Magic Fountain’s ice cream tastes noticeably different.
And while as a frequent flyer, I have chocked it up to magic, destination, and my overall love for the cold stuff, the reporter in me—finally—asked questions.
Owner Choudry Ali, known as simply “Ali,” was kind enough to offer a look behind his “magic” by providing a step-by-step process:
STEP 1: Finding the right “mix”
Ali sources his ice cream “mix” from an upstate farm providing quality ingredients relying heavily on the milk.
Due to several regulations in homogenized milk, Ali said, it’s best to use a pre-made mix for the ice cream base, though he was particularly picky when selecting the one.
His “mix” he said, includes milk, sugar, and stabilizer with high-quality ingredients and a lot more dairy than any other ice cream mixes.
“You can tell when it starts to melt—our ice cream has pools of dairy after 5 to 10 minutes,” he said. “Others tend to have melted corn syrup. That’s the big difference in our ice cream.”
STEP 2: Sourcing the best and local ingredients
Creating new and tasty flavors is Ali’s specialty, but it also requires hard work and a lot of thought. He said he tries his best to source his ingredients locally, but also uses some from suppliers during the off-season and will order special ingredients, like mangoes from India.
He has a local strawberry supplier, buys figs from a local customer with trees, and even grows lots of his own ingredients in his own backyard.
This week, he is getting local honey and is expecting a delivery of raspberries and blackberries for mixed-berries and blackberry-ginger flavors, as well as some dragon fruit for a new “coco loco” dragon flavor with coconut. And, in the next few weeks, he anticipates local peaches for his signature fresh local peaches flavor, sure not to be missed!
STEP 3: Cutting, cleaning and marinating
After sourcing the very best ingredients, Ali begins to clean and cut everything. Some flavors, he explained, also require marinating, and can sometimes sit (cooled) for 24 to 48 house before being turned into ice cream.
STEP 4: Adding the mix to the machine and freezer
Once the mix is ready and the flavor is set, it is put into the machines, which takes about 20 minutes, per batch, for it to be ready. Then, it sits in a blast freezer at minus-25 degrees overnight. After that, the ice cream is moved to a fanless chest freezer, so that the dairy doesn’t get shocked and start melting too fast when placed at scooping temperature.
STEP 5: Bringing it to the front of the store
The ice cream is then set at a radiant cold plus-5-degree scooping temperature at the counter and is ready to serve. From there, the ice cream, he said, needs to be consumed within three to four days. The long lines outside help with that.
STEP 6: Eat and enjoy!
My only battle is deciding on the flavor; luckily, with three children and a husband, I get to sample a few, if they are in the sharing mood.
MAGIC FOUNTAIN FACTS
How much ice cream is produced in a week?
The answer, though not precise, is a lot! Ali said he has machines running from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. producing batches every 20 minutes in several machines, five days a week.
The ice cream shop also offers novelties and cakes, made on premises daily.
Ali, the lead ice cream maker, estimates he spends close to 80 hours and upwards of 100 hours per week making his specialty flavors.
“Absolutely, I love it; otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it,” he said of his passion.
Ali prides himself in having moved to the United States from Pakistan at 18 years old. He has also brought a bit of home to the business, with middle-Asian twists like Kulfi.