Competitions, People of Joburg

Sweet Beginnings for Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream + WIN an ice cream cake

Dec 12, 2019, Author: Hello Joburg

Cookies and Cream. Birthday Cake. Choc Nutella Oreo. Butter Cake. These classic nostalgia-inducing flavours have become synonymous with Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream, or as they like to call it, PHIC.

You may not know this, but PHIC’s story began with a thoughtful 21st birthday present. ‘Flavour Master’ Paul Ballen was gifted a Krups ice cream maker. The gift was a catalyst which inspired a premium artisanal ice cream movement in Johannesburg.


“Ice cream is an amazing substance because it’s super malleable. Just by tweaking a couple of things, you can affect texture, taste, and mouth-feel. It’s unlike any other food,” says Paul Ballen.

Ballen started making a litre a day, with early experiments of Nutella-swirled milk chocolate and Oreo cookie chunks. These early flavours have evolved into well-known PHAN favourites, Cookies and Cream and Choc Nutella Oreo.

Paul then bought a second machine and started gifting tubs of his homemade ice cream to family and friends. Paul’s flavours became more experimental and more indulgent, leading to Joburg’s iconic pop up event, Ice Cream Sundays.

From two little ice cream machines, Paul moved onto a Gelatissimo with a built-in compressor. Instead of one litre a day, he could now churn one litre an hour. “I used to make a huge mess in my parents’ kitchen late at night making the custard. There was egg whites and sugar everywhere!”, says Ballen.

Orders started rolling in and a second Gelatissimo was purchased. Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream was now available in small cafés and shops around Johannesburg.

In 2014, Paul partnered with friend and commodities trader, Josh Amoils, to run the business side of things. The two-man team moved into a small kitchen in Orange Grove and have been expanding the team, and premises, ever since.

The team churn ice cream daily for 10 PHIC stores located in Johannesburg and Durban, and stock ice cream in over 180 shops and restaurants nationwide.


PHIC’s groundbreaking flavours like Birthday Cake, Koeksister, and Malva Pudding, capture the essence of childhood memory and heritage flavours. However, Ballen’s favourites are the more wild and experimental flavours like Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate, Cream Cheese and Guava, and Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Stracciatella.

With 10 retail stores, and more in the pipeline for 2020, PHIC realised a need for elite retail training. In 2019, PHIC launched a food retail academy called New Chapter: Retail Academy (NCRA). This academy is designed to provide enthusiastic young students with the opportunity and the tools for success in a fast-paced retail landscape.

Over a three month course, students cover every aspect of the retail and food industries: finance, marketing, operations, and human resources.

At the NCRA, students receive formal training, as well as hands-on, in-store experience. Students are taught by the very best at Paul’s Homemade, including Paul Ballen himself.

After the first intake of students graduated in November 2019, all eight impressive graduates were offered a job to work at PHIC head office or in one of their retail stores.

The NCRA isn’t just a training ground for elite retail specialists, it’s an opportunity to graduate with a job, not a diploma.

From humble beginnings experimenting with ice cream by the litre, Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream is now a household name, and they’re offering a sweet beginning to other ambitious young foodies.



We’ve teamed up with Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream to give one lucky reader a spectacular ice cream cake valued at R 540!

To enter simply subscribe to our weekly newsletter on our homepage. Then like Hello Joburg Magazine and Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream on Facebook. Also make sure you’re following @HelloJoburgMag on Instagram and Twitter as well as @paulshomemadeicecream on Instagram. Lastly, fill out your details in the form below and tell us which Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream flavour is your favourite.

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