THE CITY // Crolla's Gelateria

Crolla's ice cream - Aberdeen

Much to my delight, Aberdeen seems to have established something of an ice-cream scene recently and it's been growing rapidly over recent months, with the likes of Shake 'N' S'cream, Hamilton's Equi's, and Shakes 'N' Cakes adding their own flavours to the mix alongside good old Baskin Robbins, The Long Dog Cafe and Cafe Cognito - my personal faves.

Now, though, there's a new kid on the ice block with Crolla's taking up residency on the corner of  Rosemount Place and Mount Street. I was delighted when I saw the signs appear in the window some months ago now, not only because, in my book, there's always more room for ice-cream (There is. Always.), but because Crolla's roots on the streets of Glasgow take me back to afternoons on Byres Road and lazing about in the botanic gardens' sun.

Anyone who knows me knows that ice-cream is pretty much my kryptonite, so when I heard word that they were having a soft-launch, I couldn't help but pop along!

Crolla's gelateria Aberdeen - interior

First established by Serafino Crolla in Glasgow way back in 1895, the family have been bringing traditional Italian-style ice-cream to Scotland's customers for more than 120 years. That first branch was soon followed by a second, then a third shortly after the first world war, and by the time the 1950s came around, such was the popularity of the Crolla brand that an ice-cream factory was added, supplying a 30 strong fleet of vans serving ice-cream across the city. 

Step forward 60 years and with Serafino's great-grandson, Peter Crolla, at the helm, the brand now supplies ice-cream and desserts to a range of shops, restaurants and cafes in addition to their own new-look, award-winning ice-cream parlour on Byres Road.

Elsewhere in the country, the Cordiner family have a 30 year history of bringing ice-cream to the streets of Aberdeen in a van of their own. However, with a rise in ice-cream parlours and frozen treats available on supermarket shelves, the popularity of the ice-cream van fell into decline and so it was that Carol and her family - the current generation of Cordiners - found themselves dreaming of a parlour of their own.

Crolla's gelateria Aberdeen - menu

Boasting a recipe collection of more than 60 ice-cream flavours, the Crollas, meanwhile, began to dream about taking their sweet treats further across the country, culminating in the concept of franchising the brand.

So it is that the Cordiner and Crolla clans - with their combined ice-cream history - have come together to launch one of the first franchise branches (the other being in Perth) right here in Aberdeen!

Crolla's Gelateria - Aberdeen

The venue at 60 Rosemount Place has been transformed from drab office space to bold and bright little diner, the outside clad in shining red tiling while the interior takes on the iconic Crolla's red, black and white colour scheme.

It's an eye-catching combination.. but nowhere near as eye-catching as their display of treats!

With hot and cold drinks, baked goods, soups, paninis, baked potatoes and the distinctive "pizza cones" all available, the gelateria has much more to offer than frozen desserts. But - let's face it - it's clearly the ice-cream that steals the show!

Made fresh on site according to top secret Crolla's recipes, a rainbow of some 25 flavours filled the chiller on launch day. I lost track of just how many I tasted among their generous sample offerings, but each was creamy and silky smooth, with just the right balance of sweet. Ferrero stands out strongly in my memory, as does the Mango and Raspberry, and I've actually been back for a visit today (because, ice-cream) and can say that the Peach Melba gets a definite thumbs up!

As if 25 flavours weren't choice enough, you can choose whether to have your scoop served in a tub, a waffle cone, an oyster, a double nougat, a teddy cone, or a sprinkle-covered one; with or without one of their selection of sauces; as it is, or topped with sprinkles, marshmallows, gummy bears, or buttons..

There are hot desserts - sticky toffee pudding, Belgian waffles, cookie dough - you can choose to accompany it. You can pick from a range of beautifully-decorated sundaes, from the traditional knickerbocker glory or banana split, through to the caramel shortcake combination or the enormous Byres Road bonanza. Or if none of that takes your fancy, perhaps a freshly made milkshake or - my favourite - a cold stone creation will do the trick!

Before Crolla's were on the scene, Byres Road used to be home to a little parlour by the name of 3 Steps to Heaven. It was there that I first came across the cold stone creation concept and it became the ultimate treat for my friends and I during my uni days. Safe to say I was excited to see them listed among the offerings!

Crollas cold stone creation - Aberdeen

Pick two ice-cream flavours, throw in your favourite toppings, watch as they are "mashed" together on a cold stone, choose a sauce to top it all off and - voila! - you have your own unique dessert. Peter made us a juicy, fruit-flavoured combination on launch night, mixing together some Strawberry and some Mango and Raspberry ice-creams along with meringues, strawberries and a sweet toffee sauce, to create a truly delicious dish. Mmmmm.

I think I rolled rather than walked home after the launch - fit to burst after all dat ice-cream - and it's safe to say that I left feeling impressed, wishing the Cordiners the greatest success and looking forward to going back.

Good luck cake - Crollas Aberdeen

As I mentioned, I've been back for a return visit today (sampling their coffee and more ice-cream, while my friend said her chicken panini was great) and the fact that Crolla's is now on my route to work only further guarantees that visit won't be my last.

For your own ice-cream fix, head on down to 60 Rosemount Place and check them out. Or, heck, use Deliveroo and have the frozen goodness delivered straight to your house!

60 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen, AB25 2XJ
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