Scotland’s love for ice cream dates from as far back as 1870, when Italian ‘hokey pokey men’ would push their ice cream carts to the gates of public parks to sell their wares. In fact, the term ‘pokey hat’ is still used today to describe an ice cream cone.
Some of the businesses established by those original Italian families appear in our online survey. Here are ten of the best.
Nardini’s – Largs
Arguably Scotland’s most famous ice-cream parlour, Nardini’s landmark art deco building is almost as famous as the ice cream itself. Originally opened in 1935, Nardini’s is a symbol of classic Scottish holidaymaking and a paddle steamer ‘Trip Doon the Watter’ on the Waverley.
However, they are far from stuck in the past, using traditional recipes and modern production methods. From traditional Double Cream Vanilla to modern classics like Scottish Tablet to more unusual flavours like Peach And Passionfruit Cheesecake, you’re sure to enjoy something tasty when you get there, but with 32 flavours on offer, it may prove difficult to ever leave!
Portsoy Ice Cream – Portsoy
With over 100 ice-creams and sorbets, all made in the shop, this is one good reason to visit Portsoy. Arguably the finest ice-cream in Aberdeenshire, made using local ingredients where possible, the award-winning range is constantly changing.
From Strawberry Panacotta to Raspberry & Mango, there’s a flavor for all tastes. Add from the range toppings and sauces and you’re sure to leave with a smile on your face. Luxury soft vanilla with hot toffee sauce anyone?
Dino’s – Helensburgh
To give it it’s full name ‘Dino’s Radio Café’, Dino’s is a traditional seaside town café, so called because it wasn’t big enough for a jukebox! Generations of visitors have come to taste their traditional Italian ice-cream. Legend has it that this is where world racing car champion, Sir Jackie Stewart first met the woman who was to become his wife.
Previous finalists in the Golden Cone Awards, Dino’s is still using the same ice cream recipe that has been around for over 100 years.
Colpi’s – Milngavie
Colpi’s is one of the classic Scottish-Italian ice cream companies, able to trace its roots back before the start of the first World War. Originally established in Gourock, the Colpi family moved premises to Milngavie in 1928.
Still sticking with their 100 year old recipe, people travel from all around just to get a tub or a cone. One of those places that evokes childhood memories for so many, it is easy to understand why.
Equi’s – Hamilton
“In 1915, Pietro Equi and his uncle Dante left Coreglia Antelminelli in Tuscany to seek their fortune. While Dante ended up in New York, Pietro got as far as Hamilton, where he started a fish and chip shop in 1922.”
As you can see, the rest is history. The ice-cream recipe has been passed down through generations of this Scots-Italian family and it is a recipe that works, consistently winning awards and pleasing generation upon generation of happy customers.
Giacopazzi’s – Eyemouth
With an impressive string of awards, it is easy to see why Giacopazzi’s is worth investigating. It is another of the long-established ice cream businesses that Scotland is renowned for. Just as Lorenzo Giacopazzi left Northern Italy to seek his fortune in 1898, it is worth seeking out his settling place in the Borders fishing village of Eyemouth. Still being made fresh in the shop every single day, you could go for one of the traditional flavours, or perhaps you might find a wee surprise with one of their original flavours.
Pieri’s – Kilmacolm
A traditional Italian ice-cream shop and deli, both the ice-cram and the coffee come highly recommended, as you’d expect. Take away, or enjoy in the café through the back.
A great destination for a wee cycle out of Glasgow, and the ice-cream is reward enough once you get there.
The Ice Cream Shop – Cullen
Another place that consistently gets outstanding reviews on Trip Advisor; and with comments like “A must for ice cream lovers”, and “Best ice cream ever!”, you get the feeling it is worth checking out.
It’s definitely a place for those with a sweet tooth. Alongside a range of ice cream flavours, there are shelves and shelves of old-fashioned sweetie jars.
S. Luca – Musselburgh
Considered an institution, S. Luca is now being run by the third generation of the family that have been making ice cream since 1908. No matter the weather, the queue outside is testament to the popularity of this café and its sister café in the Morningside area of Edinburgh.
As with most of the traditional Scots-Italian ice cream families, the recipe has stayed the same and the ice-cream is made fresh every day, though in this case the founder, Luca Scappaticcio was taught how to make ice cream by a Swiss Sous Chef at the Balmoral hotel!
Janetta’s Gelateria – St Andrew’s
With a wide range of flavours, there are often queues out the door. By the time you’ve had your first taste, you’ll understand why!
This gelataria is a St Andrews institution and a tourist attraction in its own right.
These are just a few of so many great ice cream places in the country. Did you know that there is even a Scottish ice cream trail? Check it out.