There’s something beautiful and bewitching about ice cream. Your love for it grows with age, untarnished by those naysayers who claim that it will make you fat. Don’t listen to them; they’re just lying to you.
Some people look at ice cream as a classic emotional remedy for all of life’s problems, while others consider it as a celebration of milestones and success. That’s why ice cream always works. No one knows this better than Dana Al-Fulaij, Co-Founder of Kuwait’s locally crafted ice cream concept, The Urban Creamery.
“Everybody is a fan of ice cream. I clearly remember our childhood days, going to the ice cream cart usually parked outside our school and asking around for extra money to get some!” Dana told bazaar. Along with her four sisters, they turned this pastime into a daily indulgence at the Urban Creamery.
What most people don’t know, however, is that the Fulaij sisters were initially known for their infamous cookies. They have an exacting recipe for their classic chocolate chip cookies that will instantly get you hooked. These cookies are so good that after years of school bake sales filled with their different cookies during Dana’s formative years, she contributed the recipe to her senior year time capsule. She added, “We still haven’t opened the time capsule yet, so I hope no one knows where it is!” With this early start in baking, it comes as no surprise that the Creamwich, basically an ice cream cookie sandwich, is one of the Urban Creamery’s best sellers.
Both Dana and her other sisters are avid bakers. In fact, the entire family is always there for Dana when it comes to The Urban Creamery’s marketing activities, financials, and crafting the best of flavors to add to their line of offerings. This makes the Urban Creamery a family affair, as it is also inspired by familial childhood memories and flavors. Dana explained that, “We’ve never set out, or intend to become a huge conglomerate. We like preparing our ice creams in small batches.”
They discovered their affinity for ice cream while living in Boston. Dana recounted how people in Boston and the North East love their ice cream, even in the dead of winter. “They love their ice cream freshly churned and handmade with love, and artisanal creameries are the norm. When we all came back home to Kuwait for our family gatherings, we’d make a batch and test different flavors that we’ve tried before. We would also attempt to recreate flavors that we’ve grown up with – that’s where it all began.”
Dana knew that they were on the right track when they perfected their now-famous Chai Haleeb & Baskoot (aromatic tea with milk) ice cream flavor that is inspired by their mother’s love for it. From there, they went on to create flavors that are well thought out and prepared with great quality ingredients. The Urban Creamery refrains from using any additives, and the unique combinations that you taste when sampling their TUCaramel ice cream, for instance, happen from using these actual ingredients. Even their coffee flavored ice cream features real coffee beans. They don’t employ the use of extracts, fake syrups, or unnecessary sugars. Everything is produced in the little store located in downtown Sharq. On coming up with their strangely addictive winning combinations, Dana said that the Chai Haleeb & Baskoot flavor spurred them to become more inventive. “We’ve always been a Chai Haleeb and digestive biscuits type of family. I especially love it when the biscuits settle at the bottom of the mug. That flavor is indescribable! Recreating that sensation through ice cream is a challenge, but it is definitely a fun one!”
The Chai Haleeb & Baskoot flavor might have been an ode to their family traditions, but soon after many establishments flocked to the Urban Creamery to enlist their help in creating a signature flavor that is unique to said establishment. Perhaps the most ideal example that best describes their process is the Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake flavor that they developed for Lorenzo restaurant’s seasonal menu. The spice combinations echoed with the restaurant’s autumn menu. Dana further revealed that any flavor that the Urban Creamery creates for an establishment becomes only theirs.
Some of their other top sellers include the Mohalabeya flavor, topped with caramelized pistachios and the Arabic coffee with dates was a huge hit last summer. There’s also the highly anticipated and always amazing rahash flavor, with treated Persian bread that is caramelized and baked so it stays crunchy while you eat it! Keep your noses, eyes and stomachs peeled as they plan on reintroducing this flavor for this upcoming Ramadan. We asked Dana how they come up with these combinations, and she laughingly said, “We’re mainly inspired by our cravings! But we also read, and we love following food trends to taste these combinations to see how we can make them work as ice creams. But the reality is quite simple, if it’s not delicious and we don’t like it, we won’t serve it!” In all fairness, Dana, along with the team at the Urban Creamery, might stay away from plain vanilla, but will offer you a ridiculously addictive Corn Flakes flavor. They also customize orders based on their clients’ needs, paying heed to allergy sufferers.
Just like its owners, the Urban Creamery is driven by the fun loving attitude of its owners. This is a place of fun and indulgence. A place where the word diet is forbidden, and while many might quickly call ice cream a junkie meal, the flavors at the Urban Creamery prove that indulging every once in a while is never a bad thing when done properly. Dana added “I would never claim that our ice creams are healthy per say, but they are definitely clean as they are prepared with fresh and natural ingredients. I don’t think dessert should be anything but indulgent!”
You might also have noticed their famous ice cream cart at Qout Market. While they could have gone with any other easier and practical mode of presentation, they wanted to recreate that sensation of catching the ice cream cart before its driver wheels it away! For this reason, Dana and her sisters actually bought an ice cream cart off of a guy on the street, renovated it, and the rest is history! You’ll see this cart at any of the markets they participate in, or at catered events.
Dana’s vision for the Urban Creamery is definitely one that revolves around real passion and fun, as she and her sisters are simply enjoying the process of creating whimsical, fantastic flavors that will make you take that much needed pause from an awfully hectic day to enjoy a comforting scoop of ice cream. Okay, maybe two scoops. And a cookie.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Two cookies with ice cream in between (a creamwich).
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m very emotional.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Being sly (not Stallone).
Which living person(s) do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
My Aramex bills.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
No wayyyyy / Masaddig!
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could have any job, what would it be?
Judge on Iron Chef America.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting the courage to do this interview.
What is your most treasured possession?
My kids, and my Apple TV play-list.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Where would you most like to live?
What are your favorite words to live by?
Found on Hellman’s Mayonnaise “Keep cool, don’t freeze” (but this does not apply to Ice cream – always freeze ice cream!)
You can get your fix from The Urban Creamery by passing by their shop, calling for delivery, or ordering through The Outlet app that is available on Android and Apple App stores. The Urban Creamery is located in the ground floor of Sami Tower in Sharq and is open from 1 pm to 9 pm, closed on Sundays. Call 6004 2034 for delivery inquiries and 6008 6010 for catering inquiries. You can follow them on Instagram @urbancreamery.