KELLY'S CORNISH ICE CREAM
PUBLISHED: 22:21 27 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:20 30 August 2017
© Kim Kaminski / Alamy
Kelly's of Cornwall Ice Cream has a long, local history, having been a family business for more than 100 years
Kelly's of Cornwall ice cream has a long, local history, having been a family business for more than 100 years. Cornwall Life finds out how the business has blossomed
The cows look up as we trundle past the meadow in one of the Kelly's vans on the way to look around the factory in Bodmin. "We source all of our milk and clotted cream locally from Trewithen Dairy," explains Philip Kelly, MD of Kelly's of Cornwall Ice Cream. "The milk for the clotted cream is brought in every evening and then pasteurised. The cream is taken off the milk then slowly heated in a vat up to 75°C. It is then put into a 9-kilo box and chilled before delivering to Kelly's."
'You could say it's ice cream not blood that flows through my veins. I've always been involved in the business and some of my earliest memories are of helping my Dad in the ice cream vans.'
A family business for over 100 years, Kelly's of Cornwall is the leading brand of Cornish ice cream and a pioneer of the famous Cornish clotted cream ice cream. Made with clotted cream and whole milk, fresh from the cows that graze on Cornwall's lush green grass, Kelly's Ice Cream has a distinctive creamy flavour and smoothness.
Kelly's of Cornwall Ice Cream has a long, local history. In the 1890s Philip's great-grandfather, Joseph Staffieri, moved to the UK from Italy and settled in St Austell. Joseph's daughter, Florrie, married Lazero Calicchia, who took over the family business. Lazero began to build the ice cream side of the business and, with a pony and cart, launched the first Kelly's mobile unit, the origin of the fleet of 30 vans that can now be seen across Cornish beaches and landmarks every summer, from Polzeath Beach to Land's End.
'I really love working with ice cream, and during the busy summer season there is nothing more satisfying then helping the team by taking our vans out to the beach and selling it'
In the early 1930s Lazero changed the family and business name to the easier-to-pronounce 'Kelly'. Lazero died in 1948 and his sons took over the business. It wasn't until the 1970s, when Philip's parents took over the business, that the company was moved to Bodmin to a brand-new facility for ice cream making. "You could say it's ice cream not blood that flows through my veins," says Philip. "I've always been involved in the business and some of my earliest memories are of helping my Dad in the ice cream vans. I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life, so I left school and joined the family business. I haven't looked back."
Kelly's Bodmin site currently produces an impressive 9.5 million litres of ice cream a year, available nationwide through major supermarket retailers, as well as locally. Its shop in St Ives sells some of the well-known Kelly's flavours it has created through the years. "We often experiment with creating new flavours, but they don't always turn out exactly as planned," explains Philip. "My father was actually the one who encouraged us to experiment, and some of his creations have gone on to be our bestsellers, such as Strawberries & Cream and Honeycomb Caramel.
"Ice cream is quite difficult to make. Have you ever tried making it yourself at home? Not easy is it? Everything has to be exactly right to make a consistent batch, from the measurements and the temperature to the ingredients. We always aim to make a consistently great ice cream."
Kelly's won't be Cornwall's secret for much longer. It has launched a TV ad shot in Millbrook and has re-launched its range with a new packaging design, which includes a striking Cornish beach scene and a dairy cow. The company is also committed to supporting the local community and recently linked with Clean Cornwall to sponsor 10,000 car litter bags, to encourage people to take their litter to a bin or home. They were distributed through A30 garages over the Easter holiday period.
"I was born and bred in Cornwall, as were many of the key staff at Kelly's. I feel it's really important that Kelly's supports the local community," says Philip. "I really love working with ice cream, and during the busy summer season there is nothing more satisfying then helping the team by taking our vans out to the beach and selling it," Philip concludes.