Launched in 2014, Mr. E’s Freeze is a delicious nondairy-dessert business based in Santa Barbara and run by Nicole Kiel and her business partner, the mysterious Mr. E, who developed the unique, ice-cream-like product. With a base of pureed bananas and coconut milk, Mr. E’s Freeze is distinct from many other nondairy desserts.
Kiel makes the nondairy ice cream by hand, packages it herself, and then distributes it, too. There are three flavors: original (which is banana), chocolate, and strawberry. They all rely on the same banana-coconut milk base, but Kiel melts in chocolate and uses pureed strawberries for the other flavors. Their consistency is somewhat icier than ice cream, much like Italian ice, and the flavors are very familiar.
Like all new business ventures, Kiel’s is enduring challenges, but her optimism is helpful. “One of the hardest things is to get people to try something they have never tried before,” she said. “But once they try it, they always love it.” Her goal is to “stay positive!” and realize that for every four noes, there will usually be one yes. She was also happily surprised to find out how many people are dairy-free these days.
“I never saw myself running a nondairy-dessert company, making coupons, T-shirts, and flyers,” said Kiel, who is happy and having fun. “It’s hard, but problems mean progress!” —Olivia Irion
Mr. E’s Freeze is currently available at Pacific Health Foods in Carpinteria, Tri-County Produce, and El Rancho Market in Santa Ynez. After Thanksgiving, it will also be in Lazy Acres. See facebook.com/MrEsFreeze.