The name of the new pop-up Ice Cream for Bears has multiple meanings. It’s sweetened only with raw, unfiltered honey, and there is, of course, one animal famous for its love of the golden nectar. Additionally, the simple, all-natural ingredients in the ice cream are all things a bear would potentially eat.
Owner and founder Timothy Berg grew up in a family in which ice cream reigned supreme. “My family had a huge sweet tooth, especially my mom,” he says. “She was just an ice cream fan, so we were always going to get ice cream.”
Berg always dreamed of creating an ice cream that was made with quality, all-natural ingredients. Rather than develop one that was low-calorie and low-sugar with unpronounceable ingredients, his goal was to use real, premium ingredients and design an ice cream that you could feel good about putting in your body.
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While working as a tennis trainer in New York more than two years ago, he began testing and experimenting with different recipes. After finishing his MBA at Washington University in St. Louis, Berg felt ready to begin this entrepreneurial endeavor – but he didn’t do it alone.
The support he’s received from the Washington University business school and local restaurant community has been critical. Berg credits local ice cream maestro Steve Christiansen, who runs Scoop School, a program for "wannabe ice cream makers." “He has a facility out there that he lets me use, and that’s been amazing because he kind of knows everything about ice cream,” Berg says.
Another influential player in Berg’s story is Cam Loyet, the co-owner of Honeymoon Chocolates, who he met in his MBA program. Berg uses Loyet’s chocolate in a variety of his flavors, and Loyet put him in contact with an all-star local honey producer. Ice Cream for Bears is also available in scoops at Honeymoon’s storefront in Clayton (16 N. Central Ave.).
The two business owners share a firm belief in the benefits of using raw, unfiltered honey. “It’s a product that we’ve eaten in that exact form for at least 8,000 years,” Berg says. “I’m a big believer that if we’ve been doing something for long enough, our bodies have probably evolved to process it.”
In the same vein, he only uses organic grass-grazed dairy and organic free-range egg yolks. Any add-ins or toppings are also free of processed sugars. Berg calls this approach “farm-to-cone” ice cream.
Ice Cream for Bears has quickly found a niche in the St. Louis market. It’s available in pints at multiple local grocery stores, including United Provisions, Local Harvest Grocery, John Viviano & Sons and Smokehouse Market.
The brand’s bestseller is ButterBear, which is a take on butterscotch caramel. Other flavors include BlueBeary Stained Paws (made with wild Maine blueberries) and Mint to Bee (mint chip). In the future, Berg would love to incorporate Honeymoon’s blueberry lavender dark chocolate into an ice cream. He also has a chocolate raspberry flavor currently in the works and is planning some fun, spiced flavors for the holidays.
Berg is proud of the product he’s created and has faith in its ability to change the way we eat. “I think it’d be fun to have lots of different products with honey – trying to change the way we consume sugar a little,” he says. “[Honey] is this raw product that hasn’t changed for so long. To me, it seems like a special way of eating.”
Ice Cream for Bears, St. Louis, Missouri, icecreamforbears.com