Black-owned Chicago ice cream business creates social change

CHICAGO -- Ida Nelson is doing more than just scooping up delicious treats, she's also using her business to change and shape her community.

Trying to find activities to keep her kids entertained during the pandemic, Ida turned to making ice cream. But she didn't want to just make vanilla and chocolate. Looking in her cabinets, she found blueberries, lemons, cream cheese and graham crackers and blended them together to make Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake ice cream!

Her flavor combos only exploded from there as she built Ida's Artisan Ice Cream & Treats.

Banana Pudding, Mango Tajin, Strawberry Sublime (which has cilantro in it!), Brownie Batter and the colorful Unicorn Magic are just some of her unique flavors. And her use of few and fresh ingredients per recipe means she's creating quality "artisan" treats.

"I attribute it to my eclectic palate," Nelson said. "I try to think of fun and unique flavor combinations."

Ida is also committed to using her resources to help support her community. Ida's Artisan Ice Cream hosts Ice Cream Social "Awareness" Parties.

People come for the ice cream, but stay for the conversations of how social change can be enacted and how issues like poverty and racism can be addressed.

"I wanted to empower my community to see that they can do what they put their minds to as well," Nelson said. "I've never really seen a Black face on ice cream before. I felt that it was important our culture was represented there."

You can find and order Ida's Artisan Ice Cream & Treats on idasartisan.com.