The Sidoli's Story

The story so far...

The Company was founded in 1922 by Benedetto, the only flavour produced was vanilla and it was made in two-gallon batches. Depending on the weather Benedetto would produce two gallons daily at the rear of his cafe in the heart of Ebbw Vale town. It was sold at the old halfpenny for a single cone and a wafer which was a penny and two pence. The highlight of the year would be Whitson Monday when all the local chapels would walk out displaying their various banners. The ice cream sellers of which Benedetto had 6/7 at this time, would each be positioned outside one of the chapels, preferably the one with the largest congregation. After the children had finished the walk they would return to the chapel for a tea party, which concluded with lots of them having money to spend on ice cream. 

In 1939 the first piece of ice cream machinery was installed by John Payne, refrigeration engineers of Monmouth. They installed a state-of-the-art ice cream machine, an eight-gallon batch freezer. Which gave Sidoli’s the capability to produce eight gallons of ice cream per hour. To start,  we never made ice cream throughout the winter, production would start Easter Monday and finish at the end of August. 

With the advent of the Second World War, the manufacture of ice cream was banned as it was considered a luxury item and not a food. During that period Benedetto was interned on the Isle of Man for being of Italian origin. Whilst Ray, his oldest son was sent to work on the land. Although the production of ice cream was banned, there was a unique situation whereby we did make some ice cream. American soldier’s station in Gilwern, had all the raw ingredients to make ice cream, but no equipment so upon request we used our machinery to make ice cream for them.  For several years following the Second World War, equipment and vehicles were unobtainable, but we managed with some difficulty to get three new vans. And with Benedetto being released and back at the helm, production began once more in 1946/47, this also saw the introduction of Terry, Benedetto’s youngest son into the business. 


By 1948 production had steadily increased and demand was soaring. There was a renewed optimism amongst the population. People were once again enjoying and living their lives. Benedetto moved production to Market Square, the company continues to operate from these premises today. From the early days when Benedetto and his sons would produce and sell two gallons a day, the production capacity had increased to sixty gallons an hour and he employed roughly twenty-five people.  A decision was made here to develop the wholesale side of the business. 

In the early fifties Benedetto decided to stop retailing from mobile vans and concentrate more on the wholesale side of the business. Now the company had also increased its range offering vanilla and raspberry ice cream, whilst also manufacturing ice lollies, a breakthrough in frozen treats at the time. This was very labour intensive as they were all made by hand. 

Family packs as they were known, were also very popular. We had a state-of-the-art machine made by Rose Brothers of Gainsborough for this product, it erected the packaging, filled, and sealed them. This was one of the first machines of its kind in South Wales and allowed us to fill Neapolitan packets. 

During the sixties, not much changed. The company continued to grow and the Sidoli brand was becoming a real household name throughout South Wales. Ray and Terry had more of a prominent role in the company even though Benedetto never fully retired.

In the early seventies Terry’s son Mark joined the company, the third generation of Sidoli’s to make ice cream in Ebbw Vale. Our popularity was still growing and with the company’s future now in Mark’s hands we could begin to plan for future growth and success.

In the late seventies the company made a conscious effort to expand its product range, offering over ten different flavours in its dairy ice cream whilst growing its impulse/hand ranges to include old favourites such as Sidoli’s “66” flake, fun time, and choc ice. 

The great summer of 1976. Britain experienced one of its hottest heat waves to date and as a result demand for our ice cream soared. Temperatures were consistently above 30 degrees, and the only way we could meet demand was to make ice cream 24/7. This meant for the first time in the company’s history we had to operate a night shift. 

During the eighties there wasn’t many major changes, demand grew steadily as did production, the business grew its ranges and began to offer its freezer to table sundaes, something we still offer today. Terry retired and the company was now in the hands of his son, Mark. 

In the early nineties the Company embarked on its first ice cream parlour, in the Garden Festival Wales. The Garden Festival lasted a total of 6 months. The site opened officially to the public on Friday 1st May 1992 and ended on Friday 4th October 1992. Many events took place during the duration of the 6 months. As a local ice cream manufacture, we felt privileged to be part of, and represent Ebbw Vale in this festival which saw over two million visitors during its life. 

Throughout our history we had won many awards but 1993 marked the first major award! The Ice Cream Alliance Silver Challenge Cup 1st prize Strawberry Flavour Class. This would be the first of many high-profile awards throughout the nineties, our most successful decade for winning awards as Wales Premium Ice Cream Manufactures. 

Off the back of our challenge cup win in 1993, business grew steadily and our brand for top-quality, award-winning ice cream was more recognisable than ever. We built on this reputation in 1996 with another prestigious award in the Ice Cream Alliance (ICA) awards, winning the Silver Challenge Cup 1st prize in the flavour class for our hazelnut ice cream. Towards the end of the 1990’s in May 1998 to be precise, the company opened Caffe Sidoli’s in McArthur Glen Bridgend, a site we still operate from today.  We Finished off the 1990’s with another ICA 1st Prize in the prestigious Dairy Continuous Class. The 1990’s were fruitful for us. 

The beginning of a new millennium and the company was thriving. We now manufactured over 30 different flavours for our Napoli range as well as offering a range of five ‘spoon in lid 125ml tubs’. 


In 2006 Mark’s son Stefano began working for the company. The company was now into its fourth generation. His arrival led to fresh ideas, a complete rebrand and a huge hunger to drive the brand forward. Like many businesses we were subject to huge pressure when the financial crisis hit in 2008, fortunately the company had been through a variety of tough times throughout its history and was successfully navigated through the crisis. The good times soon followed, and the business continued to grow. Our brand was now bigger than ever and with this our flavour range grew to over 40 different flavours.

In 2012 the company received a visit from Ade Edmondson, we featured in his television programme ‘Ade in Britain’, during his visit Ade visited our manufacturing facility and our parlour in Ebbw Vale town centre. The purpose of his visit was to explore the history and tradition behind Welsh-Italian ice cream manufactures.

Our one hundredth birthday was fast approaching, and preparations had begun to celebrate 100 years of making our award-winning ice cream in South Wales. In 2019 we received a bronze medal for our strawberry ice cream in the first flavour class, silver challenge cup and a silver medal for our luxury vanilla ice cream in the Robert Equi Cup at the ice cream alliance national awards. We would go on to top this by claiming first prize in the 2020 National Ice Cream Alliance competition. Scooping the Silver Challenger Cup for our salted caramel ice cream, one of our most popular flavours!

In 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit, the first of its kind in the twenty first century. No longer did the 100-year milestone seem important. All non-essential businesses were forced to close as the world battled a global health crisis. Government enforced lockdowns were introduced as thousands of people became infected with the virus. Like most businesses we had to close, and our workforce was furloughed. Fortunately, the business survived the pandemic and the year that followed was the best to date! 

It’s 2022, Sidoli’s has officially been making its award-winning real dairy ice cream in South Wales for 100 years! The business is now the largest it’s ever been, and our product range has grown with us. We now produce over 50 different ice cream and sorbet flavours. 2022 also marked the companies first ever plant-based ice cream. The business also recently invested in a state-of-the-art continuous freezer and cooling system. This new freezer can produce 264 gallon or 1200 litres per hour, quite the increase from the 2 gallon or 9 litres a day we produced when we were founded in 1922……..


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If you'd like to find out more about our delicious ice cream or any other information on our product range, call, email or message us today.

01495 302323

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