For many consumers ice cream is an indulgence that they simply can’t give up, recession or not.

And when they learn that this luscious treat comes in fresh tropical flavours such as mango, coconut, jackfruit and lychee, it seems mouths start watering even more.

“We’ve noticed that our sales of exotic ice cream has risen during recession times,” says Rumi Keshavjee, 43, president of Tropical Treets, based in Scarborough at 130 Bermondsey Rd. “In fact, it’s up 10 to 15 per cent.”

“In tough times like these, people have to indulge in a little treat and to take your kids for ice cream is a quick fix from the fear and anxiety you are feeling,” he says.

Keshavjee and his parents, brother and sister, who are all originally from Pretoria, South Africa, launched the company nearly 18 years ago in Canada.

Their first ice-cream offerings included mango, coconut, rum and raisin and grapenut. These fresh, tantalizing flavours were an instant hit, he says, and the company responded by adding even more exotic treats to its line.

These included pistachio, saffron and rose, as well as the West Indian favourite soursop. This is a custard-apple fruit with tart white flesh which Keshavjee says was first introduced to the annual Caribana Festival held each August in Toronto.

Rose milk is a very popular beverage served at East Indian weddings, he says, “so we took the concept into ice cream and now it is one of our top sellers.”

There is even an ice cream flavoured with Ovaltine, better known as a chocolate malt bedtime drink.

Keshavjee says it’s hard to find the cereal in Canada to produce the grapenut flavour, “so we have to bring it in from the U.S. and then we add some barley, whole wheat and malt.”

The plant houses a small ice-cream parlour so that visitors and neighbours can drop by for a tropical ice-cream cone or to purchase one-litre containers of the dessert for their home freezers. Besides supplying their ice creams to ethnic restaurants and specialty stores across Canada, Tropical Treets can be found in select supermarkets, says Kehavjee.

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