AN ITALIAN family have launched their own gelato business to bring a fresh taste of their homeland to the Essex seaside.

Gelato Italia has been set up by the Siciliani family with their recipes for italian dessert products gelato, sorbetto and granitta made at their base in Waterloo Road, Shoebury.

The family have been working alongside chefs from their native country for more than 30 years, but have only recently decided to plunge into the business world.

However, the family are distancing themselves from the long-established Rossi’s ice cream makers and insist they are producing an alternative to traditional ice cream. Family spokesman, Alessandra Siciliani said: “We do not see ourselves as another Rossi’s because our products are completely different.

“Southend is the perfect place for a local factory due to beaches, ice cream sellers, good access into London, and not to mention our humble beginning when our family emigrated from Italy.

“We always wanted to share our passion for homemade Gelato from Italy with everyone here.

“Now that we have the opportunity, we want to give everyone a chance to have the real taste of Italy.”

The family use fresh ingrediants to make their desserts and all are prepared by hand by Alessandra and family friend Lynda Clarke, before it is put in tubs to be frozen.

Their range consists of 30 different flavours which have links to regions in Italy.

Along with selling their gelato, the Siciliani family are helping with community projects, including raising money for the Kingsdown School, in Snakes Lane, Eastwood, to help them buy boccia equipment.

The sport is a paralympic event which sees disabled athletes in wheelchairs throw balls as close as they can to a target.

The school, which teaches children aged between three and 14 with learning and physical disabilities, is trying to get new ramps. To help them, the Siciliani family are using profits from their Taste of Britain range to fundraise for the equipment.

Alessandra said: “From our sales of the products, 25 per cent will be donated to the school to help pay for the ramps.”