An Ayr institution

Originally opened in 1920 by an Italian family who had relocated to Scotland, Renaldo’s has passed through the hands of several Italian families through the years, gradually evolving from a cafe that sold gifts alongside its delicious Italian-style ice cream into the much celebrated ice cream and chocolate emporium that it is today.

Run by the husband-and-wife team of Linda and Silvio Galli since 1987, Renaldo’s now offers ice cream in a dazzling range of flavours, of which 36 (out of a repertoire of 70 or so) are on sale at any given time. Made on the premises using organic milk from Mossgiel Farm, once home to a certain Robert Burns, Renaldo’s ice cream is not only low in fat (under 3%) and suitable for vegetarians but is also high in protein and low in calories – a single scoop of vanilla contains under 130 of the pesky little devils. Most varieties are gluten free and there’s usually at least one variety of vegan gelato available.

You’ll find rather more calories in one of Renaldo’s specialities, the Gelato cake. Mind you, as the ice cream equivalent of a family cake (it even looks like one), a Gelato cake is meant for sharing! Currently available to order, it’s planned to offer Gelato cakes over the counter from August.
Renaldo’s also have a traditional ice cream cart which is available to hire for weddings as a staffed package. And with six different varieties of ice cream on offer to guests, it’s a very popular sight at weddings throughout Ayrshire.

There’s much more to Renaldo’s than excellent ice cream, though; it’s also renowned as being the home of Chocolati, Linda Galli’s sumptuous range of chocolates. But as Linda explains herself, her entry into the world of chocolate-making came about due to a supplier’s insistence on only using dark chocolate to cover his confections: “Our customers wanted milk chocolates but this particular supplier refused to make them for us. That was the impetus for me to learn how to make chocolates, so between 2004 and 2006 I took several courses run by the world-renowned chocolate makers, Barry Callebaut.”

Armed with her new knowledge and skills, Linda started to produce chocolates (in dark, milk and white varieties) under the Chocolati brand name. Indeed, until serious illness intervened in 2014, she sold her chocolates from a kiosk at the Silverburn shopping centre as well as in Renaldo’s. Linda’s illness, bacterial meningitis, badly affected the whole right side of her body, her speech was seriously impaired, and she had to re-learn many things, including how to make chocolates. Now in better health, Linda has been able to return to her beloved chocolate-making, and Chocolati, in all its 70 or so varieties, is once more available from Renaldo’s.

Linda’s illness was one difficult hurdle for Renaldo’s to climb, and a further one came in 2020, when government-imposed restrictions made it necessary for Linda and Silvio to radically change their way or working – instead of the public coming to the shop, Renaldo’s took its produce directly to customers, using a refrigerated van to make around 60 to 80 deliveries a day.

With that hurdle also successfully negotiated, Linda and Silvio have returned to their pre-pandemic policy of making small, gradual changes to their product lines. Go into Renaldo’s today, and you’ll find not only excellent coffee, locally roasted by Rocket Monkey (other hot and cold drinks are, needless to say, also available) accompanied by a selection of tray bakes, hot waffles, waffle balls, and cookie dough, all made on the premises and sold under the Crema label. And by the time you read this, they’ll have been joined by a range of hot toasties and paninis, all made to the same exacting standards as Renaldo’s other products. Indeed, Renaldo’s has scooped a number of awards, including winning the coveted Scotland’s Best Gelateria/Dessert Cafe category in the Scottish Italian Awards in each of the last two years as well as being named as the Best Patisserie or Dessert Shop in Scotland in the prestigious 2023 Scottish Business Awards.

Linda and Silvio are quick to emphasise the vital role played by their staff in Renaldo’s continuing success. The business employs four full-time staff – manager Allison, who assists in running the shop and sees to to it that high standards are maintained; deputy manager Clare, who assists Allison and also runs the ice cream cart at weddings; assistant manager Cassie, the head baker; and media and graphic design manager Fraser. They are supported by a further ten part-time staff, all of whom also play an important part in the smooth and successful running of the business.

Linda and Silvio will no doubt continue to add to Renaldo’s repertoire, adding products here and there, but there’s one thing that won’t change, and that’s their commitment to bring a delicious taste of Italy to the west coast of Scotland.

Renaldo’s, 98 Sandgate, Ayr, KA7 1BX
(01292) 265956