By SAM BUTLER
The very best ice cream in the UK is being produced in Northern Ireland by Morelli at Coleraine, according to experts from the highly influential Ice Cream Alliance, the industry’s main trade body
Morelli Ice Cream was crowned Overall National Champion in the prestigious Ice Cream Awards at Harrogate in Yorkshire. In addition, the Northern Ireland company produces the best strawberry and vanilla flavours.
Morelli, among the best known names and most successful family businesses in the local food industry, won first place for its strawberry ice cream, first place for vanilla in the Open Flavour class and Best of the Best Vanilla.
The awards are now an integral part of the annual Ice Cream and Gelato Expo for the industry throughout the UK.
Morelli has been producing Italian-style ice cream in Northern Ireland since 1911 and now supplies major retailers here and exports to the Republic of Ireland.
The company has a long-standing reputation as a producer of outstandingly tasty and innovative ice cream products.
And there were also cups for Mauds Ice Cream from Carrickfergus and The Rinkha in Islandmagee.
Managing director of Morelli Arnaldo Morelli, commenting on the awards, says: “This is tremendous recognition for the company in the national ice cream business.
“We are all thrilled to have won the supreme champion title and other awards and extremely proud to have achieved this national endorsement for the outstanding quality of our ice cream. It’s also great to be bringing home these prestigious UK awards to Northern Ireland.”
Michele Shirlow, Food NI chief executive, congratulating Morelli’s and the other award winners, says: “We are delighted by the achievements of Morelli which has contributed substantially to the growth of the ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt sectors here. It’s a small business focused on premium quality and creativity.
“Morelli, a tremendous supporter of Food NI initiatives, has also supported other smaller food businesses here, including Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt and most recently Irish Black Butter, by using their products as ingredients for its extensive portfolio of delicious flavours.
“It is, furthermore, immensely encouraging to see another Food NI member, Mauds Ice Cream, gaining silver in the national awards for a successful product.
“And well done too to The Rinkha from the Food NI team. This is another marvellous endorsement of outstanding taste,” adds Mrs Shirlow.
The Ice Cream and Gelato Expo is a unique expo showcasing a huge assortment of ice cream varieties together with its equipment and supplies. This show provides a unique forum for suppliers, retailers, caterers and manufacturers of ice cream products.
The event aims to encourage and support the production, vending and consumption of premium quality ice creams and other frozen treats. The Ice Cream and Gelato Expo also showcases the various types of machinery and equipment utilized by the industry.
The event enjoys massive popularity among all the sections of the society and within all age groups. It provides the ideal opportunity for businesses to build brand images, create and optimise business opportunities and launch new products.
Interestingly, people in Northern Ireland and Scotland eat the most ice cream in the UK. On average, each person in the UK eats nine litres of ice cream every year. Surveys have shown that men are more likely to choose ice cream as a dessert than women.
Most ice cream contains more milk protein weight for weight than is present in milk itself. The dessert contains only around five per cent fat and plenty of calcium, minerals and vitamins.
While many people are only aware of a handful of ice cream companies there are over 1,000 in the UK producing hundreds of flavours. Despite this, vanilla remains the favourite, being chosen nine times out of 10.