Ekka special: A behind-the-scenes look at the strawberry sundae

Find out what it takes to make the perfect strawberry sundae and how Queensland’s iconic ice cream helps fund vital medical research.

First created in the 1950s, the humble strawberry sundae holds a special place in the hearts of Queenslanders. The sweet treat evokes childhood memories and is a reminder of the simple pleasures in life. 

Fifty years on, the treat is  a staple of the Ekka and no visit to the show is  complete without an ice cream cone or two.

Lick! Ice cream’s Grant Lew is no stranger to the strawberry sundae – in 2012 he was tasked by Ekka organisers to to revive the strawberry sundae tradition by creating the perfect pink ice cream.

“We knew how valuable it was to the Ekka and how iconic it was as a Queensland product, so we didn’t want to sway too far away from what people really loved about the strawberry sundae,” Mr Lew said.

“What we could do was change the actual ice cream to be all-natural and gluten-free, which is part of what Lick is all about really.”

Lick! Ice cream has been the official ice cream supplier for the strawberry sundae for seven years and is gearing up for an eighth at this year’s Ekka celebrations.

Preparation is key to ensure the 20,000 litres of strawberry and white ice cream are ready for Queenslanders chasing their favourite Ekka-exclusive treat. 

“There’s a fair bit of preparation which begins a few months prior to the launch of the Ekka date,” Grant said.

“We’re actually pre-organising all of our ingredients months before as we start production in early April.”

Steve Baxter

The strawberry sundae is more than just a delicious treat. Queensland producers are supported, with all ingredients sourced locally and profits from the sale of every sundae supporting medical research at The Princes Charles Hospital Foundation (TPCHF).

TPCHF CEO Michael Hornby has seen firsthand the positive impact the strawberry sundae has had on medical research in Queensland and is proud to be affiliated with the Ekka and its classic dessert.

“We’re gearing up for next year’s already,” Mr Hornby said.

“It’s a massive event we’ve been proudly associated with for 30 years – it’s a big deal in our lives. 

“The research at TPCHF funded by Ekka strawberry sundaes actually makes a tangible difference in relatively short periods of time.

“Most of the work we’re involved with is making incremental improvements to hospital care, prevention and better rehabilitation recovery from the chronic diseases that affect 90% of us.”

Listen to more behind the scenes with Grant and Michael below.

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