Sophia Brothers, founder of Nonna’s Gelato aka some of the best ice cream in town is our LDNER this week. We caught up with her to find out where her love of gelato came from and get the scoop on all those amazing flavours…
Where do you live in London and why do you like the area?
I live in Highbury, directly in between Blackstock Road and Clissold Park, which is perfect as I’ve got the best of Highbury/Finsbury Park and Stoke Newington/Newington Green on my doorstep. I love it around here as there are so many great restaurants, cafes and pubs within walking distance. I also have the best organic fruit and veg shop on the corner of my road, Seasons & Blossoms, who are used to seeing me 3 or 4 times a day sometimes when I’ve run out of something in the kitchen!
Of all the food you could have made, why did you choose gelato?
I’ve always had a ridiculous obsession with ice cream, often having 3 a day! So after I travelled the world with friends, eating my way through gelato even on the remotest of islands, my friend brought me a small ice cream machine and I began to play around with making my own. Being half Italian and growing up watching my Nonna make everything from scratch I knew I wanted to make proper, Italian gelato.
You’ve created some pretty inventive flavour combos, which is your favourite and why?
It’s pretty hard to choose but I’d say my Kentish Cobnut is my ultimate fave! Cobnuts are very similar to hazelnuts but grown locally in Kent (we try to source all our ingredients as locally as possible) and our cobnut gelato tastes exactly like a Ferreo Rocher. Close second would have to our Elderflower, Gooseberry & Yoghurt, the flavours work so perfectly together, but sadly we serve it for literally 2/3 weeks of the year as gooseberry season is often short lived.
People can currently find you at street food markets in East London and at KERB which is all over town, do you have any plans for a permanent shop?
Not just yet, I love the freedom of being able to cycle all over London and there’s something really special about trading on the streets. The community and atmosphere on a market is just lovely and I wouldn’t change that for the world right now. But may be in the future….
Describe your perfect day in London.
If I’ve got a Sunday off I love to wander down to Lizzie’s on the Green and have BLAT bap for breakie (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) and read the paper, followed by a stroll along the canal to Columbia Road Flower Market. In the winter my favourite thing to do is walk up to Hampstead Heath, get nice and chilly, then head to the Flask and sit in the booth by the window, drinking beers and red wine all day, watching the world go by outside. But I also love Saturdays on Broadway Market, the day starts off lovely and quiet, I enjoy watching the early risers with a coffee and catching up with all the other traders, then a wonderfully busy sell out afternoon and seeing all our lovely regulars, followed by plenty of beers in the Cat & Mutton afterwards, just perfect!