Jalen MacLeod and Amanda Beaton’s business is just as eye-catching as their product.
They operate out of a small teal-coloured 1958 Citroen HVAN. The van’s first life was delivering mail 60 years ago in France.
Now, the van is parked at the corner of Church and Grafton streets in downtown Charlottetown rolling out ice cream – literally.
“We are quirky enough individuals that we didn’t want to have a standard truck. We didn’t want to do standard ice cream,” McLeod said.
“We thought it was about time someone shook up the culinary scene of P.E.I.”
Rolled ice cream is made by putting a liquid base down on a cold metal plate. The bases that Truckin’ Roll offers are dairy and coconut, giving anyone who is dairy-free a chance to enjoy a chilled treat.
“We got the dairy base ADL cream. We don’t use any white processed sugar, we sweeten with P.E.I. Maple Syrup Company, our non-dairy base is coconut cream,” Beaton said.
Ingredients like fresh berries and brownies are put on top of the chosen base and chopped rapidly till the mixture is consistent. Then the mixture is spread out to cool down and forms into ice cream. At just the right moment the ice cream is scraped off the cold plate and forms rolls which are placed into a container and garnished fittingly.
Beaton first saw the rolled ice cream technique in Calgary with her father.
“It was crazy and it was delicious, but the one thing I didn’t like about it was everything was chock-full of sugar... while it was delicious it was just too sweet for my liking.”
Beaton and MacLeod aren’t going for the super sweet taste, they have flavours offering alternatives to sweetness like The Tragically Hipster made with Penny's Farms Island strawberries and graham cracker with Liquid Gold's balsamic drizzle.
“We made a decision to use all pure, natural, local ingredients. We don’t want to have anything we don’t want to put into or own body,” MacLeod said.
“We just wanted to bring something that was just a little bit different and a little bit more up our alley because we don’t like to overload ourselves with a lot of sugar. So, we changed out rules a little bit to be more suitable for our lifestyle,” Beaton said.
However, there remains a place on the menu for someone looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. The Chocolate Affair features a Stir it Up vegan chocolate brownie and cocoa with a homemade chocolate drizzle.
Before opening Truckin’ Roll last week neither Beaton nor McLeod had any business or culinary experience. MacLeod grew up on P.E.I. but has spend the last five years in the Caribbean and Mediterranean working on boats, he said, but he is living in Orwell now.
“I do a lot of fishing here – lobster and halibut and tuna and stuff – so this is all new to me.”
Beaton was also born on P.E.I. but spent most her life in Western Canada before moving home two years ago.
The couple didn't realize all the things which came along with starting a business, like keeping up with demand.
“It’s go-time from the moment we open the hatch,” MacLeod said.
People even approach the business before they open. Wait times have been long in their first week reaching an hour at times. Each ice cream takes about two minutes to make Beaton said, but not a lot of people complain. Truckin’ Roll is upfront about the wait if it is a busy day.
“As long as they are not caught off guard that there is a wait they are typically OK. Most people understand the ice cream is being made in front of you. People are understanding.”
So far Beaton thinks Truckin’ Roll’s second week of operation is going well.
“We didn’t know the response would be so high so quickly. I mean there is a lineup from when we open to when we close. The support Charlottetown has shown has been huge. We just had to take the chance and pull the trigger. We are doing our best to keep up with everyone, and as long as everyone wants to buy ice cream we’ll be here.”