Popsicles by Liana Raine

Last January I spent a blissful week or so house sitting in the leafy North Shore of Sydney (Thankyou Rachel!).  It was very early Jan – a sleepy, summery time, and I must say, despite my deep affection for Melbourne, Sydney really stole my heart that summer!  It was all blue skies and glittering water and kookaburras in the back garden and stuff.  I feel like I finally realised what all the fuss was about.

ANYWAY, it was during that little hiatus that I stumbled across a phenomenon sweeping Sydney (yet still to take hold in Melbourne) – Artisan Popsicles!  In other words, homemade, super gourmet and kind of vaguely healthy seasonal fruit icy poles.

Liana Raine, which launched in Sydney last September, is one particularly impressive popsicle specialist – the creation of sisters Aja and Bianca Shanahan.  Bianca had previously worked for Adriano Zumbo, whilst Aja left a corporate job to jump head first into this slightly mad, Willy Wonka-esque business idea!  After just over a year in operation, this leap of faith has certainly paid off – Liana Raine has gone from strength to strength, and now employs 5 fulltime staff (including Aja and Bianca’s hardworking Mum!).  Liana Raine pops can be found at various cafes and restaurants listed here, and their sweet little pop cart can be found everyday over summer at The Sydney Opera House!  They also cater weddings and events.

Liana Raine is all about using seasonal fruit and fresh natural ingredients to create flavourful pops which are just a smidge more sophisticated than their distant cousin, the old fashioned icy pole.  Think Strawberry Basil, Lychee, Orange and Cardamom and Pineapple Chilli, to name just a few of Liana Raine’s famed flavour combos!  Aja and Bianca have also created a unique ‘poptail’ range – ie boozy pops, especially for grown ups.

Whilst Liana Raine pops aren’t yet available in Melbourne… they have some exciting news in the works!  Aja and Bianca have been working feverishly this year on developing a packaged take-home popsicle range for sale in gourmet foodie shops.  Their very first shipment of packaged Liana Raine pops will be in store at Thomas Dux supermarkets in Melbourne and Sydney later this month!  That is like mouthwatering and super inspiring, all at once.  KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED for Liana Raine’s sweet fresh fruit pops in their distinctive striped packaging, coming soon to a freezer near you!

Now you may wonder what has prompted a random post about gourmet icy pops today… well, you guessed it… with summer holidays just a few short weeks away, we thought it was opportune timing to invite Aja and Bianca of Liana Raine to join TDF for our regular Tasty Tuesday column!  Each Tuesday afternoon for the month of November, Liana Raine will share a delicious make-at-home popsicle recipe.  We’ll be kicking things off this afternoon at 2.00pm with a seriously special icy creation that may or may not involve SALTED COCONUT.  Do pop back this afternoon to see what these clever ladies have in store, and please make them feel very welcome!

Bianca (left) and Aja (right) of Sydney start-up, Liana Raine.  Photo – Phu Tang.