During the peak of winter in Northern Michigan, frozen treats probably aren’t your go-to dessert. However, one bite of Gabe’s Frozen Custard may just change your mind.

The chef behind this delicious frozen custard? Gabe Lava. He’s worked in restaurants across the world, both cooking and serving, his entire life—from Boston and Chicago to Paris and Copenhagen. Recently he was the head chef at Gaijin in Traverse City.

After years in the industry, Gabe understands the importance of creating an experience for customers and the art of delicious flavors.  

So he’s taking his own ideas off the back burner. 

Starting from the ground up, with as many fresh and local ingredients as possible, Gabe hopes to create some of the most interesting and delectable treats you’ve ever tasted.

Though the base of most custards is the same (milk, eggs, sugar), the flavors Gabe has imagined are what makes his brand so special. “There will always be a certain technique for doing something that doesn’t change,” he says. “The way to make it special is with the flavors.”

He’s starting with four core flavors that will always be offered—Burnt Honey, Butter Popcorn, Just Chocolate and Bananas Foster—and plans to incorporate seasonal fruits when they’re available. Beyond the main menu, he has an arsenal of more than 45 flavor combinations at the ready. (He’s been thinking about custard for quite some time now.) A few fun ones he’s played with so far: carrot cake, honey lavender and eggnog with chocolate swirls.

Gabe is especially excited to experiment with umami flavors. Umami is the savory fifth taste among sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Expect some wild, out-of-the-box combos. And once you try them, we think you’ll agree he’s a genius.

Snag a pint of Gabe’s Frozen Custard at the new grab-and-go shop, Goodboy Provisions, opening soon on State Street below TC Lofts (right across the street from State Street Marketplace).

Coming from someone who has tried a pint (I went with Burnt Honey), you’re going to want to taste this!

Northern Michigan Food & Drink

Photo(s) by Gabe's Frozen Custard