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Small-Batch Ice Cream Maker to Debut at Annual Sunnyside Food Fest

By Jeanmarie Evelly | May 17, 2017 9:42am | Updated on May 17, 2017 9:49am
 Bliss Street Creamery's strawberry peppercorn ice cream.
Bliss Street Creamery's strawberry peppercorn ice cream.
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Courtesy Julie Blattberg/Bliss Street Creamery

SUNNYSIDE — Here's a neighborhood scoop: a new ice cream purveyor will be serving its sweet creations for the first time at this year's Taste of Sunnyside.

Bliss Street Creamery, a small-batch ice cream company launched by a longtime Sunnyside resident, will make its debut at the annual food festival on May 23, alongside tastings from dozens of other neighborhood eateries.

"It's literally our debut — our public debut," said owner Tavia Kowalchuk, who recently started the business after making her own ice cream at home for about a decade.

She decided to start serving her treats to the masses after participating in the Jamaica FEASTS Incubator, a Queens Library program that offers training and other resources for entrepreneurs working with food.

And while Bliss Street Creamery doesn't have a storefront yet — Kowalchuk currently leases kitchen space from another ice cream store in Brooklyn — she aims to serve her desserts at Sunnyside restaurants or as a pop-up at local events, with the goal of eventually opening a scoop shop of her own in the neighborhood.

"My business is in Queens, and it's where I'm going to sell my ice cream," said Kowalchuk, who works in publishing and has lived in the neighborhood for about 20 years. "My hope is the Sunnyside community will really embrace the idea."

She makes all of her ice cream in small batches, about three to five gallons at a time, doing much of the work by hand and using as many organic and locally sourced ingredients as possible.

"Each flavor is really crafted with a lot of attention," she said.

Her flavors include a chocolate "triple threat," — what she'll be serving up at Taste of Sunnyside — as well as a traditional vanilla bean that's "richer than your standard vanilla," plus an apricot kernel variety.

Kowalchuk says she also hopes to partner with local bakeries for ingredients to use as mixed-in toppings, like a lemon tart flavor she plans to make with neighborhood-sourced shortbread.

"I would really love to collaborate," she said.

Bliss Street Creamery will be one of nearly 30 Sunnyside restaurants and food vendors that visitors will be able to taste during next week's event, which will be held under a tent beneath the elevated 7 train tracks at the 46th Street station.

Other newcomers that will participate in the annual food festival include ceviche spot Dayboat, bar and restaurant Ida's Nearabout and the Moldovan eatery Boon by Moldova.

"We have a lot of restaurants that have opened in the neighborhood in the past year, year and a half," said Jaime-Faye Bean, director of the Sunnyside Shines BID, which organizes Taste of Sunnyside.

Longtime eateries will also be featured, offering an array of cuisines from countries across the globe, including Filipino food from Tito Rad's Grill, Turkish dishes from Mangal Kabob and Italian grub from Dazies, among others.

"You are sort of, through food, visiting four different continents, which I think is really cool," said Bean.

The event is an opportunity for locals to try new restaurants, as well as a way to introduce people from other parts of the city to the neighborhood's rich dining scene.

"We have an amazing restaurant scene here," she said. "Locally, people really believe it, but I don’t know outside of Sunnyside how much the word has gotten out."

Taste of Sunnyside will take place Tuesday, May 23 starting at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $40, while VIP tickets — which gain you entry an hour early — are $70. Tickets are expected to sell out.