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Famous ice cream maker who loved dreaming up new recipes

Published 29/06/2016

Guido Morelli
Guido Morelli
The early days in Morelli’s cafe

Guido Morelli - a member of the well-known ice cream family based on the north coast - has died at the aged 81.

He passed away peacefully, surrounded by members of his family, after a short illness.

His daughter, Daniela, said: "Dad was a much-loved and loving husband, father, nonno (grandfather), bis nonno (great grandfather) and friend to all who knew him.

"He always had a smile and brought so much joy to everyone at the company, and also to our incredible customers.

"We will miss him, but our wonderful memories will keep him alive in our hearts."

Morelli was very much at the helm of the famous ice cream family business.

"He worked tirelessly and came in to the office every day, taking charge of developing recipes," Daniela said.

A visit to Morelli's is a tradition for many families visiting Portrush or Portstewart, or staying there on holiday, and the ice-cream and cafe business attracted people of all backgrounds.

Some years ago, Mr Morelli talked to this newspaper about his business.

"When I took over the Portrush shop in 1976, it had a very small factory at the back where we made all our ice cream and also the ice cream for my cousin's shop in Portstewart," he said.

"In those days, it was made as a mix and taken to the shops to be frozen.

"Now its completely changed and everything is made and frozen in our Coleraine factory and transported to outlets and franchises all over Northern Ireland."

Following the sudden death of his wife Rosemary in 2009, Mr Morelli dedicated his life to building the business, but he said: "There's never a day goes by that I don't think of her."

He added: "I've always loved my job, and I especially love what I am doing now. For most of my life, I was behind a counter, and now I'm in the background developing new flavours and products."

In the same article, his daughter Daniela said: "Dad has always been really supportive to us all.

"If I had turned round and said that I didn't want anything to do at all with ice cream, he would have been behind me and would have understood 100%."

"I admire the way he is so completely unmaterialistic. He would put his last penny into the business because he loves it so much."

The family first came to Northern Ireland in 1907 when Joseph Morelli opened a small cafe in Ballymena.

Later, his brother, Dominic, opened a fish and chip shop in Coleraine.

When Dominic returned to Italy, the business was taken over by a third brother, Peter, who added an ice cream parlour and taxi service to the operation. Then, in 1929, he opened The Ice Palace in Portstewart.

He also opened a cafe in Portrush, and later sold the Portstewart business to his nephew, Angelo.

The family-owned business now has ice-cream shops across Northern Ireland, with their flagship store in Portstewart where they started the business.

The firm also supplies customers including Spar, Tesco, Asda, hotels and restaurants.

alf mccreary

Belfast Telegraph

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