Working with DYW

As part of #IceCreamMonth, we are delighted to be working with Developing The Young Workforce – Ayrshire (DYW) to showcase all that the artisan ice cream industry has to offer and in particular the job opportunities it creates for our young workforce.

We are very proud of our summer recruit Louis Warwick, who was video-interviewed by Natalie and Danielle from DYW about his experience working in Sugar & Spice and serving Geraldo’s Ice Cream.  Louis was asked lots of questions about everything from the recruitment process, to his favourite and least liked tasks within the role. He did amazingly well! Have a look at the DYW blog and watch his video below.

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Natalie and Danielle from DYW with our summer recruit, Louis.

DYW is the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy aiming to develop the young workforce and reduce youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021. The Ayrshire DYW Regional Group was established to engage with local employers, encourage them to liaise with schools and colleges and to recruit more young people within the region. We are very pleased to be part of this initiative and look forward to working with DYW in the future.

 

 

Ice Cream Day with Geraldo’s

President Ronald Reagan announced a national holiday to celebrate ice cream back in 1984. His intention was to promote the economic well-being of the US Dairy Industry and he called on everyone to pay tribute to ice cream with “appropriate ceremonies and activities”. To this day, National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in July, not only in the USA but also here in the UK. Needing no excuse, we raised a Geraldo’s ice cream cone to celebrate!

Me and Sweet Caroline

Ice cream has certainly changed since 1984 with a rise of artisan producers and a growing range of amazing and unusual flavours. Our own brand of Geraldo’s ice cream has been produced by Toni and Sweet Caroline for 11 years in the smallest production unit in Scotland (at the back of the shop). Named after Toni’s late father, Geraldo’s has won numerous awards for creative flavour combinations including gluten free options. Have a look at Toni’s account of ‘The Story of Geraldo’s ice cream’ for the inside scoop on how it all started.

Having worked with Italian MasterChef Antonio Losita last month, Toni has developed some fantastic new flavours, including Lemon Sorbet, Pear Cheesecake and Raffaello. Sweet Caroline, at 71 years, still makes most of the ice cream on-site. After 11 years of making Geraldo’s ice cream, the busiest day ever was in June this year when Caroline made 180 litres of ice cream by hand from 10am until 11:30pm.  At the end of that night, she was captured on camera dancing in the shop to Michael Jackson’s, ‘Don’t Blame it on the Sunshine’. Proof, if any was needed, that happiness is ice cream.

Happy Ice Cream DAY!

 

 

There’s a Bank Holiday Weekend coming up…

Well here’s the 2nd instalment of my Did You Know feature and I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that this weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend.

 

That means only one thing – all systems go for those of us catering for tourists or day trippers in any way. Stock orders in, all hands on deck and fingers crossed for some good weather, and let’s hope it’s several degrees warmer than it has been in the last few days.

Despite the drop in temperature I still have to be prepared for a hot, sunny spell and last week my delivery of ice cream cones came in, all 60+ boxes of them, so you could say I’m ready for some sunshine. We’ve changed our range of waffle cones this year and have a couple of new additions on offer including one rolled in popcorn and another rolled in milk chocolate vermicelli and, of course, our best selling nutty waffle. (My personal favourite!)

Our premium waffle cone selection for 2015

Thankfully I did actually manage that day away last week at the spa with Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately, after a somewhat painful massage to remove the lumps and bumps from my back and neck, I was guided into the relaxation room to recover then promptly fell asleep for the next 2 hours so most of the afternoon was gone!  For those of you not working this weekend take time to relax, enjoy some family time and take advantage of the time off; you deserve it I’m sure.

Did you know this weekend also signals the start of Whisky Month and World Whisky Day is only a few weeks away when we Scots pay homage to our national drink. My display window is being dressed on Thursday and I’ll have more about what we’re doing in the shop in next week’s instalment including a fantastic offer on the newly acclaimed online Whisky School Courses.

Finally, did you know you can vote for us in the Waverley Golden Cone Awards?  It’s the annual search to find Scotland’s favourite place to enjoy ice cream and since this is Geraldo’s 10th anniversary we’d love you to vote for us please.  All you have to do is fill in the form online for your chance to win a fully stocked ice cream cart for a special event of your choosing. Closing date is Tuesday, 5th of May.

