The Northumberland vegan revolution starts here, Pilgrims Gelato, established on Holy Island in 2011, has undergone a series of changes over lockdown. The gelato they now produce is vegan and free from everything but flavour, and their individual wholesale gelato is now served in sustainable aluminium tins, which is a UK first.

With a family that suffers from a mixture of food intolerances, cousins and co-founders, Charlotte Thompson and Farah Weedon made it their mission to create a seriously tasty vegan gelato using the finest ingredients.

Charlotte said: “We wanted our gelato to be enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of whether they have any allergies or dietary requirements, which is why we decided to go vegan and free from. The ethos has been to make a remarkable product that stands out for its flavour as well as its vegan and free from credentials, which we think we have achieved.”

Rather than using the traditional compostable or biodegradable ice cream tubs that can end up in landfill for their wholesale offering, the Pilgrims Gelato team decided to take the more unusual approach and fill aluminium tins with their gelato instead. Biodegradable tubs can take years to break down in the wrong environment especially with their polyplastic linings which need to be removed for successful decomposition. Whereas, aluminium’s lifespan is endless, it can be melted down and reused again and again and again, a truly sustainable material.

Pilgrims Gelato are also encouraging people to upcycle the tins into snack tins or money boxes and are even offering customers a discount on a refill if the tins are brought back to their Holy Island shop. Also included in their gelato tins are gluten free and vegan edible spoons from Spoontainable.

Charlotte commented: “As a business we are striving to make everything we do as environmentally friendly as we can do at the current time. We see it as our duty to create a delicious and sustainable future for us all, which is why the packaging was so important for us.”

Farah is the gelatician of the company and makes the gelato at their purpose-built facility on a Northumberland farm near Alnwick. Over the past five years she has travelled to the very heart of the gelato world, Italy, to learn her trade. They now create a plethora of flavours which are sold from their gelateria located on Marygate, Holy Island and at a selection of independent retailers, cafes and delicatessens across the county.

Pilgrims Gelato has received Grant assistance under the North of Tyne Rural Business Growth Service Programme to support the project to expand the current business of gelato production, especially targeting the vegan and free from market segments. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Further information about Pilgrims Gelato and where they are stocked can be found at pilgrimsgelato.co.uk, or email info@pilgrimsgelato.co.uk.