Tomorrow is officially the end of National Ice Cream Month, so naturally Saturday Sweets is going to use this last chance to celebrate again! This week we are checking out ice cream wholesaler, Sweet Melody Ice Cream and chatting with the mind behind the madness, Mike Romeu.
Mike and I spent nearly two hours talking the about inspiration, the ins and outs of ice cream making, how exciting it is to be part of the culinary movement taking place in our amazing city and how fun it would be to venture into collaborating with other Miami chefs – his dream collab: Michael Schwartz!
Sweet Melody Ice Cream is named after Mike’s adorable 4 year old daughter, Melody. She’s the light of his life and the reason behind everything he does. His ultimate goal is to someday have his own shop with her name on the marquee. During our time together it was easy to see the excitement and passion flowing through him. He’s proud of what he’s accomplished in such little time – Sweet Melody came out of nowhere in January this year and shows no signs of slowing down. I’m jumping on this bandwagon and following him wherever he goes.
Here are some of the highlights of our chat:
Tell us a bit of your background and what made you decide to go into ice cream making?
In 2008, my fiancé at the time was a culinary arts student and she was amazing in the kitchen and I was really into it sort of just as a hobby. I don’t know how but one night we hatched the idea of a Latin inspired ice cream, which has since been done by Azucar, but at the time they did not yet exist and we thought we had this great concept. We were going to pitch it to Sedano’s and stores like that because her grandmother was Cuban and my grandmother was Cuban. We had a lot of Cuban background between us. We had this idea and a hand-crank ice cream maker that we messed around with a little bit.
We didn’t get too far into it, but some of our first batches weren’t too bad. Unfortunately, she ended up passing in 2009. After that I was in mourning for about a year. Eventually I got back into the bar industry and was there for a long time. I had almost forgotten about ice cream, but after Melody’s mom and I separated, I turned to retail therapy and bought kitchen gadgets. One being a pretty good quality ice cream maker and an immersion blender. Around that time I started working for my friend’s catering company.
One day I made a Passionfruit Basil Sorbet to bring into my co-workers. It turned out really well and I wanted to make a Blueberry Cheesecake – (which actually ended up on my current menu) and then I thought, I really want to get back into this. All of the sudden, it just took off. I don’t know where it all came from. I like to think of it as a social media success story. All of this has come from social media. Granted, you have to have a great product – but no one would even know I existed without it. I really believe in the quality of the ice cream and I want to leave Melody a legacy. That’s my goal.
What has the most influence on your menu?
The menu itself is inspired by Miami and people and flavors I have known and loved. Café Con Leche, which is espresso flavored ice cream with sweet milk and chocolate covered espresso beans, was a no brainer. It’s SO Miami. Elena’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake is named after my late fiancé. The ice cream is blended with her signature chocolate cake recipe, brandy, roasted organic cherries, and a cherry reduction.
Grandpa’s Candy Bowl was inspired by Kat, the bakery manager at Misha’s Cupcakes. She said I should make a flavor with potato chips and I thought, well what goes with potato chips and I came up with the idea of adding Werther’s Original, because everyone had a grandparent with those candies around.
I’ve listened to different ideas and flavors that have been thrown at me and just come up with the menu of all these flavors. Anyone can make chocolate, vanilla, strawberry ice cream and I knew if I did that I would be competing with so many more people. There’s a lot of great ice cream out there! I’m trying to be as different as I can. I’m just trying to find my own niche.
What’s your favorite ice cream currently on the menu?
My favorite flavor is probably Phat Elvis. It is fresh banana ice cream with peanut butter chocolate fudge and bourbon maple bacon. The Me So Corny is a close second. That one is sweet corn ice cream with mascarpone, roasted organic blueberry puree, and bacon-almond brittle. **Writer’s note: Me So Corny (below) and the previously mentioned Elena’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake are my absolute favorites!
What’s your biggest sweet guilty pleasure?
Cannoli! I even make a cannoli ice cream! My favorite cannoli actually no longer exists, it was at Café La Fortuna in New York. It was on the Upper West Side and John Lennon used to have breakfast there every day. He was kinda my hero. I went there in 2000 for the first time and the cannoli there was unreal. I used to go to New York just about every two months back then and would visit the cafe at least 4 times per visit. To this day I’ve never found one as good. This little Italian lady, named Lucy, used to serve us and she was just so sweet. It was such a shame that their rent was raised and after 30 years they had to shut down. I haven’t found any in Miami that match the ones in New York, so I just settle for making my own.
Mike is currently cranking out about 30 gallons of ice cream a week and is gearing up to make even more. With the steam he’s picked up in the first six months of business, it’s safe to say that his dream of having Melody's name out front of a storefront will come true soon enough. In the meantime, you can find his ice cream being served at Caffe Vialetto in Coral Gables and soon to be featured at Misha’s Cupcakes, Trust and Co., and Commonwealth Miami opening August 15th with Executive Chef Daniel Roy.
You can also order directly from Mike via email, phone call, or Instagram direct message – contact info below. All flavors and their descriptions can be found on www.sweetmelodyicecream.com, with close to 40 creatively named flavors already, it’s hard to pick just one. I’m sure we will be watching that list keep growing, the night of our meeting he went home to test out a new flavor and the next day it was officially featured as a new flavor! Make sure to follow @sweetmelodyicecream on Instagram to see where he’s popping up next! Last week I hunted him down at the Bird Road Sunday Market, right in time before the rain came.
Phone: (786) 376-2814