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Life is sweet (and savoury)

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Daniel Curren and his team at the scoop shop in Tatamagouche. Photo: Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios

Daniel Curren and his team at the scoop shop in Tatamagouche. Photo: Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios

Recipes Featured In This Article

Tatamagouche Ice Creamery offers flavours beyond traditional

When Daniel Curren thinks of ice cream, he sees a blank canvas, imagining potential flavours far beyond the traditional chocolate, vanilla and strawberry of his youth. Want to try a scoop of Ocean Playground Sea Salted Caramel? Or perhaps a Bourbon Coffee ice cream? What about something spicy, savoury or even beer flavoured?

“Your imagination is the limit on what we can do,” says Curren, owner of the Tatamagouche Ice Creamery

The Nova Scotia business first opened in the summer of 2020, in the heart of the pandemic. Having worked in investments for 20 years in Toronto and Halifax, Curren was ready for a change. 

He says moving to Tatamagouche and opening an ice cream shop was obviously a big change, but not as “out of the blue” as it sounds. It was something he had been thinking about for a very long time.

“When I graduated high school, I was a little bit torn as to whether I should go to culinary school or business school,” he recalls. “Obviously, I went to university, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to have some sort of food business.”

Curren often cooked for family and friends and loved hosting dinner parties. His favourite items to serve always tended to lean toward more savoury cooking and baking. 

Ten years ago, he started to get into modernist cuisine, AKA “molecular gastronomy.”  

“I liked looking at the science of cooking,” said Curren. “One of the things I ended up doing was buying a jug of liquid nitrogen to play around with and I made a batch of ice cream at home. It turned out great. I made sort of an unusual flavour and it opened my eyes to see that ice cream is really interesting.” 

He got better and better at it and even auditioned for MasterChef Canada, making it to the regional finals. 

Curren grew up in Cole Harbour, N.S., but spent his summers at their family cottage in Malagash, near Tatamagouche. 

“Tatamagouche was always just a really cool, unique place,” says Curren. “A lot of rural Nova Scotian towns have a tough time keeping residents and businesses, but Tatamagouche had the secret figured out from the beginning. To sustain a small town, you have to support the local small businesses.”

So, when Curren decided to open his ice cream shop, he felt Tatamagouche was the perfect fit. Not only would it offer support for his new company, but it also had the historic local Creamery, which had been part of the town’s identity for many years. (The Creamery was open from 1925 to 1992 and produced the popular Tatamagouche butter.) 

“I thought it was a cool throwback,” he says. “We even incorporated the old Creamery in our logo. It pays homage to the place and the importance of the dairy industry to the town.”

Cult favourites

Curren is constantly changing the menu, keeping the classics and favourites while rolling out new flavours. 

“We’ve never had a flavour we haven’t sold out of,” says Curren. “People are really open to trying something new.”

 One of the biggest surprises for him was the fact that their basil ice cream became a cult favourite. “People love it, or they hate it,” he laughs. “The people who love it really do. If we go more than a couple weeks without it on our menu, I’m getting messages on our social media from people asking when it’s coming back. I would never have predicted that one.

“It’s nice because it keeps the business interesting and fun. I’m able to constantly experiment and come up with new flavours and exercise that creativity.”

Curren says they have a list of about 300 flavour recipes they want to try. So far, they’ve made about 100 of those. 

You can pick up ice cream at the scoop shop in Tatamagouche, plus at various markets around the province. A new scoop shop is opening in Alderney Landing, Dartmouth, this summer and plans for other locations are in the works. Photo: Steve Smith, VisionFire Studios

Here’s the scoop

Despite the issues that came with starting a business in the middle of the pandemic, life is good for the ice cream company. Busy and constantly trying to keep up with growing demand, the business was also the recipient of the 2021 Taste of Nova Scotia Product of the Year award. 

According to Sacha Smith, manager of membership services and marketing at Taste of Nova Scotia, Tatamagouche Ice Creamery received numerous nominations from consumers for this award. 

“They highlighted not only their use of exceptional local ingredients in their ice cream, but also the joy that this product brings to those who try it,” says Smith. “It’s a truly memorable, local product.” 

East Coast Living