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Iowa man turns ice cream hobby into business

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Photo - ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, MARCH 9 - In this photo taken on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, stock broker turned frozen custard guru, David Gott holds a pint of his "David's Famous Gourmet" at the First Avenue Hy-Vee market in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Iowa City Press-Citizen, Benjamin Roberts)  NO SALES
ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, MARCH 9 - In this photo taken on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, stock broker turned frozen custard guru, David Gott holds a pint of his "David's Famous Gourmet" at the First Avenue Hy-Vee market in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Iowa City Press-Citizen, Benjamin Roberts) NO SALES
News,Business,Food and Drink,Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — David Gott said he didn't intend to take his hobby of making frozen custard outside of his home, but now he's the face of David's Famous Gourmet Frozen Custard.

The 58-year-old South Amana resident said it was "dumb luck" that he made it this far.

"I'm this ya-ya stockbroker that makes good ice cream, and I got tired of everyone saying, 'Oh, you should sell this, it's really good,' " he told the Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1ieRI3j). "It's all just kind of happened."

Gott said nearly seven years ago, he combined his grandma's vanilla ice cream recipe and a church cookbook recipe and adapted them to use cream instead of milk, added more eggs, and used high-quality bourbon vanilla for flavoring.

Gott said he started experimenting with flavors when he and a friend would head to Whitey's Ice Cream for coffee ice cream, which wasn't always in stock when his craving arose. Gott said he went home, pulled a few shots of espresso and added it to his vanilla recipe when he had the bright idea to sell it to RAGBRAI riders passing through town.

Gott said he recruited his daughter to sell 6 oz. servings for $3, which now he said was "too cheap."

"I told her, 'You get your butt out there and you make some money. I'll make as much as you can sell,' " he said. "She sold more than I could make in three hours."

Gott said he kept hearing rave reviews from friends, families and coworkers. Through networking, Gott said he ended up sending samples to a retired vice president of Haagen-Daaz and the regional manager for Trader Joe's, who "loved" it.

Gott said his high-quality ingredients and recipe set him apart, with 20 percent fat when most ice cream manufacturers won't go over 16 percent because of cost constraints and current industry equipment standards.

"My mix is so high in butter fat and total solids that people who make ice cream think you can't make it because if you run it through their equipment it does terrible things," he said.

Gott wouldn't comment further on his recipe or process because they are both currently patent pending.

Gott said last year, he called every university in the region to test and scale up his recipe for commercial production. He landed at the University of Minnesota, where Gott said the food scientist expected his recipe to fail, but with a few tweaks to equipment and the mix, it worked.

"He's become a real advocate for it," he said. "He'll talk to people and they'll say, 'Oh, you can't do this and that and that,' and he'll say, 'Look guys, I don't know how it works, but it works.' "

Gott said he's currently selling five flavors — vanilla, lemon, sea salt caramel, coffee and Dutch chocolate — but said his upcoming flavors include pistachio, strawberry, ginger, black walnut and peppermint. Don't ask him about the green tea flavor, though.

"Green tea was a disaster," he said. "Can't figure it out, don't want to figure it out, don't care."

Now his frozen custard is hitting the freezers of Hy-Vee and Fareway stores in Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and even a tiny gas station in St. Paul, Minn.

Phil Ganoe, frozen foods manager at First Avenue Hy-Vee, said Gott stopped by and gave the staff some samples. After tasting the coffee frozen custard, Ganoe said it was a "no brainer" to carry Gott's line.

"It's richer, it's a little fattier than other ice creams," Ganoe said. "It's a deep, rich flavor."

"Ice cream is an indulgence," Gott said. "If you're working making 10 bucks an hour at McDonald's and you want to indulge yourself, what better way to indulge yourself than with the richest, creamiest dessert that you can find on the planet?"

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

This AP Member Exchange was shared by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

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