Featured photo: Kyndra Bell, owner of Dream Kreams, at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston-Salem (photo by Kaitlynn Havens)
The temperature gauge haphazardly glued to the back of the brick-walled sidewalk outside of the Cobblestone Farmers Market registers over 92 degrees, the precise temperature covered by humidity droplets that have clouded the inside of the aged scale. Market patrons search for reprieve under vendor tents, eyeing the season’s tomatoes and peppers while escaping a tenacious summer sun. Their kids run around a makeshift splash pad — a hose with holes drilled into it — pretending for a moment that the ground isn’t steaming but that they’ve discovered a tropical lagoon. In the corner of the market, a white tent stands apart as a beacon of cooling hope. Across the top of the tent written in swirls of bubblegum pink and celestial blue are the words “ICE CREAM.” Within, a cooler filled with Dream Kreams ice cream offers a summer’s consolation waiting for each person that passes by.
Dream Kreams is a Black woman-owned, artisanal ice cream pop-up that specializes in unique flavor options, fresh ingredients and a variety of dairy and non-dairy options, as well as plain and alcohol-infused ice creams. Kyndra Bell, owner of Dream Kreams, stumbled into ice cream making by mere happenstance.
“I love to cook,” she laughs, “and most of the time when I go out, I end up being like, ‘I could have made this at home.’”
On a whim, Bell decided to give ice cream a try.
“It was a mason jar and a few ingredients I had at home,” she says. “I shook it up and put it in my freezer. It was so good.”.
Bell began to test different flavor combinations and eventually bought a wooden ice cream maker. Her first flavor, made in her mom’s kitchen, was a blend of almond and amaretto.
A few years ago, Bell was working at a bank in Winston-Salem, where she took orders from friends and co-workers for her concoctions. She found herself spending more time outside of work creating flavors and filling orders than she spent at the actual bank.
“I said, ‘You know what, if I can get all these orders just from co-workers, it’s time to leave [the bank] alone.’ I just walked away,” she explains.
That was 2019.
Since then, Dream Kreams has become Bell’s full-time passion.
Although many of her original flavors continue to be crowd favorites, Bell uses travel and her own grocery shopping experiences as inspiration for new and innovative flavors.
“I’ve had pistachio ice cream from the grocery store once and I didn’t like it. So I said, ‘I’m going to make this better.’ I used pistachio flavoring and combined it with a marshmallow swirl — it’s honestly my favorite right now,” she says.
“I went to Puerto Rico a few years ago and tried plantains,” Bell says of her travels. “But plantains are savory, and I didn’t want to make a savory ice cream. The drink of Puerto Rico is the piña colada, and I thought, How do I mix these flavors?”
Out of that trip came one of Bell’s most flavorful ice creams, the Puerto Rican Summer, a mix of plantains, piña colada and rum.
The alcohol-infused ice creams include her original, Almond Amaretto, with new additions like Caramel Apple (infused with Crown Apple), and her most recent flavor Coquito (infused with the same Puerto Rican rum used in Puerto Rican Summer).
“I wouldn’t say you’re getting tipsy,” she jokes, “but you feel good. If I add too much, the ice cream won’t freeze.”
In addition to her boozy creations, Bell offers non-dairy options for each flavor. Washington Perk, a coffee shop and convenience store located in downtown Winston-Salem, currently offers six of her non-dairy flavors by the scoop.
Bell’s vegan-friendly selection caught the eye of social media personality and vegan comfort food aficionado Tabitha Brown during her visit to North Carolina in 2022.
“That’s good!” Brown can be seen saying as she’s eating a cup of Almond Amaretto, pointing to Bell and doing a little dance in a video posted to Dream Kreams’ Instagram.
The reactionary happy-dance doesn’t feel so distant when sampling Dream Kream’s Banana Pudding ice cream. Firm chunks of vanilla wafers break up the creamy, vanilla-tinted ice cream, a slice of banana still intact to complete the nostalgic taste.
When asked whether owning an ice cream storefront is in her future, Bell shakes her head and says, “I feel like a brick-and-mortar would just tie me down. Maybe a trailer or a food truck, but right now this is where I’m at.”
Dream Kreams can be found throughout the week at several parks, farmers markets and breweries in the Triad.
The sun continues its onslaught during the Wednesday night market as the line at Dream Kreams grows.
“I want people to remember the ice cream,” Bell explains. “The way it smells, the way you feel. If it reminds you of a place you’ve been or a memory from your childhood. I want my ice cream to be an experience.”
Follow Dream Kreams on Instagram @dreamkreams for updates on weekly events and locations.
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