FREDERICTON – It’s a common childhood memory: hearing the telltale ice cream truck jingle and running to the street to grab a cone of frozen goodness.
Patti Hollenberg, the owner of Chess Piece Pâtisserie & Cafe and Cafe Beaverbrook by Chess Piece Pâtisserie, is looking to capture that particular brand of nostalgia with her new endeavour: Queen Street Creamery.
This latest avenue for tasty treats came about when Hollenberg invested in a commercial ice cream machine to make ice cream sandwiches last summer. Building on what turned out to be a highly popular summer dessert, she decided to take things a step further.
This spring, she stumbled across a 1978 Chevrolet step van and turned it into a fully functioning ice cream truck where her team serves house-made flavours like strawberry rhubarb and cinnamon bun in waffle cones made directly on the truck.
“[Ice cream trucks] are one of those things that are in the back of everyone’s head,” she says. “They’re instantly transported to being 12 years old again, wanting that ice cream when it’s really hot. We wanted to bring a little nostalgia back but also bring today’s flavours and today’s funkiness.”
In keeping with its pâtisserie roots, Queen Street Creamery ice cream is made from scratch with as many local ingredients as possible.
“I’m a big believer in letting a quality product stand for itself. We’re taking advantage of the growing season. Now we’re in berry season, so I’m buying everything local that I possibly can, like strawberries and rhubarb from Strawberry Hill Farms and getting my maple from Dumfries Maples. Just really focusing on making a kickass ice cream,” Hollenberg says.
With two cafes and now an ice cream truck running, Hollenberg and her team have gone from busy to busier. She says, though, that her staff has been nothing short of incredible in their work and support of the business’s growth.
“If you’d told me four years ago that we’d have an ice cream truck on the road and two locations by the time we’d turned four, I would have told you that you were crazy,” Hollenberg says.
“I want to focus on quality and have some fun with it. It’s ice cream at the end of the day and ice cream is meant for people to enjoy. The ultimate goal of the truck is to take people back, enjoy the summer and have fun.”
Cara Smith is a freelance writer in Fredericton.