Ice Cream
By Priyanwada Ranawaka and Smriti Daniel
Ice cream, like chocolate was originally reserved solely for the enjoyment of royalty. “Crème ice” was considered quite a delicacy by many famous historical personalities ranging from Charles the first of England, to the American president Thomas Jefferson. So when we got a chance to visit an ice cream factory, we realised that it could turn out to be one of our most savoured experiences ever! We had after much consideration and comparison, settled on the Cargill factory for our day out, a choice that was soon to be proven right.

The first person we met at the factory was Dr. J.S. Punjraj who is the Managing Director. You will be very glad to know that he loves to have visitors and children are his favourite visitors of all. You can come to the factory with your class or your friends and actually see how ice cream is made!

Now Dr. Punjraj is a very nice man, you will understand exactly what we mean when we tell you that right after the introductions were completed, he offered us a choice between ice cream and tea. We chose without hesitation, what any normal person would - ice cream. And as you probably know already, that was a very wise decision.

As we were taking indecently large bites out of our chocolate cones, Dr. Punjraj began to explain how ice cream is made. As ice cream is meant to be frozen cream, one of the main ingredients is fresh milk. Because fresh milk contains some nasty things that can make you sick, it needs to be put through a pasteurisation process first. Louis Pasteur is credited with discovering the process. Pasteur’s aim was to destroy bacteria, moulds, spores and other harmful agents, by exposing them to very hot and very cold temperatures in which they could not survive.

To this sterilised milk, is added more cream, sugar, flavour, fruits and nuts. The entire mix is then frozen. Now this mix is what really decides the taste and quality of the ice cream, according to Dr. Punjraj. “A bad mix could result in the ice cream melting too quickly or in the formation of little ice crystals that ruin the smoothness of the ice cream,” he explained. Apart from the mix the freezing process also plays a very crucial role.

An emulsion is when two individual compounds are mixed together so that they become one. An emulsion should never separate back into its individual parts, so when milk and fat are mixed to form the ice cream base at the factory, great care is taken to ensure it is done well. In the exact proportions and processes used to make and freeze the mix, lies the secret of Cargills’ ever so tasty ice cream.

After serving us a countless number of ice creams, Dr. Punjraj welcomed us to take a look around the factory with him. We were not allowed to enter some of the production areas. “You have to take a good bath and get into special clothes for that,” he said. And in those cases we stood wide-eyed as we watched through glass windows, men in white suits handled big, efficient machines. Their suits looked a little like space suits without the padding; they even had white boots to match!

As you can imagine, big ice cream factories like Cargills need big expensive machines to churn out enough ice cream to keep everyone happy. They have machines, which mix, churn, freeze and pack and which have to be overseen by staff all the time. But as that means spending hours in front of a computer it is not really the most fun job at the factory. The best job there, in our opinion, is that of “inventor of new flavours of ice cream”. Three lucky people get paid to sit and think up new flavours, and it is thanks to them that Blueberry, Peach and Black Current are soon going to be on the market.

So the next time your tongue and teeth tingle as you bite into an ice cream think about how much time and effort it took to get it to you.

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