Domain of sweet delights | Sunday Observer

Domain of sweet delights

13 August, 2017

In the midst of a busy hot day in Colombo, nothing sounds more refreshing than indulging in a smooth creamy ice cream. Located on the Marine Drive, in Wellawatte, is one of the city’s most happening places to unwind and chill. RIO ice cream has steadily established their name as a powerful local brand in Colombo since 2013. I met up with Jeyachandran and his relative Jeyaratnasingham who serves as manager.

The culinary history of Rathinam Industrial Organization (RIO) dates back to 1970. During this era dairy products were in demand all over Ceylon. Jeyachandran recalls he was three years old at that time and his father Nagalingam Rathinam was already operating a vibrant milk outlet with his elder brother Rassiah.

It was here that brothers Jeyabaskaran and Jeyachandran realized how dairy products could influence a person and bring on a happy smile.

With determination and experimentation Nagalingam produced his own flavour of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and opened the first Rio branch at No 75 Main Street, Jaffna.

The business venture was a success and children visited the place daily. Soon, young Jeyachandran and Jeyabaskaran were learning the basics of making succulent creamy ice cream. Shortly, strawberry flavour was on the humble menu and was a desired hit.

Jeyachandran recalls, ‘Our late father insisted on fresh quality, and that is the hallmark of our success. Even to this day, I personally procure and supervise the transport of all fresh fruits used, to flavour our ice cream’. We shifted our main branch to Jaffna, adjacent to the Nallur Kovil.

This is perhaps the best food outlet in the Northern Province in terms of value, environment, clean and efficient service, and always attracts devotees who venerate the magnificent temple. I have visited this branch and had my first fascinating Rio encounter two years ago.

A visit to Rio in Jaffna is now part of anyone’s travel itinerary. The brothers opened an outlet at Negombo, 15 years ago. Soon, this venue also began attracting locals and foreign tourists. The ‘Colombo’ branch is a rocking sweet adventure with a lovely view of the ocean and trains that pass by.

Today, the menu has a tempting mélange of flavours, including chocolate, vanilla, kithul, strawberry, pineapple, mango, raspberry, wood apple, and caramel. The signature ice cream is the durian flavour.

The soft, creamy texture of this mellow green ice cream is awesome. In addition, there is an array of milkshakes to choose from. RIO can take pride in blending their flavours locally, and were the first to introduce blueberry and durian flavours to Colombo’s sweet tooth connoisseurs.

The fastest moving dish among the young folks is the Rio special – three scoops of your desired flavour with various toppings. Over the past 46 years the brothers have sustained their father’s dream and dazzled thousands of happy customers.