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Meet the Delhiwaala | The Ice Cream Man

    By Aditi Datta

    We all scream for ice-cream, but nothing screams louder than Pawan Malhotra’s love for our favourite frozen dessert. Winding down after an impressive corporate career, he is now an executive coach and the Thinking Partner of his ice-cream business. We chatted with the man who’s been serving ice-cream to Delhi’s ministers, minstrels, and everyone in between.

    Talk about doing what you love! You like ice-cream quite a bit then?

    I love it. There is no corner of the world that I haven’t had ice-cream in. I’ve had it in freezing places like Moscow and Minsk, and flavours like Green Tea in London and Lavender in Paris. Recently, in Rajkot, I went to 14 restaurants one after the other to try different flavours - 2-3 flavours at each restaurant, so more like 35-40 flavours in total!

    When did this become a business?

    We lived in Muscat for a while. One day they decided to stop importing Godiva, since I was the only person eating it! {laughs} So I started making my own.

    From there to here?

    At a charity event in Muscat, we sold $1000 worth of ice-cream! I remember it was very stormy and I had thought we wouldn’t sell any. Someone asked me what it was called and I just said “P&B” for Pawan and Bina. That’s been our brand name since.

    You had a brand name! That’s when things got serious?

    I was in Pakistan soon after, and I asked my local guide to show me the best ice-cream in town, as usual. He took me to a kulfi stall, and the man there had the kind of machine I wanted! So I asked him “bhai, kahan se lee hai?” He didn’t know, but next thing I knew he had packed it up for me and said “aap yehi wali rakh lijiye.”

    Is that the machine you still use?

    After 4 years, I had to upgrade. I went to Italy to look for one. I got a Caprigiani machine there that I still use. I’ll never forget, one of the young people I met there called me “the last gelato poet.”

    What’s business like now?

    We can make about 40 litres of ice-cream a day. For our specialty Fig & Honey ice-cream, figs come from a grower in Srinagar, and the honey comes from an organic farm Chandigarh. My wife’s Lemon ice-cream is quite popular, and lemons are tough to find. So we even grow some things in our garden – and chikoos, guavas, and anar. But not the chocolate! That comes from Belgium. We use low sugar, low fat and even that is the good kind of fat. And we use fresh fruit. We also customise - soy milk based ones for the lactose intolerant, and flavours basis what people enjoy.

    Where does Bina come in?

    Bina is the reason I can do all this. She is excellent in the kitchen and if I ask her how to balance cinnamon and cloves in ice-cream, she will always know what to do. Bina makes a great salted caramel ice-cream!

    If we can be cheeky, how did you meet?

    I knew her from my Calcutta days, when she worked at Grindlays. She was also a radio jockey back then! When we started courting, I’d buy her a book if she ever fell sick. But she’d finish it in two days! So I made friends with the booksellers on Park Street, who showed me how to read a whole book without cracking the spine.

    If you're looking to buy some P&B ice cream, it'll cost you INR 1000-1500 per litre. 500 ml packs are also available. Free delivery within Gurgaon for a minimum order of 3 litres. INR 100 charge for delivery to Delhi & Noida. To place an order or to find out more: Email or call Pawan Malhotra on +91-99999 04992