Ten years ago, in the kitchen of a family home on Kohu Road in Titirangi, Greg Hall decided to give making his own ice cream a crack. Following a very basic recipe and using only natural ingredients, Greg turned the mixture in his Mr Snowy ice cream machine into his firs tever, luxuriously decadent, dark chocolate ice cream. All of his friends and family who tried it, as the saying goes, screamed for more of Greg’s ice cream, and so Kohu Road ice cream was born.
When Greg was introduced to Farro co-founder Janene Draper, he was as shocked as he was excited that after just one taste, Janene snapped up the brand and agreed to stock it on the shelves at Farro’s first store on Lunn Avenue in 2008. “I was thinking she would only be wanting our signature flavour, but when I mentioned we had three flavours, she said: ‘we’ll take them all!’,” Greg says. After the meeting, Greg raced back to the kitchen and spent all night and the next day making the ice cream.
Today, the original invoice docket is framed on Greg’s office wall. “That first order, 10 years ago, was a big celebration for us – and the starting point of everything,” he says. “It even has the first batch code, which says ‘00001’.” Tens of thousands of orders later, and with more than 25 different flavours, Kohu Road has continued to be a growing success, and the ability to engage with Farro shoppers has been a highlight. “They are really amazing customers who are passionate and love food just as much as we do” Greg says.
The ice cream connoisseurs at Kohu Road have continued to embrace the ideals of sourcing only the best, natural ingredients from local suppliers. “To me, fundamentally, all-natural is simple, real, whole food ingredients,” he says. “We source ingredients like whole chocolate, real vanilla seeds, locally grown fruit and fresh eggs, milk and cream that’s delivered daily from the local dairy farm just an hour away.”
Like their new reduced-sugar, dairy-free range it’s easy and cheap to make dairy-free products with artificial additives, but the art of natural ice cream at Kohu Road is evident in this new range, free from: chemicals or enumbers, yet full of flavour and with real ice cream creaminess.
Each ice cream flavour has been inspired by the art of Japanese cuisine. “We’ve channelled the cooking concept ‘umami’, which is considered as a new flavour that gives a satisfying depth to what you’re eating. So, when our ice cream melts in your mouth, you begin to taste all these different elements, textures and flavours, and it becomes a very pleasurable eating experience.” Greg says. His wife, Yayoi – a trained Japanese degustation chef – helps to create the sophistication of each flavour. “I would make the ice cream and she would be the taste tester and say ‘I think it needs a little more this, and a little less that’!”
So, what’s next for Kohu Road? Simple. To continue on the path of innovation: “we’re always creating new and exciting flavours that will really wow our customers,” Greg says. The new range of dairy-free coconut and sorbet-based ice creams has proven to be a hit at Farro over the summer. “We want to continue making the best ice cream because when you taste Kohu Road, it can take you somewhere else or back to a memory. That’s amazing. Not many ice creams or foods can deliver that feeling.”