Celebrating times ‘cone’ past at Colpi

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Milngavie’s oldest shop - Colpi - which sells traditional Italian ice cream, is proud to celebrate its 85th birthday this week.

The founder, Rodolfo Colpi, emigrated to Scotland from Colpi, a small hamlet in the Dolomite mountains in the Trentino region of north eastern Italy, in 1907.

Initially he worked with the Rossi family at The Bay Cafe in Gourock and learned how to make ice cream.

He returned to Italy to fight on the Austrian Front during the First World War and was awarded a Croce di Guerra for his bravery.

When he came back to Scotland in 1919 he opened his first cafe in Whiteinch called Criterion Ices.

In 1928, Dolfe, as he became known, moved to Milngavie and opened his shop next to the Douglas Cinema at 40 Main Street.

Rodolfo died in 1959 and his son Rudi carried on the business with his wife, Marie.

It was refurbished and expanded and re-named Allander Cafe - with seating for 42 people. This closed in 1979 and the shop was finally named after the family at 38 Main Street, where it remains today.

From 1984, Martin Colpi, the third generation, joined his father in partnership. In 1990 they opened an ice-cream shop in Newton Mearns and a flagship gelateria in Clydebank.

Rudi died in 2010 and Martin has now been joined by his sister Terri as business development director.

Martin said: “I helped my dad make ice cream on a Sunday morning from the age of 12 and it’s great still to be here following in the footsteps of Dolfe and Rudi. We are keen to develop our business in new ways in the future, for example, through our partnership with Wholefoods Market.”

Terri Colpi said: “It’s amazing to think we have been in business in Milngavie for 85 years. I feel as though I have ice cream in my genes and I am so proud of our product as well as our heritage.

“My daughter, Cosima, and I love to go back to the mountains in Trentino and we feel we owe it to my grandfather and father to keep the tradition going. And we will never, ever change his recipe!”

They still use traditional Italian equipment and fresh milk delivered from local farms to make the ice-cream and they don’t add artificial ingredients.

To celebrate cones will be 85p and all toppings free on October 24 and 25.