rossi’s lemon ice
One of my favourite food bloggers, Kavey of KaveyEats, hit upon a great idea for bloggers everywhere to explore their childhood ice cream-related memory. Like most Britons, particularly those that grew up on the coast, ice cream is a very tangible memory to me. One brand in particular is the first that comes to mind: not Wall’s, not Lyons Maid, not Haagen-Dazs. Rossi’s. And their specialty is the Rossi Lemon Ice.
Rossi’s is known throughout South Essex as the ice cream brand. The Rossi’s van came round my street every night after school, you could stroll along Marine Parade and visit their shop, or drop by their kiosk on Southend High Street. I was astonished as I grew up and went outside of the county to realise no-one else had heard of it. But it’s a brand that goes back eighty years, and it’s familiar blue-and-white livery is a prominent landmark on the Southend promenade.
The Rossi brand was started by the Rossi family in 1932, both selling and manufacturing in the Southend area. Nearly a hundred years later and a few changes in ownership and the product is still sold and made in South East Essex – truly one of the brands associated with the region.
The kiosk is now unfortunately gone, yet you can buy tubs of their ice cream in many grocers and delis throughout the county. It’s not quite as magic buying it this way, but it still tastes the same as when I was eating it thirty years ago.
Their “vanilla” ice cream is great – doesn’t actually taste of vanilla, it tastes of white, but it’s great – but the crown jewel in their flavour riches is the lemon sorbet, or as it’s more commonly known, “the Rossi lemon ice”. If you’ve not had the pleasure it doesn’t quite taste like a sorbet that you are used to; it’s smooth and extremely fine-grained, with a curious luminous yellow hue. But it’s the perfect treat on a hot Summer stroll along Southend High Street.
For my attempt I needed a really strong syrup with a slick of gelatine to try and recreate the smooth texture of the Rossi lemon ice. After freezing I was amazed how close to the real thing it tasted! It’s a perfect little scoop of childhood memories.
Rossi's lemon ice
- 300 ml water
- 200 g sugar
- 150 ml lemon zest and juice about 4 lemons
- 1 leaf of gelatine snipped into tiny pieces
- 1-2 drops yellow food colouring optional
- Peel and juice the lemons - I would try and keep the zest as large as possible to make it easy to fish out later. Bring everything to boil in a saucepan. As soon as it boils take it off the heat and whisk vigorously to dissolve the sugar and gelatine. Strain off the zest. Pour into a freezable container and freeze overnight.
- When ready to serve, whizz up in a food processor and serve in a cornet, garnished with a Cadbury's Flake.