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Hand-crafted ice cream a sweet addition to downtown Belleville

By Stephanie Clue [1]

BELLEVILLE – Downtown Belleville [2] just got sweeter with the arrival of a new ice cream shop.

Nice Ice Baby Ice Cream [3] at 26 Victoria Ave. has been serving hand-crafted ice cream since its opening in July.

The owners, Tim Hennig and Sharon Huckle of Belleville, were already operating the Victoria Avenue businesses Urban Herb Catering and the Cat’s Meow salon, and were looking for an opportunity to open another business, explains Nice Ice Baby manager Shawneen Fenton.

“They saw a niche in the market with the fact that there’s no one around here who makes hand-crafted ice cream,” Fenton said. “They really wanted to take Belleville by storm and open something that could help the community grow.”

Some of the many ice cream flavours offered at Nice Ice Baby in downtown Belleville. Photo by Stephanie Clue, QNet News.

Some of the flavours offered at Nice Ice Baby in downtown Belleville. Photo by Stephanie Clue, QNet News

Hennig attended a short course in making ice cream at Penn State University [4] to learn the science behind the process, Fenton said. Then he made sure to import the best ice-cream maker from Italy, she said.

“We only have one ice-cream maker because of small batches. The reason we do small batches is because we want to give you the freshest ice cream. So the ice cream that you get is usually made within the week.”

The ice cream is made on-site, and Fenton said the ingredients are as local as possible. For the Red Wine Gelato, for instance, the wine comes from Casa-Dea Estates Winery [5] in Prince Edward County.

The shop offers upwards of 30 flavours. Some, Fenton said, are seasonal, “like the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, which isn’t in season any more, so we have switched over to the Pumpkin Pie.

“We have come up with new flavours for fall that we’re trying to get people excited about,” she said.

Ice-cream lovers can choose from a variety of cones. Nice Ice Baby makes its own waffle cones and bowls, and also has cookie cones, pretzel cones, double-chocolate cones and M&M cones.

“We wanted to offer a unique experience,” Fenton said. “We didn’t want people coming in for our amazing ice cream and getting a basic cone, because we are not basic. We’re hand-crafted.”

Nice Ice Baby employee Nicole Brown holding the recently made espresso skor ice cream. Photo by Stephanie Clue, QNet News

Nice Ice Baby ice-cream maker Nicole Brown holding some just-made Espresso Skor ice cream. Photo by Stephanie Clue, QNet News

Ice-cream maker Nicole Brown says one of the best parts of her job is what happens after everything gets mixed together.

“There’s a lot of taste-testing. You have to taste it after it’s mixed and before it’s frozen.” For example, with the Espresso Skor flavour, she has to make sure there are no coffee grounds in the ice cream, she explained. “And of course you taste it when it’s done.”

Up to seven flavours of ice cream can be made in a day, Brown said. “Depending on what kind it is, each flavour could get two or four containers each.”

For more information on Nice Ice Baby, visit its website [3].