The Best Ice Cream in Scotland

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There’s no denying the Scottish Summer can be a little temperamental. One day it’ll be picnic blankets on the seafront, chips doused in salt and vinegar, sandcastles, and warm skin slick with sun-lotion. And then the next day it’s back to rain, rain, rain. As people love to note to each other in grocery queues, ‘Ach, the one thing that’s predictable about Scottish weather it’s you can’t predict it, eh?’ Very true, grocery stranger. Very true.

Be that as it may, one thing that never fails to bring us joy in the summer, whatever the weather, is ice-cream. Whether it’s dripping down your wrist as you eat it in the sunshine, or making you shiver in happy contentedness as the elements pelt in diagonals on your car windows, summer isn’t summer without it. And ice-cream is something that Scotland has in abundance. Indeed – interesting fact – did you know that one reason we have so many ice-cream parlours across Scotland is because waves of Italian people emigrated here in the late nineteenth century to escape the poverty and famine in Southern Italy? Many started businesses to support their families, some of those being ice-cream parlours and cafes, and you can still find the evidence of these across the country today.

This month, as part of our ‘Little’s Loves’ series, the Little’s Team are delighted to be sharing some of our favourite places to enjoy ice-cream this summer, come rain or come shine. Peruse our list and we’re sure you’ll find something to tickle your fancy.

Nardini’s, Largs

It’s difficult to imagine a summer in Scotland without a trip to Nardini’s. With its striped awnings and Knickerbocker Glories, Nardini’s is something of a Scottish institution and it has been a popular destination for visitors to Largs since the 1930’s. If you feel like walking along the prom, there are over 30 flavours to take away from the ice-cream parlour: toffee tablet, cookies and cream, Irn Bru sorbet, peach and passionfruit cheesecake, and more. Or you can sit inside the beautiful art-deco café and enjoy one of their towering ice-cream sundaes with a view of the sea from the window. Perfect.

2 Greenock Road, Largs KA30 8NF

Mary’s Milk Bar, Edinburgh

The eponymous Mary of Mary’s Milk Bar trained in Bologna, Italy, at the prestigious Carpigiani Gelato University and she makes all of the gelato in this charming shop fresh every morning. This means the flavours change every day and they always consist of fantastic (and often unexpected) combinations. For instance, some recent offerings have been white chocolate basil, apple and walnut strudel, pistachio and cardamom, Earl Grey and lemon sorbet, and goats cheese and honey. Flavours are quick to sell out in this popular Edinburgh location, so hurry and get ‘em while they’re hot (…well, while they’re cold. You know what we mean).

19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS

Jannettas Gelateria, St Andrews

Jannettas family business has been a permanent fixture in St Andrew’s for the last 110 years, since Bennet Jannetta first left his small village in Italy to come to Scotland. Four generations later, the award-winning gelato is still made using tradition Italian artisan machinery and the store sells over 50 flavour varieties, including Scottish tablet, key lime pie, peaches and cream, and cranachan. Ideal for a summer’s day in this beautiful seaside town.

31 South Street, St Andrews, KY16 9QR

Renaldo’s, Ayr

Another family-owned business by the sea is Renaldo’s in Ayr, selling tradition Italian gelato since 1920. The current owners make it a priority to source local ingredients for their 35+ flavours, and they use organic milk from the nearby Mossgiel Farm. Their ice-cream sundaes are incredibly good, from a ‘Biscoff Belter’ and Millionaire Marvel to Kool Kinder and Bangin’ Brownie – it makes our mouth water just thinking about them.

98 Sandgate, Ayr, KA7 1BX

Short Long Black, Glasgow

This year, Short Long Black coffee shop started making soft-serve ice-cream and we can confirm it is absolutely to die for. Their flavours change week by week and recently, along with the traditional vanilla with raspberry sauce, they’ve been serving up: pistachio and olive oil, espresso, burnt honey, and tarragon layered with an in-house raspberry compote, among many other flavours. SLB aim to use local and ethical produce where they can and their milk comes from a local farm in Ayrshire. Since the pandemic they’ve also been donating a percentage of their profits to SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). Just a few reasons why we love them.

501 Victoria Road, Glasgow, G42 8RL

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