Stella started making ice cream many years ago at the family's estate that works as an agrotouristic unit, in an effort offer her family and guests a healthy dessert of high nutritional value. She experimented a lot because having only basic means and as raw material just the milk from her farm, without using eggs, butter or vegetable fats, cream, gelling agents or other ready ice-cream bases, making ice-cream was not easy.
A little later, Stella's daughter finished her studies in Molecular Biology at Glasgow and started her PhD in Dietetics and Nutrition in Athens. Through science and her studies on special population groups (diabetics, hypercholesterolemics, breast feeding mothers) the nutritional assessment of her mother's ice cream had already gained a scientific background. With the completion of her PhD and reading about the science of ice-cream she realized that the advertisement of "ice-cream" containing fresh milk was so fashionable that could make someone forget the content in other materials (ice cream bases, milk powder, colorings, flavorings, gelling agents, stabilizers, emulsifiers etc).
Since 2010 the "Ice-cream by Stella" is available at the shop located at 29 Priansou Street in Heraklion Crete. What Stella and her daughter Despoina discovered through the contact with customers is that they are not adequately informed about ice-cream products. That’s why they try through communication to fill the gap that exists between the little secrets of ice-cream production and the curiosity of customers who realise that “Ice-cream by Stella” is different.
Since 2014, Stella and her daughter Despoina attend seminars abdroad about raw materials (milk, fruits, sugars, cocoa and its products etc). Their interest results from their will to know better not only the nutritional value of all the above, but also their physical and chemical properties and how these work or change during the preparation and production of ice cream with Stella’s recipes.
Stella's philosophy and standards remain strict with final goal the production of real, healthy and hand-made ice-cream with basic raw material the fresh milk. During the preparation of the ice cream mix no eggs, butter or vegetable fat, cream or artificial colors are added. Also absent are the emulsifiers, gelling agents and ready bases. The recipes are adapted to special criteria in order for the final product to be characterized as ice-cream but also to nutritional criteria that often cover special nutritional needs (allergies, intolerances, high blood glucose). “Ice-cream by Stella” has high nutritional value and can be consumed daily along with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
*The ingredients regard the ice cream mix and not materials that are added after the production. Some examples are the ready made cookies that contain emulsifier and vegetable fat, the hand made ganache sauce that contains cream, the hand made cookies and sponge cake that contain eggs, the kataifi pastry that contains emulsifier and butter.
"Ice-cream by Stella" and its nutritional value
Although "Ice-cream by Stella" contains animal fats and sugar its consumption is not forbidden when following a healthy nutritional program. Apart from cow milk, sheep and goat or buffalo milk are also used. Milk contains inositol, which is involved in the metabolism of fatty acids, calcium and phosphorus. It is reach in vitamins Α, C, D and Β2 while substances such as biorganic sodium render youth, and energy for body and mind.
"Ice-cream by Stella" contains salep, real chocolate, nuts, fresh fruits and natural spices. These ingredients are rich in vitamins and polyphenols, which are known for their antioxidant properties. As for nuts apart from being a rich source of proteins and vitamins they are rich in ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids. Dark chocolate contains macronutrients, metals and minerals, as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, ferrum, and a variety of vitamins.
"Ice Cream by Stella" is 100% hand-made in order to ensure the high quality and the ratio of volume/weight. The perfect texture is achieved by the special preparation of milk and not by air addition. Many working hours are needed before it reaches the consumer.
What is ice-cream after all?
There is a great confusion about what real ice-cream is. Is it any frozen dessert with milk or not that is stored in the freezer? Usually all frozen desserts are called ice-cream but they are not. Ice-cream is defined by its consistency and must contain animal fat, which means that its main ingredient must be milk to which it owes its nutritional value. Anything that contains vegetable fat is a frozen dessert. There is an argument that vegetable fats are better for our health compared to animal fats which cause cardiovascular diseases. However this is not true about ice-cream because if milk is replaced with vegetable fat the final nutritional value is much lower and it contains "bad" carbohydrates.
Mass production ice-cream vs High quality ice-cream
There are different types of ice cream. The standard and the high quality ice cream. High quality ice cream has a rich flavor but its preparation is more expensive. The standard-mass production ice cream consists mainly by an ice cream base in the form of powder or cream, milk powder and in some cases fresh milk. Apart from milk, ice cream may contain eggs or egg powder, butter or vegetable fats, sugar or other sweeteners, syrup, nuts and chocolate imitation. Other necessary ingredients are the colorings and flavorings that improve its appearance but not necessarily its taste. To ensure the right texture, emulsifiers and stabilizers are used in combination with air addition that increases the volume up to 100% but not the weight of ice cream, so 1 liter of ice-cream may weigh 500 grams.
High quality ice-cream is prepared in small quantities. From the physical and chemical point of view ice-cream is a cool and creamy product that consists of three elements in balance: liquids, solids and air. The mathematical equations though that bring in balance the raw materials ( milk, sugars, fruits or chocolate and nuts) are complicated and very important for the final product to be a food of high nutritional value with specific characteristics. The preparation of high quality ice-cream requires not only skills but also knowledge. “Ice-cream by Stella” is prepared using traditional skills, scientific knowledge and our real interest to offer to our customers the highest quality and healthier ice-cream.
PhD in Science Dietetics-Nutrition