A visit to Swansea isn’t complete if you don’t have a Joe’s ice cream, or so they say. The frozen treat has been a favourite of locals and holidaymakers for almost a century, thanks to the talents and hard work of an Italian immigrant, Luigi Cascarini, and his son.

Travelling from Italy just before the turn of the nineteenth century, the entrepreneurial young Luigi arrived in south Wales like many others of his fellow countrymen, on the promise of work in an era when heavy industry dominated the landscape.

Surprised to find there were no cafes open to accommodate the workers of the Swansea Valley, he opened one to serve coffee to dock workers early in the morning and late in the evening.

His family then opened more shops, and when his eldest son Joe took over the premises in St Helen’s Road, he brought a secret ice cream recipe over from Italy.

It’s fair to say it proved pretty popular.

But the Cascarinis were just one of scores of families who made the same journey to south Wales and established cafes which quickly became embedded in their communities.

Nino goes on to interview Lucy Hughes, the Great, Great Niece of Joe Cascarini, who talks about Joe’s life, the war and how it effected the cafe landscape for her family and their history.

You can read the full article on WalesOnline: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/italian-cafes-were-everywhere-swansea-18413154

Guiseppe (Joe) Cascarini