 

 Good luck with your entry and have a great weekend everyone!

Toni x

Did you know?

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After last week’s blog about the start of the ice cream season and Geraldo’s 10th birthday I was sitting in my office this morning wondering what to write about next.  So I’ve decided to introduce a weekly (this may be wishful thinking on my part) blog called:

Did you know?

Haven’t a clue what its going to be about but I’m sure if I book myself in for a day spa at Cameron House this week the inspiration will come to me. (Now that’s definitely wishful thinking!)

Here goes for this week’s instalment…

Did you know that Monday is our usual day for stripping down our Mr Whippy ice cream machine?  The whole process takes about an hour or so, all the parts are sterilised and lubricated then the machine is filled again with fresh ice cream; Geraldo’s ice cream, of course, and we’re the only shop in Largs who puts fresh ice cream in our Mr Whippy machine.  Did you know it’s Gluten Free? And did you know we now have Gluten Free cones to serve it in?  Please tell your coeliac friends all about it and they’ll be your BFF!

 

Monday is also a day for stock orders and Bon Bons is usually first on my list.  Did you know we stock over 100 different flavours of traditional hand packed sweets from Bon Bons? They also supply us with their melt in the mouth fudge, giant chocolate slabs, gourmet mallows and gorgeous gift bags filled with retro sweets, cinder toffee and flying saucers.

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After a busy weekend with lots of visitors to Largs, did you know that the days following a busy period is when most small business owners like me start preparing for the next one?  After all the stock orders for the week ahead are done, there’s admin, banking, accounting, payroll, staff rotas, forward planning, website updates, marketing…..the list is long but if the business is going to be ready for the next instalment of good weather and lots of visitors, we have to be organised and prepared for it.

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Despite all of this, did you know Monday is my favourite day of the week?  I like it even more if I’ve had a busy weekend.  It’s a real shame for those of you who don’t enjoy, sorry LOVE, what you do, dread Monday mornings and the idea of going back to work.  For someone like me who, 15 years ago didn’t like the idea of starting a business in Largs one little bit, did you know I absolutely love it here.

Have a great week everyone and keep your fingers crossed for me that I manage that well-deserved spa day.  I’ll let you know next week!

Toni x

It’s Geraldo’s 10th birthday!

Year of Food and Drink 2015

Celebrating the Year of Scottish Food and Drink 2015

We’re already well into celebrating the Year of Food & Drink in Scotland and at the first sign of sunshine Largs is overflowing with day-trippers, tourists and residents of the surrounding areas making the most of the good weather.  Good weather brings lots of smiles to people’s faces and it also heralds the start of the ice cream season too.

Big smiles all round in Largs.

Big smiles all round in Largs.

With April being the month for award-winning foods we thought it was a perfect month to announce that Geraldo’s Ice Cream is celebrating  its 10th birthday this month.  There’s quite a story attached to how Geraldo’s began and you can read that here. We’ve picked up numerous awards over the years for our Classic Vanilla, Mint Choc Chip, Scottish Tablet, Gerry Berry and Natural Strawberry to name but a few but we have loads more flavours to choose from with 16 on the go at any one time.

10 years old this month!

10 years old this month!

My ice cream is made with Scottish milk and cream supplied to me by Mills Dairies in Largs and I use only the finest fruit purees and ripples.  It’s also Gluten Free and Sugar & Spice is the only ice cream shop in Largs to put fresh ice cream in our Mr Whippy machine too.

Fresh, gluten free ice cream in our Mr Whippy too!

Fresh, gluten free ice cream in our Mr Whippy too!

We’re open late every night until at least 9pm so if you’re in town or driving through, drop by and give us a visit.  If you’re on Facebook, why don’t you LIKE our page, CHECK IN if you’re in the shop and you can pick up TWO FREE TOPPINGS ON YOUR ICE CREAM.

LIKE and CHECK IN for 2 FREE TOPPINGS

LIKE and CHECK IN for 2 FREE TOPPINGS

Choose any 2!

Choose any 2!

Me and Mama Mia (Sweet Caroline) look forward to seeing you!

