It’s beginning to taste a lot of like an island Christmas!
The Crown Heights ice cream shop Island Pops, is expanding its menu all season into December. The Caribbean-inspired frozen dessert business is making some additions to its usual offerings, just in time for the holiday season, said the co-owner.
“For Christmas, we are transitioning into the winter season with a full desert menu, and instead of just ice cream and ice pops — we are having Caribbean-inspired muffins, cakes, cookies, and sweet breads,” said Khalid Hamid, who runs the location with his wife and co-owner, Shelly Marshall.
Opening their storefront over the summer in July, the Trinidadian-American couple said they enjoyed a great summer season and wanted to continue bringing in their patrons, with the same model they used to attract them during warmer weather.
“Summer was really awesome and a nice introduction to the community, and we got a lot of nice and positive feedback from both our West Indian community, and newcomers who like what we’re doing,” said Hamid.
But for the colder season, the pair decided to make some extra product offerings. A few of the new menu options include banana bread, a coffee apple cake made with cinnamon, apples, and ground coffee, and even a vegan option with their morning glory muffin — made with bananas and oats.
He says the shop is introducing these pastries, and some new and limited ice cream flavors. The four new options are custard ice cream, cassava pone, ponche de crème with black cake, and sapodilla.
Every Friday in December, the shop will be releasing their new flavors, which also include ginger and sorrel rum-based sorbets and ice creams, and customers who try all flavors get to enter a raffle. Hamid also hopes to bring in more events into the space including a spoken word session and Christmas story time.
There will also be hot beverages available including coffee, espressos, and hot chocolate — all with an island twist, according to Hamid.
“We are serving coffee and we’re going to start doing espressos — Caribbean-inspired especssos,” he said. “So we’re looking at a soursop macchiato, ponche de creme lattes, and we are also working on a nutmeg spice macchiato or a passion fruit hot chocolate — the main things that people will be looking for.”
He added that the introductions behind these additions were mostly inspired by their business model in giving the city’s Caribbean community bits of flavors and tastes they grew up with.
“We are just continuing with our quest of bringing a little back of back home and the Caribbean to the New York market, make people experience the islands,” said Hamid. “Everything we do is along those lines of bringing memories of the Caribbean to life in desserts.”
The most popular ice cream options are their soursop, coffee biscuit, nutmeg, ovaltine, and Guinness caramel flavors. All of their flavors are made with all natural fruits or juices, and low sugar content. Hamid said customers should be able to enjoy guilt-free sweet treats.
“We make sure our sugar content is not very high, so it’s not overly sweet, and I look at us as doing a service for the culture,” he said. “We try to make everything we do authentic without using pulps, concentrate, or additives because we are about promoting a truly healthy lifestyle.”
Island Pops [680 Nostrand Ave. at St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights, (347) 232-1777, www.islan