Salcombe Dairy Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Forty years ago, in a small stone built shed at the bottom of Coronation Road in Salcombe, Peter Howard set about crafting luxury ice cream.  Four decades on, Salcombe Dairy is more popular than ever and celebrates its 40th anniversary on 6th of June this summer.

With over 60 prestigious food and drink awards to its name Salcombe Dairy now not only produces sumptuous ice cream but also premium vegan sorbets, luxury frozen yoghurts and last year launched a bean-to-bar Peruvian chocolate range, ‘The Bar’, which is already an award-winner in its own right.

A family owned business, managing director Dan Bly, his wife Lucia and their four children are all actively involved in the business from tasting and new product development to shops and shows.  The Boscawen family have now been involved with the business for the past twenty years taking Salcombe’s favourite brand to London and the South East.  Employing 40 staff, Salcombe Dairy now boasts three South Devon premises including an ice cream and chocolate shop on Island Street Salcombe, ice cream parlour at the Boat Float, Dartmouth and a beach hut kiosk on Kingsbridge Quay.  Their success, however, hasn’t been limited to the South West with national customers including the National Trust, Hall & Woodhouse pubs, Singapore Airlines and The Grove.

Commenting on the impending fortieth anniversary, managing director, Dan Bly comments: “It’s a huge honour to be a part of Salcombe Dairy.  Since 1979 it has grown to become one of the most well-known producers in the South West and the launch of ‘The Bar’ chocolate signals the start of another exciting chapter for us.  Who would have thought when Salcombe Dairy first started making luxury ice cream in a market then dominated by Walls, that all these years later it would have grown into a company so popular with locals and tourists and that favourite flavours would have virtually a cult status.  Salcombe Dairy’s success is a real testament to all those who have been involved with the company throughout its history and of course thanks must go to all our dedicated staff, loyal customers and fans.”

Although the team, products and flavour portfolios have grown over the years, Salcombe Dairy now makes a staggering 50 flavours, the philosophy of ‘quality without compromise’ remains at the company’s core.  Just like on the day it was founded, whole milk still arrives at the dairy straight from the same local farm first thing every morning as does the Devon double cream fresh from the creamery.  The team are also exceptionally proud to still use the same base ice cream recipe created back in 1979 with only the finest ingredients added, such as Arabica coffee and Alphonso mangoes, to create the amazing flavours Salcombe Dairy has become renowned for.

Original founder Peter Howard looks back fondly: “I can remember when we started Salcombe Dairy as it was on the same day as the anniversary of D-Day, the day the allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy.  We battled through our own challenges and along with my wife Patricia, and during the school holidays our daughters Kate and Sam, we worked hard as a family to start producing the ice cream which Salcombe Dairy is renowned for today.”  Peter continues: “I am delighted to see how the popularity has grown and how it has become recognised not only nationally but also internationally.  I will enjoy celebrating its 40 years’ success with Dan and Lucia and both our families on the 6th of June.”

Quality is key to everything Dan, Lucia and the team do.  Unlike many ice cream producers they don’t homogenise the milk, instead they use a natural seaweed extract as a stabiliser and every single one of their delicious flavours is free from gluten, egg, nuts, artificial colours and flavourings.  It’s this dedication and attention to detail which has seen Salcombe Dairy achieve esteemed awards from Great Taste, Food Drink Devon and Taste of the West and maintain longstanding relationships with their many customers.

2018 saw the business add another string to its bow and after a family trip to Peru and Costa Rica, where Dan, Lucia and the family visited a cocoa plantation, they returned and set about launching a bean-to-bar Peruvian chocolate range.  Rich in rainforest flavours yet hand made in Island Street, Salcombe, ‘The Bar’ is named after Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Crossing the Bar’, which is believed to have been inspired by Salcombe Bar - a sandbar just off the coast of the seaside town. 

Michael Dart, director of Darts Farm, says: “We’d like to extend our congratulations to Salcombe Dairy for their 40th anniversary celebrations.  We’ve been working with Salcombe Dairy since the early days, offering their superb ice cream to our customers.  We’re delighted now to be able to also sell The Bar chocolate which is already proving incredibly popular.”

For further information on Salcombe Dairy and ‘The Bar’ please visit, follow them on Twitter @salcombedairy and ‘Like’ on Facebook, Salcombe Dairy Ice Cream.

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