ALDEN WILLIAMS / Stuff
Ice Cream Charlie’s manager, Chrissy West, gives Vanilla Ice the finishing touches.
It’s a Christchurch institution that’s older than the cathedral and electric tram, and now Ice Cream Charlie plans to go nationwide.
Founded in 1903 – a year before Christ Church Cathedral was completed – the company has been serving its famous Vanilla Ices from its cart at Armagh St on Victoria Square for generations.
In 2021, they will also open in Akaroa, before expanding to other cities in years to come.
On Sunday, Mayor Lianne Dalziel unveiled the family company’s new cart, Peggy, which replaces the old one built in the 1950s.
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And to mark the occasion they distributed 1000 free Vanilla Ices, which are still made using the same 117-year-old recipe and sold from the cart and portable cycle carts.
Although Charlie’s Ice Cream was long based in Victoria Sq, founder Sali Mahomet operated his first cart at the nearby Sq Cathedral.
Known as Charlie, he was the first of only seven owners of Vanilla Ice (Charlie’s Ice Cream) for more than a century.
General manager Tim McIsaac said the old van will now be renovated before being put back in service.
“It will not retire, it will be raised to 2020 standards,” he said.
“The previous van was commissioned around 1954, the freezers were all back in the 50s. It was not environmentally friendly or energy efficient, it was outdated. “
The new van was designed to be “old school” but new, he said.
“It has been built specifically from the ground up for the provision of ice cream. We expect it to be there for the next 50 years.
“The business has been running for almost 120 years, it is the oldest ice cream business in New Zealand.”