Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Wonka vibes

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Shirlee Posner meets Ben Govier, the Willy Wonka of Dylan’s Ice Cream in Haslemere, crafting real dairy ice cream made with local ingredients.

Dylan’s award-winning ice cream parlour may be tucked away in Haslemere, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Expect out of the ordinary creations such as Bumble Bee, a concoction of dark chocolate and honey-striped ice cream or Carrot Cake, a blend of desiccated fresh carrot, spices and raisins. New flavours come and go with the seasons too and customers’ ideas also flourish – like the new vegan offering: oreo and coconut – as do specials for Halloween (charcoal and marshmallow) or fruit from a local allotment. In fact, this shop has a bit of a Willy Wonka vibe as it is always experimenting, so at any given time the weird and wonderful could be on the menu.

I met Ben Govier last year when I was helping organise Secretts Sweet Corn Festival. A huge seasonal tradition in the USA, the festival features all sorts of corn-themed food, and apparently sweetcorn ice cream is delicious. I knew that Ben’s frozen delights had a huge local following, so he was charged with the task of making some for the festival. It was a great success, so I was delighted that he is coming back this year with some new ideas for the event. For those who have not visited his delightful ice cream shop in Haslemere, watch out for Ben and his two 30-year-old Bedford Rascal ice cream vans as he attends around 300 local events each summer.

When Ben went to university, ice cream was not in his life plan: he was going to be an accountant. After graduating, he realised he wanted to do something creative and as he had always loved making ice cream as a child, he decided to go into business. Ben started his ice cream-making facility in Manor Farm in Langrish where he’s been for the last ten years, however, in the autumn, he’s moving to a larger site with more freezer space. Some might wonder why Ben called his business Dylan’s, I certainly did! Ben and Jerry’s was just too famous, so Ben named the business after his pet. The family labrador Dylan’s name was snapped up and the company’s distinctive logo features a paw mark.
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Vegan Ice cream
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When Dylan’s started, it was just the production facility, a five-litre ice cream machine and a (clapped out) old ice cream van that Ben picked up on ebay. He sold solely at events, birthdays and weddings, but in 2014 he found a retail outlet in Haslemere in a little row of shops. Entering Dylan’s, there’s a sense of community and it’s impressive how creative Ben is in becoming involved with his neighbourhood. Competitions with local schools to create new flavours, collaborations such as our sweetcorn ice cream and bespoke flavours for local restaurants.

Ben is also interested in the provenance of ingredients too. A lot of small ice cream makers use commercial pastes and flavourings, but not here. Ben likes using real food ingredients and for his dairy-based ice creams he uses milk sourced from a local farm. Dylan’s Ice Cream isn’t super rich with a high cream content: it is flavour-packed playful concoctions.

With a menu of twelve ice creams always available, the staples are (surprisingly) not vanilla and strawberry, but honeycomb and lemon meringue. These have been firm favourites since the shop opened and have a fan base of their own.
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In the summer months, Ben produces fruit ice creams using locally sourced fruit. He reckons there are about five whole strawberries in each portion and he also makes intense, fruity sorbets, chocolate-rich creations and specials. In 2016 his blackcurrant ice cream and raspberry sorbet both won two gold stars in the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste awards. That’s a nod to the skill he has developed producing his products.

From Dylan’s parlour one litre tubs can be bought to enjoy at home which are priced at around £6. Want a special flavour made for a party or event? That’s no problem here. Ben produces bespoke flavours for local restaurants too.

In addition to ice cream, the parlour also sells local coffee from Horsham Roasters, prepared barista-style, and gorgeous tea sold in drip mugs from All About Tea in Portsmouth. Cakes, brownies and flapjacks are from Crosbies and keeping it in the family most days Ben’s mum, Anne, can be found behind the counter.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of Ben’s kitchen next. We already had an idea for a collaboration to make a spiced pumpkin ice cream for Secretts Pumpkin Week – can’t wait to try that one!
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Strawberry, coconut and banana ‘nice’ cream
Traditional ice cream is delicious, but it does contain cream and sugar. ‘Nice’ cream is all the rage at the moment as it uses ripe bananas to give the sweetness, is easy to make in a food processor or blender (one with a strong motor) and it’s ready to eat immediately.

This is one of my core recipes I used to make when my kids were young, frozen in lolly moulds or eaten straight away. It’s also a good one to involve kids in the making too.

This version uses canned coconut milk solids – I use the leftover clear liquid for curries or smoothies – but this can be replaced with mascarpone for a richer finish or vanilla yoghurt.

It can, of course, be made with any frozen berries: I pick every day from my raspberry beds and what we don’t eat we freeze for treats like this. Strawberries are naturally high water content berries, so the texture will not be as creamy as the dairy-rich version.

Serves 4 (vegan)


• Three sweet, ripe bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen
• Two punnets of strawberries, dehulled and frozen
• Half teaspoon vanilla paste or essence (optional)
• One 400ml can of full fat coconut milk, separate the solid coconut cream to use and reserve the liquid for inclusion in a curry or smoothie

• Blend all ingredients in a power blender/food processor until an ice cream consistency is achieved.
• Freeze for longer in a container if a more solid finish is preferred.
• Serve with fresh berries.

Shirlee Posner
essence info
Dylan’s Ice Cream
1 Junction Place, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 1LE

Shirlee Posner is a food writer and blogger at and provides social media management, web copywriting and food photography.

With a menu of twelve ice creams always available, the staples are (surprisingly) not vanilla and strawberry, but honeycomb and lemon meringue. These have been firm favourites since the shop opened and have a fan base of their own.