Toni x

Me and Sweet Caroline

Robert Burns World Federation Dinner

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Recently I was asked to produce a Whisky Ice Cream for 300 people attending the inaugural dinner of the Robert Burns World Federation.

Dignitaries from around Ayrshire and beyond attended the event at Greenwood Academy in Dreghorn on Saturday, 13th Sept 2014 after holding their AGM and conference in the Menzies Hotel in Irvine.  North Ayrshire’s Facilities Manager, Ken Campbell, asked me to prepare a Whisky Ice Cream of my own choosing for the occasion so it had to be something special.  I’m slowly getting to grips with the complexities of the many fantastic whiskies out there but this was the first time I’d tried mixing it with ice cream.

After discussing some options with one of the ice cream industry’s advisors, I personally decided on the Bowmore 12YO Malt from Islay.  The late, great whisky writer, Michael Jackson, proclaimed it as “remarkably long and complex.”  For me, that was exactly what I wanted to achieve with my ice cream; a taste sensation that really lingered.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Even the distillery, one of the oldest in Scotland, say their Bowmore 12 YO is like vanilla ice cream at a beach bonfire.

I couldn’t have got a better combination.  My ice cream is almost 10% full cream and I needed something to cut through that without being too overpowering.  Bowmore’s trademark peaty smokiness balanced with a subtle taste of honey and lemon was ideal. The end result was a very intensely whisky flavoured ice cream (4% alcohol) with a light ripple of caramelised whisky sauce.

After posting some pics and and tweets of the resultant flavour, I have to say that customers have responded with requests for more, more, more!  It’s been on sale in my cabinet (at no extra cost) for the last few days and has been a huge success.  This one’s adults only of course (sorry kids) but has inspired me to try some more combinations as we start to go into the autumn/winter.  Any suggestions?

Sláinte!

What a fantastic start to the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow…

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Celebrations in Largs as the Queen’s Baton returns home to Millport

It’s not every day you get a request like this but a few weeks ago, the head of catering for North Ayrshire Council popped in to Sugar & Spice to talk about a special celebration dinner for the Queen’s Baton Relay carriers prior to the XX Commonwealth Games starting in Glasgow. Geraldo’s ice cream was to feature on the menu and I was asked to create two new flavours for the occasion.

The dinner was being held over two days for 500 people on both nights and to welcome the teams from Nigeria and St Helena as their special guests. The request was for 24 napolis each of Mango and Lime ice cream along with 1000 chocolate dipped waffle cones and 32 kilos of handmade chocolates. The ice cream was being carried into the dinner on specially designed platters to hold the cones high, resembling the baton, with the chocolates from Sugar & Spice being served afterwards.

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The first batch of Geraldo’s Mango ice cream being produced for the Queen’s Baton Celebration Dinner

I was over the moon to be asked to do it and delighted that Geraldo’s Ice Cream was specifically mentioned on the dinner menu. The excitement in town on the day was fantastic and the feedback has been amazing. Largs was especially busy as the Queen’s Baton made its way into town and across to the island of Cumbrae and the town of Millport where the wood for the Baton came from. On its return into Largs, crowds lined the streets and cheered the Baton carriers as they passed Sugar & Spice and made their way further down the coast prior to the celebration dinner later that day.  Even Magnus, Largs’s Viking warrior on the promenade, was involved when Karen Dunbar posed for photos with the town’s Vikings.

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Magnus looks on bemused as Karen Dunbar stops briefly for a photo opportunity with the Vikings of Largs.

After all the hustle and bustle was over I was especially pleased to be able to spend a few hours in the city centre of Glasgow on the day of the opening ceremony. My cousin Maxine was visiting from Singapore and we headed for Buchanan Street for lunch. The atmosphere in town was incredible with live entertainment all around the streets of the city. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced Glasgow as being this much fun and it was clear the city was literally welcoming all nations with open arms.  At 7pm the streets cleared as everyone headed to the opening ceremony or to the nearest TV screen to watch the celebrations unfold.

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Buchanan Street buskers made the atmosphere in Glasgow city centre electric on the opening day of the XX Commonwealth Games.

Well done Glasgow and to all the volunteers and contributors involved. You certainly flourished that day!