“ St Helen's Road, Swansea. Tel: +44(0)1792 460370. „
Joe's was founded in 1922 by Joe Cascarrini a second generation Italian gentleman. Over the years Joe's ice cream has won several awards including 'Champion of Champions' (whatever that is!). Many of the better cafés, restaurants and fast food outlets in South Wales are owned and run by Italian families. I was surprised to read some years ago A.A. Gills comment about Wales being so uncultured and culinarily challenged as to not have even experienced cappuccino, (despite knowing that Mr. Gill is not a lover of the Cymru, - or the English now apparently) I was surprised because on this point he is totally wrong. Our wonderful Italian settlers of which there were many, brought us these delicious treats along with espresso and gorgeous ice cream long before most people in England, even London, had heard of them. Anyway I digress (again, sorry). If you want to know more about the history of Joe's and check out opening times, menus, phone numbers etc, there is a very nice site at joes-icecream.com.
Joe's is sold pre-packed and beats the socks of most other similar brands. However it is not a patch on the ice cream served fresh from the churners at their parlours. So that is what I'll be reviewing, with a nod below to the pre-packed yumminess.
The pre packed tubs come in several flavours and sizes, from individual 120ml size, (with the ubiquitous too small plastic shovel in the top) to family sized tubs of 500mls, 1ltr and 2ltr (prices are £1.05, £2.50/75, £4.25 and £7.95 respectively). The flavour choice is widest in the individual pots and consists of: vanilla, strawberry, cappuccino, caramel swirl, strawberry swirl, chocolate swirl and mint choc swirl. The litre size includes such treats as Welsh cake!? That sounds like something Heston Blumenthal might cook up. These can be bought at retailers bearing the Joe's sign, but they probably won't carry all the flavours.
Joe's Ice cream parlours (as per dooyoo heading) are fairly insignificant pieces of architecture, what is important and wonderful about Joe's is its own ice cream, and that is what the review will primarily cover.
At the parlours they only serve vanilla flavoured ice cream, which is made on the premises and produced all day. The ice cream itself is so heavenly that I'm sure no one would mind the vanilla base being the only option on site. There are a huge range of excellent toppings and sauces on offer. Unlike most toppings I have sampled elsewhere, which have been a bit like those tasteless sugar candy things you sprinkle on top of cakes, with any fruit being fairly bland, doused in syrup and pretty unrecognisable, Joe's are magnificent, fresh and delicious.
You won't find any little flecks of vanilla seed or pod in this ice cream, the vanilla flavour is apparent but subtle and doesn't overpower the creaminess of the product. It is sweet but again subtly so and you aren't left with a sugary after taste, to say this is creamy is an understatement. To me this is something that tastes quite unlike any other ice cream I have ever tried. It isn't heavy and rich like some, nor light and insubstantial like others, it is soft but more dense than a 'Mr. Wippy' style ice cream. Hell it is just perfect. There may be a suspicion amongst you that this is a simple bland vanilla, it is anything but. It seems to have a component that sets the taste buds alight, and shoots straight to the pleasure centres of the brain. Never before have I eaten something and done the eyes closed orgasmic 'mmmm' thing, I've always seen that as visual poetic licence used by soft porn cooks like Nigella, try Joe's and you might see what I mean.
We live about ten miles from Swansea so going to Joe's is an occasional eagerly anticipated treat. Being extremely skint at the moment we couldn't afford to do anything much for our recent anniversary (23 cold stony steps towards the grave - or years if you prefer), so what we decided on was a visit to Joe's and a DVD at home later, and to be honest I couldn't have enjoyed it more if we had gone to a good restaurant.
My favourite delight from Joe's is the Cherry Temptation, which is vanilla ice cream, generously layered with plump, sweet and mouth wateringly gorgeous black cherries, and topped with chocolate or nuts (which I ask them not to add), oh and they usually add a couple of wafers too. This costs £2.50, £3.30 or £4.95. I usually have the middle size which is quite generous, with about 3 scoops of ice cream, and to be honest I would happily eat the larger size and not feel guilty about the calories for one second. Joe's serves many different concoctions and they vary in price starting at £1.05 for a one scoop cone. This may seem a little pricey, but for the quality of product you are getting, and the pleasure which is honestly better than sex it is worth every penny. I don't have a tub of Joe's at the moment to check if it shows the calorie content, as it is a luxury ice cream I'm sure the numbers would be frightening, but I don't care Joe's is just that good.
Joe's has only two parlours and a stall, they are all in Swansea. One at 85 St. Helens Road, it is not a particularly salubrious area but is only a short stroll from the seafront and just on the cusp of being in the 'posh' seafront village of Mumbles.. The other is in Mumbles itself, and the stall is at 'The Piazza' in Parc Tawe in central Swansea.
I can only describe the St. Helens parlour as it's the one I use. On entering there is a long counter, where you are greeted by banks of happy(ish) staff ready to serve your take away, and the queue when there is one moves quickly. To the left is the parlour which seats approximately 30 people, they also serve a few bits and bobs of other milk based produce such as milk shakes and coffee. I think that they serve other snack foods too at the Mumbles parlour. The area is clean and spacious with a slight retro ice cream parlour feel, I think it has waitress service, but as we usually take out I may not have remembered that correctly. Just across the road is Swansea's Guild Hall where a lot of local government types while away their days, a few decent pubs and little down at heel shops litter the area too. The Guild Hall has lots of parking areas around it -which is why I mention it - as there is no dedicated parking for Joe's, (there is a small stretch of road literally around the corner where about 5 cars can be parked for a limited period). You are also quite near the Patti Pavilion and St Helen's Stadium, so if you are visiting them it may be worth popping into Joe's while you are in the area.
