Green Temptation

For many New Jerseyans, the return of warm weather evokes sweet childhood memories of the ice-cream truck coming down the street. But for Colts Neck resident Richard Emanuele, president of Mr. Green Tea Ice Cream, ice cream is more than a summertime sweet; it’s a twelve-month obsession.

Expanding on the business his father, Santo, founded more than 30 years ago, Emanuele has carved a niche for himself by introducing green-tea ice cream to the Garden State. “It’s really easy to make good ice cream,” Emanuele says. “We use only the best ingredients in all our ice cream, regardless of cost, and we still use my father’s original recipes.” Slightly sweet and complex in flavor, his green-tea ice cream, with its deep-sage color, is easily distinguished from its pale competitors.

Manalapan-based Mr. Green Tea distributes its ice cream to more than 800 Japanese and Thai restaurants in New York and New Jersey, including Sawa in Eatontown, Mahzu in Freehold and Aberdeen, and Shogun in Green Brook, Toms River, and Kendall Park, as well as to restaurants in Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Boston, and Florida. Besides exotic and conventional ice-cream flavors, sherbets, and sorbets in whole-fruit shells, Mr. Green Tea boasts two of its own inventions.

Mochi is the creation of Richard’s brother James, who eight years ago came upon a traditional Japanese treat of thick, chewy sweet rice dough filled with unsweetened red-bean paste. Imagining that the bite-size treat would be better filled with ice cream, James worked with a Japanese colleague to make the dough thinner and marshmallow-like. The melt-in-your-mouth dessert currently comes in green tea, red bean, mango, vanilla, coconut, and strawberry flavors. Undoubtedly Mr. Green Tea’s most sinful dessert is the Dragon Egg, a fudge cookie topped with a scoop of ice cream and covered with Belgian chocolate. It comes in green tea, coffee, coconut, and, Richard’s favorite flavor, banana.

Mr. Green Tea has gotten several offers from major distributors to take its products to restaurants and grocery stores nationwide. “In the future, our ice cream will be distributed all over the country,” Emanuele says, “but right now I’m most interested in maintaining the high quality of our ice cream and creating new flavors.” In his latest quest to fulfill that mandate, he’s experimenting with two new flavors, expected out late summer or early fall: lychee nut and Thai coconut.

 

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