A Master Artisan Revitalising the Irish Ice Cream Market
Fantastic Flavours is an ice cream parlour with a difference. Founded by husband and wife team Miceál O’Hurley and Oksana Shadrina, Fantastic Flavours is a delightful mid-century style American Ice Cream Parlour in the centre of Youghal, Ireland. Recognised in LUXlife Magazine’s 2019 Restaurant & Bar Awards, we spoke with Miceál to find out more about his efforts to reinvigorate a dying craft in the country.
There are, arguably, only a handful of truly exceptional ice cream parlours in Ireland. Over the last couple of decades, the country has undergone a gastronomic renaissance, fighting to claim back Ireland’s status as a place of fine food and tantalising treats. Fantastic Flavours, established in 2013, has long been considered one of these stalwarts, and with Miceál and Oksana at the helm, the brand has gone from strength to strength on the back of well-deserved accolades and glowing guest testimonials.
Miceál was quick to emphasise that Ireland, unlike say the USA, UK or Italy, has never had a culture dedicated to producing real, handmade ice cream. Due to war demands, the industry died out in the 1940s during the Second World War. As such, Fantastic Flavours is one bold step in reintroducing high quality, real, handmade ice cream to the Irish Market. It’s an endeavour that has been exceptionally fruitful over the last five years and today, it is considered a must-visit destination, with guests travelling from far and wide to have a taste of Miceál’s famously fantastic ice cream.
Boasting ‘More than 42 Flavours’ on the menu, guests have plenty of flavours to choose from, including Banana Rama, Malteser Pleaser, Delicious Wonkalicious, Lemon Flufferella, and, more recently, the bombastically coloured SuperGirl. Each has been carefully crafted to cater to gourmets and connoisseurs alike with a creamy mouth feel and deep punch of flavour. It’s a product that is, by any definition, luxurious. A treat.
During our conversation Miceál took the time to discuss his unique approach to his art, and his efforts in helping to redefine what it means to be ‘an artisan’ – to be specific, that artisanal, as a term, has wrongly come to define a product and not the craftsmen behind it. To be an artisan, in Miceál’s words, is to be a dedicated master of the craft, utilising hard-earned and time-honoured techniques to create products that are not just top-tier, but exemplary. To taste it is to experience something new, something different, something exciting. With that in mind, it would seem a gross understatement to say that Miceál is an expert at making ice cream. He has committed decades of his life to it, and the product speaks as testament to his considerable abilities and honed skill. Miceál’s ice creams are something to be remembered, and – as many guests often do – to be revisited time and time again.
This intrinsically ties into Fantastic Flavours ethos which is, simply, to create memories. Their customer service is focused entirely on the ‘experience’. Ultimately, Miceál and Oksana offer a relaxing and fun experience with a quality of food that, perhaps, you wouldn’t expect to find in the popular seaside town of Youghal.
More importantly than that, they have stayed true to their original message, and though they have branched out to traditional Americanstyle pizza, crepes and desserts, Fantastic Flavours will always remain focused on the ice cream. After all, they know what works and what they’re good at: “We do not try to be everything to everybody.”
Miceál, a decorated US Army Veteran, was eager to talk about his family’s substantial philanthropic contributions to the local community and to causes they hold close to their heart. Perhaps chief among them, their support of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to which they regularly donate. However, they are also advocates for athletics and the arts in their local community. Beyond veteran’s groups, they support medical charities in Oksana’s native Ukraine which treat civilians and soldiers wounded during Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea. “Businesses small and large can and should have a role in making the world a better place.” Indeed, Oksana was recently honoured with a Proclamation from the US Congress for her philanthropic, humanitarian and volunteer activities.
Finally, the conversation turns to the future of Fantastic Flavours, which finds Miceál and Oksana looking towards franchising their business. Again, Miceál reaffirms that quality will always remain at the heart of the brand, and utterly fundamental to the business going forward. Of that, there can be little doubt.
Company: Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour
Address:74 North Main Street,Youghal, Co. Cork Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (0) 86 107 0017