The other parlour in the centre of Mumbles itself is very near the sea front but doesn't have a sea view. I never use this one as it's further away and always bursting at the seams, often with queues out of the door. Again there is no dedicated parking, but there are many car parks along Mumbles front and the cliff top. However trying to find a space there in holiday season often leads to bloodshed and swearing gaskets being blown. The small takeaway at Parc Tawe is centrally located near a cinema complex, bowling alley, shops etc.
If I were ever in the position of having to choose a last meal Joe's would most certainly form a major part of it. Their advertising says 'everything else is just ice cream' and they are right, every time I taste another quality ice cream I comment (to the husbands irritation at my repetitiveness) it's lovely but it's not Joe's.
On this beautifully sunny and warm day my thoughts turned to summer. They didn't go as far as picturing myself on a beach in my bikini, which is lucky as it may have deterred me from treating myself to the best ice cream known to man. For those of you that haven't heard of Joe's Ice Cream (and there'll probably be a lot of you as they only sell it in Swansea!) this is without doubt the nicest, creamiest, most delectable ice cream in the world. It is the creme de la creme of the dessert world, the pinnacle of all things sweet, the.... Okay I'll stop there, you get my drift.
Joe's ice cream was first invented in 1922 by Joe Cascarini, the son of Luigi Cascarini, who had emmigrated to Wales from Italy in 1898. Joe created this vanilla ice cream which was so special it had people flocking to the shop he opened in Mumbles, Swansea, to experience this phenomenal taste for themselves. Almost 90 years later, the business is still going strong and Joe's Ice Cream is still a must have for the many thousands of visitors that come to the city each year. Even people who do not live in Swansea (like myself) will travel to Mumbles just to indulge in this dreamlike dessert. (Nearly put desert then!)
The ice cream is made fresh throughout the day and is served straight from the churner, as opposed to being refrigerated in tubs or plastic containers. This allows the ice cream to remain soft and creamy and it's consistency is slightly softer than packaged ice cream as it doesn't have the ice crystals that you find in shop bought desserts. In recent years they have started packaging the ice cream so that it can be sold in local shops and restaurants but for me it just isn't quite the same.
There are a variety of different types and flavours on sale with a good selection of toppings such as nuts, fruit, chocolate or marshmallows. However, for me, creature of habit that I am, I always go for the same thing; a 3 scoop tub with 2 wafers and a flake. My literary prowess is not in such a league that I can convey to you, my dear reader, just how good this stuff tastes. It is simply divine! It is sweet, yet not overly so and as creamy as ice cream can be without being cream. (Think I'm stretching it a bit there!) It has a smooth consistency which means it glides effortlessly over your tongue and down your throat and it's cool richness will leave you extremely satisfied.
Joe's Ice Cream Parlour in Mumbles does serve other food and snacks but it is for this ice cream that people flock there in droves. It can be bought as part of a sundae, in a cornet or in a small tub and prices fluctuate according to what you have. The three scoop serving I had today was approximately £3.00 (I was so excited to have it I wasn't focusing on the cost, sorry) which many people may consider to be expensive. However, once you have tasted this, you will never let such foolish thoughts enter your head again! It's worth every single penny!!!
Nutritionally it's probably a nightmare which could be why I like it so much. As there is no information displayed I have no set facts to give you but come on. Who cares? It tastes superb! If you're on a diet maybe go for a smaller one. There, compromise.
To conclude, I hope I have made all of you living in the far reaches of Britain jealous, that on this beautiful sunny day I have been devouring some of Wales' finest. If you should ever venture into this neck of the woods don't miss out on this little treat. If you don't like it, I'll refund your money myself! (Or perhaps I could just read lots of your reviews and let Dooyoo do the paying!) Simply stunning!
You will never taste anything so nice anywhere else apart from Swansea where Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour is based. There are about 3 Ice Cream parlours in Swansea including Park Tawe and Mumbles! My cousin works in one of the parlours and I wish I was as this is the Nicest Ice Cream you would ever try! I think the secret recipe includes something similar to baby powder milk and it gives it a sweet taste. Its consistency reminds me of a Mr. whippy but smoother, creamier and more runnier. You have the option of having it in a carton, wafer shell or cone with various sizes starting from a small for about 65 pence! and also with great service with a smile, you can't go wrong! They have a really nice raspberry sauce and can have hundreds and thousand and chopped nuts for a bit extra. There are also other flavours available including Mint. In our supermarkets, Joe’s Ice Cream is also available but it doesn’t taste as nice and fresh as it’s all made on the premises with fresh milk! This Ice Cream is pure bliss and when I'm Rich and famous, I’m gonna have the Ice cream shipped out to me as its that nice! Oh that reminds me, I’m supposed to treat my mum to a big carton as a treat! If you're ever in the area, Have a try, You'll love it! Ha ha More for us then! (joke)
If you’re ever in Swansea one thing you have to try is Joe’s Ice Cream, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour has 2 parlours down the Mumbles along with a smaller take-away in Parc Tawe. The Ice Cream Parlours in the mumbles not only have ice cream but they also do drinks and sandwiches and food, but the main attraction is the ice cream. I can’t tell you in words how delicious it is you simply have to try it. At Joe’s you can get all different flavours of ice cream but vanilla has got to be the best. Knickerbocker-glorys are huge and delicious; other ice creams include the banana split. One ice cream I personally love is the “north pole”, its in a boat type carton with scoops of ice cream covered in chocolate sauce nuts and chocolate bits. Joe’s is a great ice cream parlour, prices are a bit steep but I feel there worth it. Cones can cost from 80p and cartons costing around £1 to £6.