By Stephanie Meditz
Heritage Kulfi, a family-owned business with a unique spin on the popular South Asian dessert, continues to spread to markets around the country.
Born in Manhattan to Pakistani parents, Mansoor Ahmed founded Heritage Kulfi in 2020.
After years of experience in the frozen dessert industry, he was inspired to bring his South Asian heritage to a wider audience.
“In 2020, with the onset of COVID and how everything was being impacted, I just had to take a step back and try to create something that was entirely mine and something new and innovative in which I could be creative,” he said.
“It also speaks to my own identity, the foods I grew up with, and something that’s new to the world of frozen desserts.”
Kulfi is a creamy, dense, South Asian frozen dessert that is traditionally served in popsicle form.
By making kulfi into an ice cream-like texture, Ahmed brings something new to the table while still honoring his roots.
He also incorporates ingredients and flavors commonly found in South Asian cuisine, including cardamom chai, rosewater and saffron.
“Our flavors that we offer, you won’t find anywhere else,” Ahmed said. “That’s keeping in line with traditionally what kulfi is, but also being innovative in using these ingredients in a particular way.”
Ahmed ensures that the ice cream is made with authentic ingredients every step of the way.
He sources Alphonso mangoes directly from India to use in his products.
“I find one ingredient that I want to focus on, find the best one and give it that space to breathe and shine,” he said.
“Between all our flavors, you’ll find high butter fat content, which means that they’re very creamy. And we slow-cook all of our ingredients directly into the ice cream mix. What that does is it allows for a very bold, infused flavor profile.”
Heritage Kulfi is on the shelf in various markets in the five boroughs, such as Lincoln Market across Brooklyn, Tariq Halal Meats in Flushing, as well as Key Food Supermarkets and Vitelio’s Marketplace locations throughout Queens, but the company expands its reach daily.
“I’m really excited to make the product available to more and more people…I’m working to add several hundred accounts in the next few months,” Ahmed said. “It’s really about continuously exploring these ingredients and trying to bring something new and exciting to the world of ice cream.”
In addition to several new flavors, Heritage Kulfi will see a line of vegan ice cream early next year.
Based in Princeton, N.J., Ahmed delivers his ice cream to markets around the tri-state area in an ice cream truck of sorts.
“It’s not your traditional ice cream truck, but because of my background in frozen distribution, one of the most exciting parts was being connected to store owners and also getting feedback from actual customers,” he said. “You can find my truck going around and visiting stores, but also keeping in touch.”
Ahmed is thrilled to share his kulfi creations with one of the most diverse cities in the world.
“Kulfi is obviously Queens. Everyone knows about kulfi in a certain way,” he said. “It’s a twist on kulfi…so I hope that people will try it. Even though certain flavors are kind of mainstream, like coconut or vanilla bean, you’ll find that ours has a different style to it. People will often say, ‘This is the best vanilla we’ve ever tasted.’”
To learn more about Heritage Kulfi and where to purchase a 16oz pint, visit their website, https://heritagekulfi.com.