It’s a bold move naming your business after the ultimate paradise, but it couldn’t be a more accurate description of this beach side nirvana. Entering through the quaint eden-esque courtyard to reach Utopia Ice’s counter is a treat in itself: Step through tiny wrought iron gates, past lawn furniture adorned with colourful cushions and blankets, a wooden swing seat, children’s toys and crucial shade-providing umbrellas.
At some point of your stroll, you will be drawn to the large blackboard hanging on the pink wall, above the white subway tiles and below the hanging pendant lights. Get excited. This blackboard is big for a reason.
Here lists the inventive ice cream flavours: Asparagus and cream cheese (surprisingly refreshing and creamy); white chocolate and olive oil (sweet and smooth); sea salt caramel, cashew and popcorn (bathe us in this), and Vietnamese coffee (a creamy, ice cold coffee hit). If these sound familiar, it is because owners Mandy and Sebastian (a chef with more than 20 years experience in restaurants and pastisseries) grew their following at the Christchurch Farmers Market, before settling into a more permanent possy in the seaside town.
Still weekly members of the Riccarton Bush markets, this is where they source a lot of their fresh local ingredients. Organic milk, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options are abound, as are an enticing spectrum of toppings including corn chips and whipped coconut.
In winter, cuddle up under a rug next to the large gas heaters and enjoy a peanut butter hot chocolate or spiced cacao with some gluten-free Belgian waffles featuring fruit compotes, bananas and a selection of sauces. Oh, and if you’re looking for us, we’ll be cooling off (or snuggling up) in Sumner’s Shangri-La.