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Food & Dining: Indian Ice Cream Parlor in Metro Atlanta

By Sucheta Rawal Email By Sucheta Rawal
September 2023
Food & Dining: Indian Ice Cream Parlor in Metro Atlanta

 Relive your childhood with flavors like tutti-frutti, mitha paan, chickoo, lychee, sitaphal, cassata, and more at the two locations of Kwality Ice Cream in metro Atlanta.

Growing up in the ’80s in India, there were not many ice cream stores around us. Brands like Vadilal and Baskin Robbins emerged much later. The most premium ice cream nearby was Kwality. I remember there was only one store in the bustling market of Sector 17 in Chandigarh.

Going there was a special treat! We often stopped by after a packed day of shopping in the sweltering summer heat. On special occasions, our family would make a dedicated trip there. The cold mist of the room, the bright-colored creamy tubs, and the many pictures of creative sundaes excited both the adults and the kids. Our orders are still etched in my memory— my grandma would get the classic vanilla, myFood_04_09_23.jpg mom’s favorite was pineapple, and I loved butterscotch. We would sit at the tabletops in a corner of the brightly-lit room and devour sugar cones and paper cups filled with creamy scoops within minutes. Occasionally, we would take home an ice cream brick, poorly packaged in thin paper cartons, which often resulted in a melted mess by the time we got home.

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[Right ] (Photo: Debox Consulting)

[Left  ](Photo: Sucheta Rawal).

The classic cassata—the famous triple-layered ice cream bar with vanilla, tutti-frutti, pistachio, and a slice of dry sponge cake.

Since then, I have had a lot of better tasting, good quality ice creams around the world. I even went to the Gelato and Pastry Institute of America in New York and got professionally trained in making gelato.

Yet, I got super excited to see a Kwality store in my neck of the woods in Atlanta.

I had to find out if this was indeed the same Kwality brand that I remember from my childhood. It turns out that the original Kwality Foods in India was co-founded by food scientist Dr. Kanti Parekh Ph.D. but after an acquisition by Unilever (which still produces the original brand under the name Kwality Wall’s) in 1995, he was let go. The company altered recipes to contain less milk and the quality of Kwality ice creams deteriorated.

Food_06_09_23.jpg

But since the brand name “Kwality” was not trademarked in the United States, Dr. Parekh opened his own shop and factory in Edison, New Jersey, in 2002. The ice cream is now made fresh daily at the flagship location and shipped out in temperature-controlled trucks to 20 franchise-owned stores around the country.

What makes Kwality stand out is its pure and recognizable taste. The 56 kinds of ice creams and frozen desserts are all-natural, GMO-free, and eggless. Made with high butterfat milk and very little sugar, the flavors are intense and luscious, different from most super sweet American ice cream brands.

[Right] Paan Pasand falooda. (Photo: Debox Consulting)

Food_02_09_23.jpgThere are two locations of Kwality Ice Cream parlors in metro Atlanta—Sandy Springs (opened in 2018) and Cumming (opened just recently in 2023)— where you can taste some of the tropical fruit and Indian- inspired flavors to relive your childhood. While you can purchase ready-made pints of Indian ice cream brands at most Indo-Pak grocery stores, these are the only Indian dine-in ice cream parlors in metro Atlanta.

The stores, however, are small and basic with only a few colorful metallic chairs lined up against the walls and no place to gather on a summer evening. The ice cream scoops and specialty sundaes are served in unbranded Styrofoam bowls and paper plates, while a roll of brown paper (typically found in bathrooms) is offered as a replacement for napkins.

The wall-printed menu, offering a variety of confusing falooda novelties, is somewhat difficult to read. The kulfi falooda, for instance, is a scoop of malai kulfi ice cream that tastes like icicles rather than creamy luscious texture and comes topped with rice noodles, sweet rose syrup, and an overwhelming quantity of basil seeds floating in a bowl. You could get it as a sliced kulfi or a smoothie-style drink as well.

[Left] Packaged options to take home.
(Photo: Sucheta Rawal)
 

The classic cassata—the famous triple-layered ice cream bar with vanilla, tutti-frutti, pistachio, and a slice of dry sponge cake, is so-so. I remember it tasting better when I ate it from the street carts in India. The tutti-frutti ice cream has a nice crunch from the dried fruits (pieces of papaya, pineapple, orange, lemon, and cherry)—similar to what you would find in a fruit cake. Butterscotch completely lacks pieces of caramelized toffee and has a faint caramel profile. Perhaps the most unique, and better tasting, ice cream is Mitha Paan, the sweet herbal betel leaf ice cream blended with fennel seeds, rose petals, and cardamom.

The place carries many fresh tropical fruit flavors that are rarely found elsewhere and invoke a sense of nostalgia. Take, for instance, aromatic Alphonso mango from Ratnagiri, sweet chickoo or sapota (sapodilla), refreshing lychee, and the slightly grainy sitaphal (custard apple). Most have strong fruit flavors but also have more icy chunks than creamy ice cream— even more so in the take-home pints than in the display tubs.

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If you have dietary restrictions, Kwality also offers eight sugar-free flavors including rose petals, figs, and pistachio, as well as vegetarian ice cream cakes.

While Kwality proposes a unique product catering to the South Asian market segment looking for comforting flavors of home, it lacks the ambiance to provide the fun experience you seek when you go out to an ice cream shop. Without seating, freshly-made cones, and a tempting presentation, it is hard to justify making a special trip; but if you happen to be in the area, make sure to sample a few flavors and bring home your favorite ones.

[​Top] Kulfi falooda (Photo: Sucheta Rawal)


Sucheta Rawal is an award-winning food and travel writer who has traveled to over 100 countries across seven continents, experiencing the world through her palate. She has been named one of the most influential cultural bloggers in the world for her blog Go Eat Give. Find her on social @SuchetaRawal.


 

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