We met Rosie Dalton at her family’s dairy farm to see why our chef Dan is so excited about their ice cream…
So Rosie, who’s in your team?
Daltons is a family business, consisting of my Dad, my brother and my sister in law who milk all the cows, then my Mum and I do all the ice cream, marketing, delivering, selling, customer service…etc…!
What made you start to make ice cream?
As people are increasingly aware, unfortunately supermarkets don’t give a good price to farmers for their milk so we were looking at other ways to add value to our product. Ice cream just sounded like a fun route to go down! We looked into cheese as well but cheese has a big start up investment cost and also this area attracts a lot of tourists so we thought ice cream would be a great thing to try.
When did you start making ice cream?
We started in June 2016, so not long ago. But with this past summer being so hot the ice cream has really taken off.
Do you make all the ice cream using milk from your own cows?
Yes, apart from the sorbets which are dairy free. We’ve got 500 cows on the farm so plenty of milk for making ice cream! Our tag line is ‘Happy cows, luxury taste”. Our cows are milked once a day rather than twice, or even three times as some intensive dairy farms do. When cows are less stressed, they give a better quality of milk, with more cream content, and creamier milk makes better ice cream. The cows are classed as ‘free range’ which means they are outdoors in the fields for more than 6 months of the year. Our cows only come into the barns December – February which is quite unusual for a dairy farm. They get to enjoy the fresh air and roam around all day. Our milking parlour is also outdoors, which is unusual, so makes them feel at ease. We are all about good quality of life for the cows. And I do think it is reflected in the ice cream – we have won several awards and the feedback we always get is “really creamy ice cream, proper dairy taste”, it’s definitely because of the happy cows!
Do your cows have names?
Yes, and my sister in law Rosa could tell you every single one! We name them in groups, so we’ve got the chocolate bar group: Twix, Mars, KitKat, Snicker. Then we have a group of birds: Blue Tit, Canary, a group of flowers… We have islands like Cyprus – she’s my favourite, she’s pretty and has big eyelashes! Mum’s favourite is Lundy, she’s an island. Most of them have the name written in their ear tag so you can see, it makes it more personal. (The beautiful girl pictured here is called Meg!)
What’s your favourite flavour?
Salted Caramel, we didn’t actually make it at the start but we introduced it as more and more customers asked for it, it’s very popular. This summer we’ve just done a Pineapple which is quite unusual as normally you would have pineapple as a sorbet but we’ve done it as ice cream. It’s like a pina colada, it’s so refreshing.
Obviously we all think ice cream is a summer thing, but I’ve come to see you in October, do you make any special winter flavours?
Yes, we’ve just come up with our Christmas range which includes: Amaretto and Black Cherry, Chocolate Orange which is literally like a Terry’s chocolate orange in ice cream form, it’s so good! Then we’ve got a Rum & Raisin – classic for Christmas, and a Spiced Apple and Cinnamon which is amazing with a hot apple tart. So of course it is a very seasonal product but I think if you’re going out for a meal in a restaurant, you’re never going to say no to ice cream!
Out of those which would you pick for your Christmas dinner?
Ooh OK, the Amaretto and Black Cherry is a real luxury one, a velvety amaretto with a black cherry ripple through it, to be honest you don’t need anything else with it, you could literally have two scoops of that and be very happy!
What type of stockists do you work with?
We have a massive variety of stockists including farm shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. I think this is quite a foodie area and more and more people are noticing where their food is coming from. So we get a lot of support from businesses in the area who want to offer a local high quality product, which is fantastic. As well as our stockists we have an honesty shop set up at the farm. It’s a cute little shed with picnic tables outside and is open 24/7. People just leave their money in the box and can sit out on the lawn and don’t have to talk to anyone! We’ve never had one thing stolen, we even had a little note one day saying ‘I owe you 50p!’ it’s amazing.
What do you like about The Kedleston?
Oh, we loved the luxury boutique look of the building and the beautiful interior. I like Dan, he seems really passionate about his menu and had loads of good ideas about ice cream flavours. Last week we made him a coconut sorbet, it was delicious with a really strong flavour. He’s put that with the cannelloni of pineapple with spiced rum cream, salt baked pineapple and coriander on the October menu. Then this week we’ve made him a salted peanut which I think he’s going to put with a chocolate torte. Also, we’ve got a wedding cart which would look so great at The Kedleston, so photogenic! It’s really trendy now to have an ice cream cart at your wedding, that’s really taken off this summer.
What’s your most popular flavour at weddings?
Salted caramel, everyone loves it! Amazingly it wasn’t even a flavour before 2009, and now everyone goes mad for it! I mean who thought to put salt in caramel? It’s such a good combination! Then of course Vanilla, we get through loads of that. We won the Great Taste Award last year with our Vanilla, we were so thrilled. If you go to a chef with a good vanilla they know that everything else is in line with that. This year we won the Great Taste Award with Strawberries and Cream, like I said before they loved the creaminess of it, proper farmhouse ice cream.
Look out for Daltons Dairy ice creams on our changing restaurant menus…
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