Golden Cone Awards: St Andrews ice cream parlour named as our 2014 winners

Owen-Hazel daily record photo golden cone 2014

THEY have been serving pokey hats for more than 100 years – and now they’ve been crowned the best in the land.

Family firm Jannetta’s Gelateria in St Andrews have won our coveted Golden Cone Award, making it officially the nation’s favourite ice cream parlour.

Owner Owen Hazel, 49, who creates all the ice cream in his back-shop factory, almost flaked out when we handed over the gleaming trophy.

He said: “I can’t believe it. We hoped and hoped we’d get it this year and I’m so overwhelmed.

“We made the finals last year and we were gutted not to win. I’d underestimated how important it was to the staff so I’m delighted for them too.

“When it’s a family business, you get to know each other well and they really wanted to win. I’m so glad we managed to go one better this year.”

We teamed up with Waverley Bakery, Scotland’s only manufacturer of cones and wafers, to search for the nation’s top cafe – and more than 2000 readers sent in nominations.

We were inundated with entries for the Fife gelateria and, when our judging panel visited, they soon found out why.

Heart Radio star and Seven Days columnist Cat Harvey, actress and writer Libby McArthur, ice cream industry expert Jean Pearce and Sunday Mail writer Lesley Roberts were bowled over by the Jannetta’s experience.

Cat said: “Jannetta’s is a gem. It’s got the whole mix – everything you could want from a cafe.

“There are all sorts of people queuing up to buy ice cream – loads of students, as you might expect, but plenty of middle-aged folk sitting at the tables outside, just chilling out.

“Steeped in tradition but modern too. I love the place.”

The ice cream parlour was opened in 1908 by the great-grandfather of Nicola Hazel, 44 – Owen’s wife – and they still use
the same secret family recipe, albeit tweaked with a little 21st century flair.

Chef Owen took over the role of ice cream creator after Nicola’s parents, Fiona and David DeAngelis. stepped aside and, despite being the only non-Italian, he’s become a master gelatiere.

The sign out front says “Four Generations: One Passion” and it’s clear to every single customer that the passion is ice cream.

On any given day, 52 flavours are displayed in Jannetta’s glass counter with tastebud-tingling names such as orange and
mascarpone, banana with salted maple almonds or peaches and cream.

But vanilla still far outsells everything else. A sign declares the time that the current batch was made, in this case 9.05am, and we visited at lunchtime. A specially imported machine can pump out 400 litres of the stuff every 90 minutes.

Owen starts work at 5.30am and, during summer months, they’re still working at 10pm, with customers queuing down the street. His children Lewis, 16, Chloe, 14, and Ross, 12, often help out too.

Libby said: “Jannetta’s is like a swan gliding along. It’s smooth and controlled but under the surface, they’re working away like crazy to make sure it’s perfect.

“I love that the family have been so committed to doing this for four generations. It’s a real part of the community.”

Jean added: “Jannetta’s was special. Good choice and a high-quality product.”

Handing over the stunning Golden Cone Award, Nadia Millar, managing director of the Waverley Bakery, said she was thrilled by Jannetta’s success.

She added: “To see Owen’s and Nicola’s faces when they realised they won was emotional. They work so hard, run a wonderful parlour and it means so much to them.

“All the cafes nominated were great and show Scotland has the best ice cream outside Italy. But Jannetta’s are worthy winners.”

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