home. This year we are giving regular donations of Purbeck Ice Cream to The Youth Cancer Trust – who offers youngsters across the UK with life limiting illnesses superb holidays in Tracey Ann House in Dorset, Diverse Abilities who help both adults and children across the South who have a wide range of diverse abilities and Forest Holme Hospice who give essential and compassionate palliative and respite care from Poole to Purbeck. We continue to do our bit supplying little Vanilla Bean tubs for those in Bournemouth and Yeovil Hospitals as it is particularly palatable for those who need gentle but nourishing foods, is easily digested, nutritious and always enjoyed.
We are independently supporting as Lead Partners, the Jurassic Coast Trust where we donate 5p for every retail tub sold in order that they may continue their excellent work to support, educate and protect our unique and beautiful Jurassic Coast.
Purbeck Ice Cream ~ Events Team
We have five super natty Marketing Vehicles beautifully liveried in black and gold – all for scooping and serving a wide range of flavours. The Duke of Swirl serves our unique Purbeck Ice Cream in a whipped up version and the 4 scoop vans have been adapted from our regular fleet of freezer delivery vans and purpose built for use. The whole Events divisions is managed and operated by fantastic Mr. Simon Fox and his team, and they are in regular attendance at all the major local events as well as some National and RHS Events to serve delicious Purbeck Ice Cream and Sorbets.
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The Purbeck Ice Cream team stands at 16 growing to 20 during the summer with all of us local and many originally being Farmers. We have developed along with our products with a passion for pure excellence ~ our motto. We are a happy band and recognize the importance of each team player and the many varied qualities they bring to the table. We improve our strengths with team meetings to knock about ideas and hammer out any frustrations and regularly celebrate life in the fast ice cream lane on team ‘bunfights’. Our team is to be congratulated as, without the spirit of enterprise generated between us we would not be able to produce such amazing ice cream. These meetings, I feel would be of further benefit held at a different location ~ the Bahamas perhaps.
Fin Hazel Hartle 08/02/18