Homemade gelato and bean-to-bar chocolate at new Aldeburgh shop

Inside the new Harris & James store, Aldeburgh. Pictures: Harris & James

Inside the new Harris & James store, Aldeburgh. Pictures: Harris & James - Credit: Harris & James

Harris & James opens a second store on the Suffolk coast.

Oh goody goody gum drops. A new gelato parlour, chocolate shop and café has opened its doors in Aldeburgh.

Harris & James (owned by the folk behind Twyfords in Beccles) opened its first independent ice creamery in Southwold last summer, which is going great guns, and Daniel Smith says a second store in Aldeburgh just made sense.

“We opened on Good Friday. Southwold’s been quite successful and we wanted to spread out a bit and develop ourselves. Aldeburgh’s got charm and that element of lots of tourism and independent shops we wanted to be a part of.”

Set within a former office building on the town’s high street, Harris & James is a haven for anyone with a sweet tooth.

“What sets us apart,” adds Daniel, “is we make our own gelato using local milk and local cream from Marybelle. The formula uses less sugar and less double cream, so it’s lower in sugar and fat than regular ice cream. But also it’s not whipped. The air content in commercial ice cream can often be double the volume, whereas gelato has only about 10% air in it, so you get a much denser product.

“It’s blast frozen very quickly so the water content doesn’t get a chance to freeze into large crystals which means it’s smooth and silky. It’s really mouth-filling and satisfying.”

Most Read

Around 30 flavours of gelato are made freshly in both stores on rotation, including deep, dark chocolate, made with Harris & James’ own bean to bar chocolate.

“Cherry trifle flavour is very popular at the moment. We add Marsala wine with sponge pieces and a cherry ripple and toasted almonds on top. Another favourite is the coffee. We pull lots of shots of our own espresso off the machine and incorporate it into the cream and milk.

“We’ve just created a new flavour – Sicilian pistachio and rose. So it’s got a very exotic Mediterranean flavour. The rose is just subtle enough to know it’s there but the pistachio is still dominant. We use pure ground pistachio paste.”

No preservatives, artificial colours or flavours are used in the gelato, which can be purchased in cones or tubs – or even as a milkshake.

As well as headlining on gelato, intrinsic to Harris & James’ stores are its own chocolate and coffee. “We have the Sole Bay blend of coffee in both stores. It’s a blend of Arabica beans from Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The flavour profile is caramel and toffee with a light note of acidity. It’s not bitter because we always roast our coffee so the natural flavour of the beans can be expressed,” Daniel reveals.

Chocoholics will jump with glee when they see the ‘pick and mix’ counter of homemade solid chocolates, lemon meringue truffles, salted caramel truffles and more. Take your choice and simply pay by box size (starting at under £10).

There are also chocolate lighthouses for children (in milk, dark and white) which, in the setting, make an apt alternative to a Flake, squished into a cone of gelato.

And look out for the self-service counter of baked good – from brownies to a luxurious chocolate cake smothered in rich chocolate ganache and decorated with white chocolate shards.

Soon to come too are sausage rolls, pasties, sandwiches and crab rolls, made with fresh Cromer crab.

Doing its bit for the environment, Harris & James only uses paper straws, and all the ice cream tubs and gelato spoons are biodegradable. Customers can even purchase a Harris & James mug to use for their daily cup of coffee, with holidaymakers able to return it at the end of their stay in the town for a refund.

The shop is open from 10am to 5pm every day.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter