By Mary O’KEEFE
In all the towns, in all the world they walked into Montrose.
Mia Pedersen, Morten Eriksen and Jens Thorup left their homes, and good jobs, in Denmark in February and toured Los Angeles in search of the perfect spot to open their ice cream store, Paradis.
They took great care in finding the location; after all they had walked away from a comfortable way of life and had been given permission to open the first Paradis ice cream store in America. They knew they wanted it to be in Southern California; they had vacationed in the area last summer and liked the weather and the atmosphere.
“We drove around for three months, then someone asked us if we had ever been to Montrose,” Pedersen said.
They came to Montrose and walked down Honolulu Avenue. Pedersen added that people were friendly and the town had a good feel about it.
“We found this [store front] was empty and we just fell in love with the town,” she said.
There are presently 29 Paradis shops located throughout Scandinavia and, as of their grand opening on Sept. 26, the franchise has gone international with its location in Montrose.
Paradis is a Danish franchise that specializes in freshly made, high quality ice cream, with an emphasis on the “freshly made.” Very early every morning Eriksen and Thorup can be found cutting fresh strawberries, measuring just the right amount of real vanilla and preparing ice cream delicacies with the best ingredients from around the world.
“Our vanilla comes from Madagascar and our pistachios from Sicily,” Pedersen said.
The ice cream has a smoother consistency than store bought and the flavors are all natural.
“People may be used to colors being brighter, like in the store you will buy mint chocolate chip ice cream that is very green. Well, mint isn’t really that green,” Pedersen said.
She added that their mint ice cream may look a lighter color due to the fact they do not add any artificial colorings.
Flavor is everything to this trio who continue to come up with new and creative recipes.
“Everyone has to try this,” says Thorup each time he finishes a new recipe. This time it was chocolate swirled into smooth strawberry.
The company has about 200 recipes but that doesn’t stop Thorup and Eriksen from creating more, some that are inspired by customers.
Thorup points to a list that has been written on one of the freezers.
“People wanted cinnamon. So we have cinnamon,” he said.
Pedersen added that if customers want a specially flavored ice cream that goes with the theme of a party, they are able to create it.
They already have several regular customers and more are venturing into their shop every day. They are also getting to know more about the community and want to support it where they can.
“All of our ingredients are fresh and we saw the Harvest Market here,” she said. “We want to start buying our fresh fruit there.”