What Would They Know? Bianca and Aja of Liana Raine Artisan Pops

by | Food & Catering Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom

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Polka Dot Bride
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 Custom made popsicles? Need I say more? Today we’re honoured to be joined by the Liana Raine girls who create and serve custom made popsicles at weddings! Join me as we talk all things icy and sweet!

Would you tell us a little about yourselves?

Bianca: I am one half of Liana Raine Pops – a dream project I share with my sister Aja. The business name is our middle names – Aja (Liana) and Bianca (Raine). We are both self–confessed food addicts that joined forces to create a business that reflected the best of of both of our personalities.

Aja: Whilst we are driven by the same values, we are both quite different! Bianca is methodical and process orientated – making her absolutely amazing in the kitchen. She manages all our production. I love thinking about brands and consumer needs – so I manage the sales and marketing side of the business.

Do you have a foodie background?

Aja: Bianca and I have been spoiled by the talents of our mother who is an amazing home cook and exposed us to the joy of food and experimenting with new cuisines and flavours from an early age. She taught us her self learnt cooking skills and instilled a passion for food in both of us and many others who have sat around our dining room table.

Bianca: Not long before Liana Raine started, I decided that I needed to do something with this food passion and left my corporate job for an opportunity to work with Adriano Zumbo. It was such an eye-opening experience into the world of a food business and taught me so much about how to be more creative with food and take risks with flavour.  My time with Adriano was a great foundation stone for Liana Raine and he has been a great mentor for our business in its early stages.

Image from Chris  At Dusk Photography

Where did the idea of artisan pops come from?

The inspiration for our pops largely came from our travel experiences, mostly through the States and Central & South America.

The idea of pops made from whole fresh fruit (and sometimes vegetables) comes from the Latin treat called ‘paletas’. These are a summertime staple in countries such as Mexico where they are sold on the street from kiosks or little carts called ‘paleterias’. The Hispanic community in the States introduced the paleta to American customers and soon new flavours were being born everyday.

Aja & I loved the idea of a refreshing summer treat that wasn’t ice-cream and was based on using seasonal fresh fruit. We thought that it was a perfect product for Australia given our hot summers, the abundance of wonderful fruit and the sophistication of the Australian palate.

Where are you based? Do travel to the South Coast (for instance) or do you just serve the city region?

We are based in Sydney’s Inner West however we can take our pop cart to the Central and South Coast for events if required.

How many flavours do you have on hand?

Last year we produced over 50 flavours, to utilise the changes in produce over seasons . At any one time we will have at least 6 flavours on hand. We aim to make a new flavour every week.

What is your favourite flavour, and your most popular flavour?

My favourite flavour changes everyday depending on the mood that we are in. But most recently I seem to be sucking on a lot of Carrot Orange & Ginger Pops – its like a wake-up breakfast juice but in a pop. So refreshing, and maybe a little bit good for me too!

Our most popular flavours also changes depending on where we are and who are our customers. Strawberry & Cream is a classic flavour that seems to put a smile on anyone’s face, especially children (and yes its made from real strawberries!). For weddings and special events, our ‘poptails’ are a massive hit, where we add a dash of alcohol to the fruit to give the pop an extra little bite. It’s a nice naughty addition especially for weddings.

Image by The Simple Things Studio

Can you tell us a little about the ingredients you use in your artisan pops? (Bianca are they natural flavours e.g. real raspberries etc?)

Our pops are only made from natural ingredients which we source as fresh and as local as possible.  We don’t use any flavourings in our pops at all, which means if it says blueberry, its REAL blueberry, if its an orange pop, we’ve squeezed those oranges ourselves. It may be labour intensive but we think it makes all the difference in the overall taste of the pop.

Do you make your pops yourself or are they outsourced?

We make every single pop ourselves, by hand to ensure that the quality is perfect every time. It also means that we have the ability to change flavours with the season or other new flavoure inspirations.

Do you make custom flavours?

Yes, we can customise flavours for special events, especially for weddings. The great thing about pops is that the options for flavours are really endless. We’ve created pops to reflect desserts, cocktails, international foods…it goes on and on. It’s the most fun part of this job!

Image by Louisa Brimble – Serendipity Corner

 Is it best to book the cart so that the pops can be kept properly frozen and displayed?

The cart is definitely the most beautiful way of keeping the pops cold whilst showing them off in all their glory. However we can offer other solutions when the cart may not be suitable. We can provide the pops directly to a caterer to serve as they see fit, or we also offer a “Usherette Service” where the pops are served in vintage styled usherette trays filled with crushed ice. It’s still very cute and especially a great option for venues where getting access for the cart may be tricky.

How does a bridal couple book your services?

Simply email us at [email protected] with the details of their wedding and we can start the conversation about flavours and any other ideas they might have. We will send over a quote and then we just require a 30% deposit to lock in the date.

 

Image by The Simple Things Studio

It must be the best fun! What have the reactions of guests been to your pops?

We are having so much fun creating and growing Liana Raine. We love the product but even more we love serving it to people. Watching people take the first lick of our pops is often the most enjoyable part of our job.

The sparkle in someone’s eyes when they are blissfully enjoying eating one of our pops…it is like for just a moment, they unapologetically allow the child inside them to bubble up. To trigger that moment for people is magic.

Yummy scrummy! Thanks for joining us Bianca and Aja! Check out the Liana Raine website for more of this dynamic duo’s work!

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