An interview with Emma Taylor of Milk Sugar Love!
I’ve known Emma, the creative and talented owner of Milk Sugar Love, my very favorite ice cream store in Jersey City, for a few years now. We met while working in a shared commercial kitchen (I still remember the day I fell in love with her lemon olive oil ice cream ice cream). She had just left her corporate job and completed culinary school to start an ice cream business. At the time, she was just managing a cart at farmers markets and events but dreaming of a storefront. Since then, she opened her beautiful shop in Jersey City, featuring a plethora of incredible ice cream flavors and sweet treats. Her warm and welcoming personality is part of what has made Milk Sugar Love a neighborhood favorite among the locals, but the unique artisanal organic sweets are what keep them coming back. I’m so happy to be able to feature her and her business on the blog. Bonus: In case you missed it in the gift guide, Emma is offering a special discount for KISD readers! Just mention Keep It Sweet Desserts at your next visit for 20% off any single holiday menu item! One discount per person.
KISD: What did you do before Milk Sugar Love and what made you want to leave your career for the food world?
MSL: I began my career as a graphic designer. I enjoyed generating ideas but I did not enjoy the corporate atmosphere. I wanted to be more hands-on with my creativity, so I quit my job and went to culinary school.
KISD: What is so special about the ice cream you make?
MSL: Our ice cream is special (and delicious!) because we use only grass-fed, organic milk and cream in our ice cream. We also churn it in a gelato machine so the ice cream tastes extra creamy because it has less air incorporated into it. We also like to create more modern flavors, like Lemon Olive Oil, Earl Grey Fudge and Non-Dairy Cookie Butter. We keep a few of the old-school classics around, but mainly we offer more inventive flavors.
KISD: How do you decide which flavors to offer and how do you come up with new ideas?
MSL: We rotate all our flavors based on what produce is available seasonally. The seasons also inspire the majority of our flavors. I also had a chance to come up with new flavors in a series of collaborations this past year. We ran a special series of sundaes this summer (Summer of Sundaes) where I created an ice cream flavor and toppings in partnership with other local Jersey City chefs. It was a great chance for me to explore some unique international flavor profiles.
KISD: How do you keep yourself from eating all of your products? (I got asked this all the time!) And on that note, what’s your favorite flavor?
MSL: Because I am tasting all the time (for flavor, for freshness, for recipe testing), I am less inclined to go ahead and eat more at the end of the day. My favorite flavor changes frequently. I am currently loving one of our Holiday flavors, Chocolate Rosemary. (<——-note from KISD: I tasted it, AMAZING)
KISD: What’s the most rewarding part of having your own business?
MSL: The most rewarding part is getting to call all the shots. I enjoy having the final say on things and having my vision executed exactly as I see it.
KISD: What’s the downside to owning your own business?
MSL: The downside is that it is all-consuming. I think about my business all the time and I am working all the time even if I don’t realize it. My goal this past year was to create some separation and start reclaiming some personal time to refresh and rest, which is so important in any creative process.
KISD: Are there any entrepreneurs or other companies that you look to for inspiration?
MSL: Jeni’s. I have followed her entire career and I think her brand and her ice cream are both amazing. I also admire how she has made sustainability a priority in her business.
KISD: What do you envision for the future of Milk Sugar
MSL: This summer we will be launching our truck! The truck will be at all the large events in the state as well as parked throughout Jersey City during the week. The truck will also be available to rent for private parties or corporate events. We will serve ice cream by the scoop as well well as pre-made and make-your-own ice cream sandwiches.
At Milk Sugar Love, we churn delicious ice cream made form organic milk and cream and all the best New Jersey produce. We craft all our ice cream and sweets by hand in our kitchen in Jersey City. We proudly work with fantastic farmers and local artisan producers to create our delicious, chef-driven flavors. Local orders can be placed online or by phone.