Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Just one elderflower cornetto

The current chilly spell will suit the first tasting of a ‘canal flavoured’ ice cream tomorrow made with foraged ingredients in honour of London’s first gelato vendor, Carlo Gatti.

Gatti is credited with being Britain’s first ice cream man, cutting ice from the Regent’s Canal to make the Italian dessert available to all classes of Londoners in his café, which he opened in Holborn in 1849.

As part of the London Festival of Architecture, British Waterways has teamed up with award-winning eco-restaurant The Waterhouse, run by green chef Arthur Potts Dawson, to serve an elderflower ice from within a 19th-century ice well, a series of which were built along the canal to store ice transported from Norway, keeping it in its frozen form before the invention of the freezer.

Potts Dawson says: “It’s a great chance to celebrate the history of a British culinary phenomenon that has its roots on the canal. Foraging for a local ingredient to base an ice cream flavour on was an enjoyable challenge for us."

The elderflower flavour ice has been added to the menu at the Waterhouse and will also be available to taste on the canal as part of a series of events inviting visitors to gain a fresh outlook on the canal’s environment, and discover new aspects of the 200 year-old transport network.

On Sunday 6 July, an actor impersonating Carlo Gatti will be walking the towpath telling visitors all about his business ventures, which included bringing 400 tons of Norwegian ice by canal to New Wharf Road. The London Canal Museum, that is open for free on the day, will have talks on the ice trade and ice wells.

For more information about the event, including timings, ticket details and prices, visit or

For further information on the London Festival of Architecture visit

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