Discover the ice-cream producers of North and South Lanarkshire
Despite it rarely being warm enough to really constitute 'ice-cream weather' in Scotland, we're incredibly passionate about an icy sweet treat, and Lanarkshire abounds with well-known ice-cream businesses.
One of the region's stalwarts is Equi's, founded in Hamilton in 1922 by Pietro Equi, who had arrived in Glasgow five years earlier at the age of 15. 'We've been making ice-cream since 1922 and four generations later we are still working with the same ethos of using the best Scottish milk and cream, and the finest and freshest ingredients,' says managing director David Equi.
They've had a busy year. In February, their raspberry ripple was judged the best of its kind in the UK at the National Ice-Cream Competition, while in June, their double cream vanilla picked up the gold medal at the Scottish Ice-Cream Championship.
As well as traditional favourites, Equi's have expanded their range to suit modern tastes with innovative and quirky flavours – think peanut butter cup, or lemon meringue – and they pride themselves on stirring up new combinations in their flavour lab, even creating flavours to tie-in with The Great British Bake Off. Their main factory produces 50 flavours for over 300 wholesale customers in Scotland and is available to buy in 260 Co-op stores too.
Heading west, just outside East Kilbride, John and Micki Henderson run a smaller-scale ice-cream operation under the banner of Thorntonhall Farmhouse Ice Cream. Based at Meikle Dripps Farm, their products are made fresh each day using milk from their own herd of dairy cows, producing silky ice-cream without using artificial colours, stabilisers or emulsifiers.
They also create bespoke ice-creams and sorbets with unusual flavours for special occasions, like weddings and parties. Among the more experimental combinations they've come up with for customers are black pepper ice-cream and Buckfast ice-cream – the only proviso is you need to commit to buying a batch of around 16 to 18 litres. In addition, they've also purchased an ice-cream cart and pod to enable them to pop up at weddings and events.
Taylors of Biggar is another popular choice among Lanarkshire locals. Nestled in the heartland of some of Scotland's best dairy farming territory, visitors to Biggar flock to their retail outlet Cones and Candies on Biggar's High Street for an ice-cream treat. The business was established in 1968 and they've been using traditional ice-cream recipes ever since. Milk is sourced from local farms and they create bespoke flavours like ginger and strawberry shortcake to complement more established favourites.
New Lanark Ice Cream is made in the World Heritage site it takes its name from, based in the village's mechanics' workshop. This small operator dishes up a range that includes jammy dodger, puff candy and raspberry cranachan or just a simple vanilla for traditionalists. Owned by the New Lanark Trust, it means that every time you buy a cone or tub, you're contributing to the restoration and upkeep of the historic site.
Finally, another traditional ice-cream business which has a long-standing reputation in the area is Soave's. The family came from the town of Cassino near Rome, landing in Lanarkshire in 1914 where the family café and ice-cream business began. Today, they supply hotels, restaurants, shops, cafés and parlours. The family has retained their original ice-cream recipe throughout but have expanded their range to include flavours like Scottish tablet, honeycomb sensation and vanilla royale.
With all these businesses continuing to innovate with quirky flavours, while building on and preserving their traditional methods, hopefully there'll be no shortage of delicious ice-cream delights to satisfy that Scottish sweet tooth in the future.
Thorntonhall Farmhouse Ice Cream
Meikle Dripps Farm, Waterfoot Road,
John and Micki Henderson sell ice cream made from milk fresh from that morning’s milking on the gloriously named Meikle Dripps Farm, as well as fresh fruit sorbets and ice cream cakes. Don’t go looking for grass green mint choc chip: they don’t use…
106 Cumbernauld Road,
Home café of the Soaves' Scots-Italian ice-cream dynasty, with their factory right behind, selling savouries and ice-cream desserts to sit-in plus cones and tubs in all sizes and flavours to takeaway.
Equi's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant
9–11 Burnbank Road,
An enticing presence in Hamilton since 1922, Equi's restaurant and parlour does pizza, pasta and fish and chips as well as lots of their award-winning ice-cream to eat in or take away.
The Mill Café
New Lanark Mills,
The main visitor-centre tearoom within the New Lanark Visitor Centre, serving snacks, drinks, light lunches and family oriented options. New Lanark ice-cream available in the tearoom or from a kiosk outside.
Taylors of Biggar
176 High Street,
Manufacturers and wholesalers of old-fashioned-style dairy ice-cream. Taylors’ ice-cream is sold at Cones and Candies on Biggar’s High Street.