AUSTIN, TEXAS – After Snehee Chaplot received her master of science in food science from the University of Minnesota in 2009, she held food safety and operations positions with Tyson Foods, The Kraft Heinz Co. and Nestle before a debilitating digestive illness prevented her from holding a full-time job. With a passion for food and the mind of a scientist, she set out “to use food to heal me,” she said. In 2015 she founded The Food Shop, Houston, and in August 2019 launched her first product line, Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream.
Mawa ice cream is made with milk and mawa, which are South Asian milk solids. Traditional mawa is prepared by slow cooking full-fat milk for many hours, reducing it to one-fifth its volume by removing moisture. The solids have rich, caramelized notes, which when used in the manufacture of ice cream, results in a “creamier than gelato” frozen dessert, said Ms. Chaplot.
“My early years with the big brands provided a foundation for me to want to build products,” she said. “So, I set out to develop a more efficient technology to produce mawa without losing anything good from milk.”
That technology provides 95% yield in one-sixth of the time. The mawa is the key ingredient of her ice cream base.
Ms. Chaplot collaborated with local farmers to ensure the quality of milk. As a vegetarian who practices ayurvedic medicine, Ms. Chaplot recognized the importance of keeping dairy foods in her diet, even though Western doctors were telling her to avoid it. Her research suggested that all milk is not created equal and that the way cows are treated and raised influences the composition of the milk, with some compositions, such as A2 protein content, rendering them more tolerable than others by humans with dairy sensitivities. By starting with quality milk and concentrating it into mawa, the consumer gets more of the good stuff.
Gallivant means “to travel, roam or move about for pleasure,” according to Merriam-Webster.
“Many of us have a memory of an authentic local ice cream either while visiting our loved ones or while we are on our own travel adventures around the world,” Ms. Chaplot said. “Once we come back to our homes, we miss that one flavor that completely blew our minds. I started thinking, having traveled to nearly 60 countries and being introduced to the diverse authentic culinary flavors and cuisines from around the world, why not recreate these flavors.”
Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream currently comes in 10 flavors, including African chocolate, Chinese black sesame, Guatemalan cardamom, Indian mango, Japanese matcha, Madagascar vanilla, Persian pistachio, Spain saffron, Thailand coconut and Vietnamese coffee.
“Our suppliers source these ingredients directly from where their roots are and thereby give us 100% assurance on their authenticity and freshness,” Ms. Chaplot said. “And we currently use one co-packer located in the Houston area.”
In August 2019, the company started selling its frozen desserts at farmers’ markets and other events in Texas, and in January 2020 entered the retail space. Like many startups, the pandemic upset the business model, but a quick pivot allowed nationwide direct-to-consumer delivery via the website. In Houston, delivery is free. Ms. Chaplot said several distribution contracts are under negotiation and recent exposure at the Museum of Ice Cream in Austin, Texas, has helped spread the brand through social media.
From December until Jan. 9, 2022, visitors to the Museum of Ice Cream were treated to a free scoop or two of Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream as a way to celebrate the holiday season and “stay cool” while enjoying the museum’s numerous interactive exhibits that celebrate everything ice cream.
“We’re happy and honored that the Museum of Ice Cream team chose Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream as the brand to feature during their special and important Christmas and New Year’s celebration,” Ms. Chaplot said.
Victor Martino, director of sales and marketing for Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream, said, “The team members at the Museum of Ice Cream tasted Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream in early November and gave it a rave review, which led to their decision to choose our brand for their event and celebration.”
This past May, Gallivant Mawa Ice Cream was named one of five finalists in the ice cream/frozen dessert category in the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2021.