Ice Cream All The Way!


Egypt’s First Ice Cream Van,

Gelato on Wheelz

By Tati Hafez

There you are, sitting inside your home when you hear the distinctive sound coming from around the corner, you glance through the window to find a charming pink ice-cream van driving by. This scenario is no longer exclusive to countries abroad. Egypt’s first ice-cream van – Gelato on Wheelz – launched its operation during the summer in one of the biggest compounds in the North Coast. The van could be seen roaming all day, playing the traditional chimes and attracting the curiosity of children and adults alike. Cairo West Magazine went after the story behind this brilliant idea.

The concept of Gelato on Wheelz is simple, a wide selection of fresh ice-cream at your doorstep with a nostalgic twist. “Initially we had considered importing a finished van but decided to take a more adventurous approach by building one locally in order to minimize costs,” says Ahmed Hafez, the man behind Egypt’s first ice-cream van. “We started from scratch. The major challenge was to find local suppliers and put all the pieces together to work in harmony. We got our music box with eight different chimes and ice-cream cones to light up the front of the van from the UK. Everything else was purchased and developed here in Cairo. And it was a learning experience for all those involved in this project. Thankfully it paid off!”

Gelato on Wheelz teamed up with Rigoletto to supply the ice-cream. Najla Rizk, Managing Partner at Rigoletto had shared the same idea and was very eager to be part of the country’s first ice-cream van. The team hopes to redefine community dynamics by introducing the friendly local ice-cream van into the neighborhoods and compounds. To the older generation, it evokes memories of the famous Groppi tricycles calling out “Groppi, Groppi, Ice-cream Groppi!” To the younger generation, it is the latest trend in mobile vending outlets. Gelato on Wheelz is not restricted to summer business and they are currently building a schedule for roaming specific compounds in greater Cairo and taking bookings for private events.

“There were many lessons learned this year, but all the hard work paid off when we lit the ice-cream cones and played the chimes for the first time. It was great to see kids running behind the van on their bikes with surprise and happiness on their faces,” said Hafez, “after all, there is no better way to enjoy your ice-cream.”

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