Duck Island are one of our favourite companies to work with! We make the aprons you’ll see their teams wearing while they serve up your favourite scoop (or scoops, we’re not judging) of delicious Duck Island ice cream.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Kim and Reb and get a behind-the-scenes look at where they get inspiration for new flavour ideas, why they strive for sustainable practices, where their ingredients come from and they even tell us about the strangest ice cream flavour they’ve ever made!
If you haven’t tried Duck Island yet, we highly recommend that you do. They make the best ice cream with flavours that are simply delicious.
What's your view on sustainability at Duck Island?
All of our scoop store packaging like cups, napkins and sticks are recyclable or compostable. There's an awesome company in Hamilton called saveBOARD who make building supplies out of non-recyclable packaging like tetra paks, so that's where our coconut milk cartons go to be up-cycled.
Even seemingly small things like using metal teaspoons for our tasters can help make a big difference in the long run. The overruling view on sustainability at Duck Island to continue to learn, do what we can where we can and put practices in place that support our people and planet.
Take us behind the scenes… how are your ingredients sourced?
We source fresh, seasonal and local ingredients as much as possible. We use Anchor milk and cream for our ice cream bases, Whittakers chocolate for all our choccy needs and we source our strawberries from Punnet, a Waikato strawberry farm. Our Peanut Butter Cookie Dough is made with PB from Fix and Fogg, and Rocket Coffee supplies the goods for our Coffee Coconut Cream. We use Volare brioche to infuse the base of our Fairy Bread for that buttery, bready flavour.
We love love love to collab with other cool Aotearoa food businesses too! Wellington Chocolate Factory made an Ambrosia chocolate bar based on one of our ice creams and we've done an ice cream activation in the Fix and Fogg window serving Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream on waffles. Keep an eye on our socials to see what we're up to next!
How many ice creams do you serve up per month?
It's hard to say as it can fluctuate so greatly depending on the time of year, what the weather is doing and more generally what's happening in the community. Summer is obviously our favourite time of year, but even a warm winter day can be quite busy, especially if it's the school holidays.
Events that bring in out-of-town folks like WOW, Cuba Dupa and Wellington on a Plate (especially foodie events like WOAP) also tend to get more people coming into our scoop stores. If you want an actual number our kitchen is turning out a massive 4000 litres of ice creamper day at the moment, which not only supplies our 5 scoop shops but also keeps the shelves full at our supermarket retailers.
What are your most popular flavours?
Our most popular flavours at the moment would probably be Fairy Bread (it actually won the People's Choice award at the ice cream awards), Milk Chocolate Fudge and Pecan Butterscotch. Salted Caramel Cacao Crumb and White Chocolate Pomegranate and Macadamia are crowd favourites too.
What is the strangest ice cream flavour you've made?
One of the coolest flavours we've made, in my opinion, is the 'Fiesta' flavour which was the winner of our Flavour Creators competition. We tasked kids from school years 0 - 8 to come up with a new ice cream flavour for us to scoop in our stores with the proceeds going to the winners school to fund science and innovation projects. We had so many amazing and creative entries, it was actually so hard to choose!
Fiesta had a creamy cinnamon base, churros, dulce de leche and white chocolate covered salsa corn chips. The corn chips were our favourite part. We recently had Vegemite Toast ice cream for Halloween which was pretty out there but somehow so, so delicious.
Where do you get inspiration for new flavours from?
Our team of flavour developers draw inspiration from nostalgic childhood treats, for example our Fairy Bread, Ambrosia, Belgian Biscuit and Lolly Cake flavours.
Seasonal and local produce is also a huge factor in what we're making. For example, over summer we have the Fresh Minty Chip flavour which is made with fresh local garden mint. In winter we swap that flavour out for Orange Blossom Chocolate Chip to line up with the citrus season.
Holidays are a really fun time for the kitchen because they can be extra creative with their specials, you'll see flavours like Santa Snacks (chocolate chip cookie dough with carrot jam, yes please) and Hot Cross Bun in our cabinets around Christmas and Easter. These are flavours from last year, we're not sure what the kitchen is planning for this year but we can't wait to find out.
What made you choose Little Yellow Bird for your aprons?
We’re all about supporting other small local sustainable businesses. LYB seemed like the obvious choice for us because their workwear is ethically made, sustainably sourced and we can send back our aprons to be recycled into new fibres! How cool is that!
Anything else we should know about Duck Island?
Everything is still small batch and hand made, it's just now lots and lots (and lots) of small batches. Each marshmallow in our Toasted Marshmallow ice cream is hand-toasted so we know they have the exact right amount of toasti-ness. Any inclusions in our ice creams, like cookie dough, cake, praline, crumbs and swirls are all made by our stunning bakers in our production kitchen.
The amount of love and hard mahi that goes into every single ice cream still blows me away, and being able to be the final step in that process by handing over that ice cream to our customers is an awesome feeling.
Gia and Bree, pictured above, are part of the Duck Island team at the Wellington store.
Thank you Reb and Kim for sharing the inside scoop on Duck Island and for choosing LYB for your aprons and workwear. We love working alongside awesome brands, like you, doing such tasty things!
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