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Buckwheat gelato created by former Penticton chef could be first in world

BUCK gelato strawberry ice cream
BUCK gelato strawberry ice cream
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Teodora Hajnal

A Penticton man has created a recipe for a gelato that may be the first of its kind. 

Penticton resident Olivier Schittecatte works with BUCK, a Lower Mainland brand with ties to the Okanagan, and together they created the recipe for the company’s buckwheat gelato. The icy treat launched in January and is available at Nature’s Fare Markets throughout the Okanagan and Kamloops, Community Natural Foods in Alberta and other retail locations in the Lower Mainland.

“If it’s supposed to be a milk substitute, one of the things you do with milk is you make ice cream so that’s where I started and after that, it’s kind of easy,” he said.

READ MORE: We've got the scoop on ice cream in the Thompson-Okanagan

He’s never worked with buckwheat before in a liquid form, he said, but he said he was familiar with the pseudo-grain because he was familiar with other dishes like the Russian dish kasha, made using buckwheat.

Originally from Brussels and classically trained in French cuisine, Schittecatte has a Bachelor of Science from SFU as well as a MA in Education from UBC.

“The reason people are interested because it’s not a grain, it’s a seed. So there’s basically no gluten in (it),” he said, adding the buckwheat plant is also a nice fertilizer.

“If you till it over, you don’t have to use nitrogen fertilizer,” he said.

The regions where food is not abundant, rye and buckwheat dishes are popular because it’s easy to grow.

“It’s just a no-brainer,” he said.

The company started with a skim milk alternative, and moved into the gelato because it was an easy leap, he said. The gelato is made in five different flavours: maple walnut, cocoa loco, vanilla cool, strawberry sass and chocolate cake.

Jason McIvor, chief operating officer with Saint Michael Foods Limited, Buck’s parent company, is releasing the buckwheat milk in the next few weeks, he said.

Buckwheat was popular in the 1970s as Canada was a main expert of the pseudo-grain, before China took over exporting it, he said.

“It’s known as a green manure that supersizes your crop,” he said.

READ MORE: Thompson-Okanagan cities allow patios, close streets to support business during COVID-19 restrictions

“We’re the first in North America for buckwheat milk and we’re the first in the world, that we know of, that has made buckwheat gelato."

All the buckwheat going into the BUCK’s products is from Manitoba.

Vernon resident Kaylan Wiebe, brand manager for BUCK, said as more people are interested in sustainable brands with smaller carbon footprints, the buckwheat gelato had good timing in the market. It's a growing trend he expects will continue.

“There are no competitors right now creating a buckwheat gelato," he said.


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