There is something about our childhood that makes us want to take a one way ticket back through a time portal! Though the task is beyond the bounds of possibility, we can satiate our inner child by a small trip near Broadway. Right next to the entrance to Broadway in the CSI complex, there sits a legendary building that has been true classic ice creams since the year 1987. The rekindler of sweet reminisces is my go to happy place- CARAVAN ICE CREAMS!
I still remember the umpteen number of times my parents had taken my siblings and i to the mecca of delicious frozen treats! I used to sit atop the car bonnet and cherish my favorite butterscotch ice cream in a cone. The parlor has had a complete face lift with a running industry grunge theme but the ice cream still tastes of childhood and utter joy!
It was a fan girl moment as i met the man behind the legendary Caravan, Mr. Rajeev, sweet and ever smiling he shared that it was his first interview after a gap of 15 years…i couldn’t have been more honored! Joining us was his son Rajath who has been closely working with the renovations and media promotions.
The story behind Caravan is inspirational. “I was visiting my uncle in Florida” says Mr Rajeev “I was thoroughly enamored by the variety of ice creams available and i thought to myself, why can’t i start my own ice cream store in Cochin? It was never my plan to be a businessman but the thought of ‘why not’ came into play and Caravan was born!”
When Caravan made its foray into the market space, there were not too many players in the ice cream scene. Infact initial customers labelled Caravan as the place that taught them to enjoy ice cream with a spoon! The stellar fact here is that Caravan ice creams are all home made. The basic ice cream mix is brought from home, churned at the outlet and served fresh! Starting with the basic flavours of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and butterscotch, the ice creams store slowly expanded to lesser known and more unique flavours.
The name Caravan holds a special place in Mr Rajeev’s heart as it was named after a favorite Hindi movie titled Caravan. Moreover, he wanted to include the element of joy people experienced while travelling. The most popular concoctions sold at Caravan till date are their Chocolate sundaes, butterscotch sundaes, Caravan special and Falooda. Though there was a chef during the inception phase for recipe preparation, soon Mr Rajeev took the reigns and there has been no stopping him since!
Though changing trends and tastes have taken a toll on Caravan; there is a big group of faithfuls (myself included) who have been frequenting the joint since it opened. “We have a family that comes in quite often and all of them order only orange shakes!” says Rajath “The recurring customers have their favorites and they order the same thing every time they come. They have an association of comfort with Caravan.”
The sheer amount of memories the building houses is simply immeasurable! Mr Rajeev fondly remembers a time when a newly wedded couple arrived with the complete bridal convoy and started they journey with sundaes from Caravan and another time when a wedding was actually conducted there! “I am happiest when i serve my customers and witness their delight first hand!” says Mr Rajeev with a big smile “All our old customers come with their children and that brings to life so many happy memories!”
With the younger generation getting involved in the business, changes are quite visible; the complete refurbishing being one; though the old chairs and tables have been retained. Rajath is the young man behind the introduction of the brownie sundae which has become quite a hit! Due credit goes to his mum, the baker behind the rich and luscious brownies! “We have in mind to bring about more products such as ice cream sandwiches, and re building our softies set up” shares Rajath.
“The new look is just a beginning” assures Mr. Rajeev. “In the near future, we plan to open more outlets and introduce some exclusive sweet treats!”
This faithful customer cannot wait!