Back in July 2023, tasteatlas rolled out its list of the world’s 100 most iconic ice creams. And guess what? Two of them hail from Indonesia: Ragusa Es Italia and Zangrandi. These names are no strangers to ice cream enthusiasts.
Ragusa is a legendary ice cream parlor in Jakarta, while Zangrandi can be found in Surabaya. Both have been serving up scoops of delight since the 1930s and are still going strong. Their ice cream game is as strong as ever.
What makes it unique is that Ragusa and Zangrandi were actually founded by native Italians! So, what’s their history, and how did they become go-to places for generations? Let’s dive into it. Get ready for a cool and tasty journey!
The Iconic Ice Cream List Around the World
For those unfamiliar, ice cream comes in various types. Gelato, the Italian-style ice cream, is one of the most popular and adored. Gelato uses more milk, less cream, and is egg-free, resulting in a denser but smoother texture. It also contains less sugar and is lower in fat. If you want to pamper yourself without the guilt, gelato is the way to go. Gelato shops often come with cozy hangout areas, perfect for relaxation during leisure hours.
Another well-known type is the sundae, readily found in fast-food restaurants or as a tantalizing dessert with flavors like chocolate caramel, butterscotch, and strawberry. The origins of the sundae are still debated, but some say it began in Illinois as a substitute for soda on Sundays. Others claim it came from Wisconsin or Ithaca, New York.
Apart from gelato and sundaes, there are various unique ice creams from all over the world. Dondurma from Turkey, sorbet from the Philippines, kulfi from India, and paletas from Mexico are just a few examples. Indonesia also boasts its local ice cream, especially the ever-popular “es puter” that’s perfect for cooling off on hot days.
Motivated to enhance the culinary experience for ice cream lovers, tasteatlas classified the world’s most iconic ice cream parlors. The extensive list includes numerous legendary names, some of which have been around since before the 19th century. Examples include Fassi from Rome, Italy, Pepino from Turin, Italy, Mado from Istanbul, Turkey, and Casa Mira from Malaga, Spain.
Italy takes the lead in terms of the most names on the list of the world’s most iconic ice cream parlors. A whopping 28 ice cream parlors in Italy made the cut. In addition to legendary ice cream places like Gelateria dei Neri.
The History of Ragusa Es Italia in Jakarta
Did you know that the most iconic ice cream parlor in the world was first opened in Bandung in 1932? It was owned by two Italian brothers, Luigie Ragusa and Vincenzo Ragusa, who originally came to Batavia to study tailoring.
After completing their education, they moved to Bandung and met a European woman who had a dairy farm. The Ragusa brothers received ample cow’s milk, which they then used to make Italian-style ice cream. They opened their first shop on Jl. Pos, now known as Jl. Naripan, Bandung.
Their success in Bandung prompted them to open a new parlor in Jakarta. Initially located in Pasar Gambir, it later moved to Jl. Veteran I No. 10. At first, Ragusa Jakarta was frequented by customers, especially foreigners living in Indonesia during the colonial period.
However, over time, sales declined, especially during the period from 1945 to 1972. The Ragusa brothers decided to stop running the ice cream parlor, and they moved to Italy.
Instead of selling it, they handed the business over to their employee, Guntoro Kurniawan (Yo Boen Kong), and his wife, Hj. Sias, who are known as the current owners of Ragusa Es Italia.
Even though they made few changes, Ragusa Es Italia gradually started to attract more customers. In fact, it had a period of glory in the 1990s, with over 20 parlors. Unfortunately, in 1998, most of the ice cream parlors burned down. Now, only one parlor remains, located in its original spot on Jl. Veteran.
Tasting Ragusa ice cream is a nostalgic experience for many. Especially considering that its taste has remained consistent over the years. For first-timers, they offer four regular flavors: mocha, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.
Zangrandi: Legendary Ice Cream in Surabaya
This most iconic ice cream parlor in the world has stood the test of time. It was first established in 1930 on Jl. Yos Sudarso No. 15, Surabaya, under the name Mevrouw Zangrandi. The original owner was the Zangrandi family, Italians who settled in the Dutch East Indies at the time.
In the 1960s, Zangrandi and his entire family returned to Italy. The shop and its ice cream recipes were purchased by Adi Tanumulia, a local resident who was also a friend of the Zangrandi family. The name was changed to Graha Es Krim Zangrandi. However, they retained the original ice cream recipe.
Initially, Zangrandi’s ice cream had four main flavors: chocolate, mocha, strawberry, and vanilla. Over time, they expanded their range. They’ve introduced several innovations, such as the Mugi Pinarak variant, mocha ice cream served with “kembang goyang,” pandan snow princess cookies, and pieces of dates and cherries.
They also offer a Banana Split, a chocolate crush ice cream combined with refreshing strawberry and “kopyor.” The natural sweetness of the banana makes this ice cream a real treat. When you visit Zangrandi, be sure to try this one!
There are other special menu items like The Love Deal, Avocadocano, Winter Symphony, Classic Twinkle, and many more. Not only are they mouthwatering in taste, but they’re also beautifully presented. It’ll make you want to dig into your ice cream right away.
What’s fascinating about Zangrandi is that not only can you enjoy a mouthwatering treat, but you can also admire the classic architecture of the past when you visit the parlor, located on Jl. Yos Sudarso No. 15, Genteng, Surabaya.
That’s right; both the interior and exterior maintain their old-time design. Even the vintage rattan chairs and tables are still in use. The floor is adorned with faded, flower-patterned tiles.