Handmade ice cream with love from the earth

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We all love ice cream. Las Paletas is the home of the finest handmade artisan sorbet, dairy lollies and ice cream in Cape Town. Cliffordene Norton chats to Jason Sandell, the cofounder of Las Paletas.

Las Paletas makes the best ice cream in Cape Town. We are commonly referred to as manufacturing the finest handmade artisan sorbet, dairy lollies and scoops. Our products are made in small batches, using top quality ingredients. The freshest fruit, nuts, herbs and spices are blended together with real dairy to make the most exclusive and tasty frozen delights. All Las Paletas products are 100% natural and free from artificial flavourings and colourings. Therefore, we are the best ice cream in Cape Town. With Las Paletas, fresh and natural is what you will always get. 

The recipes for the Las Paletas sorbets and dairy lollies have been created to bring out the full taste of the fresh natural ingredients. Traditional ice cream, frozen yoghurt and fresh fruit juices have been given a fresh and tasty lift. Every batch is truly unique!

What inspired you to start Las Paletas?

We realised that there was no ice cream/lollies in the marketplace made with 100% natural ingredients, like real fruit/dairy and chocolate. Most is made from or contains artificial ingredients.

Las Paletas produces products that can be considered “seasonal”. How do you manage this challenge?

We have to produce enough (orange and watermelon) lollies to last the summer season. So, it’s us looking at growth over the years, and planning ahead. At first, we started by buying 50 pockets of oranges; now, we buy in two tons at a time.

Ice cream, anyone?

Which ice cream is your best seller?

It was our strawberry sorbet, and then it was our cold-pressed orange. Now, it’s our epic and #CrazyDelicious grande chocolate. However, s’mores has also been proving to be a favourite with our fans since its launch.

Grande chocolate lollies

What is the secret to amazing ice cream?

I think our strapline says it all: “Handmade with Love from Earth”. Create something unique, natural and true to what you say it is, and you can grow your brand.

Green tea or matcha ice cream

Las Paletas has been voted the best ice cream on a stick in South Africa at the SA Dairy Championships for three consecutive years – in 2017, 2018 and 2019. What was your reaction when you received the news? What is the secret to your success?

Wow, in 2017, when we received the award, we were very surprised; there are so many great ice cream manufacturers out there, and to be recognised by our peers as one of the very best was emotional. I remember crying once I sat down and thought to myself, all our hard work is slowly paying off.

Stick to your instincts, and don’t deviate from what you as a business owner believe will be a success story down the line. Work hard, and when you are done, try even harder the next day.

Gourmet ice cream in cones

Apart from the SA Dairy Championships, what has been the biggest highlight for you so far?

The support our fans have given us during the lockdown has been amazing. With all our end of summer events cancelled, this has had a huge impact on Las Paletas, but our fans have stuck by us to get us through this period.

Also, creating what we call scoop ice cream. Las Paletas has been known over the years for our natural lollies. Diana Chavarro (my darling beautiful wife and cofounder of Las Paletas) started to create a new line of ice cream tubs in 2019, and this was launched in January 2020.

S’mores chocolate ice cream

What would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

This is a question that I think about on a regular basis. Just to get through this year will be amazing. We have not had to lay off staff yet. Ideally, we would like to open a chain of ice cream shops dotted around Cape Town.

Apple crumble ice cream

If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting, what would it be?

  • Stick with your business plan and ideas, and don’t look to create a cheaper product that you could sell for less. 
  • Believe in yourself – starting a business is not easy.
  • Have a good accounting system from the start of your business.
  • Have a solid sales system that shows your progress with the various (potential) clients you are working with.
  • Your website should not just be a pretty picture; make sure it’s functional and that Google loves it. After all, Google is the one showing your website to potential clients.
  • Never give up!

LP Valencia orange

What are the challenges and opportunities you’ve faced as a business owner during this pandemic?

Wow, where do I start? I guess during this #lockdown period, we all just have to be patient and accommodating. Sales are way down, and clients are not able to pay us on time – if at all, in some cases. So, we just have to be patient.

However, we at Las Paletas have taken this opportunity to work on our website and our potential client database, and have at the same time looked to partner with other food delivery companies out there.

Neapolitan ice cream

  • Photos: provided
Buro: MvH
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