S. Luca of Musseburgh Ltd. is a family run business and we have been manufacturing ice cream since 1908. We are based in the seaside town of Musselburgh. “The Honest Toun”, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
It all began in the late 1800s when Mr Luca Scappaticcio and his wife Anastasia arrived from Casino, in Italy. Luca was employed as a barber and then went on to become a pastry chef in the now Balmoral Hotel.
The latter job was to prove invaluable as it was here that he learnt how to make ice cream having been taught by a Swiss Sous chef.
By 1908, Luca had saved enough money to rent a shop in Musselburgh which he and his wife ran. They decided to drop the name Scappaticcio in favour of Luca for simplicity, as it was much easier to pronounce.
Initially, it was very hard work especially as they both had to walk back to their home in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket every night. When they had acquired more money they were able to secure some of the surrounding property.
Ice cream manufacturing in those days did not require expensive equipment but did mean hard work and long hours. The milk, sugar and butter mixture was boiled, simmered and continuously stirred until it reached custard-like consistency.
Containers with dry ice were used to keep the ice cream cold – of course, at that time, no electric freezers were available. As a result of this hard work and dedication, our ice cream and name became well known and highly regarded in and around East Lothian. Also a small fleet of vans had been acquired which sold (and still sell) ice cream in various East Lothian villages.
During the early 1940s, WW2 was having an impact and we were fortunate to have survived this as all the men in the family joined the British Army and were away for up to five years.
Ironically, Luca himself was perceived as an enemy alien and sent to the Isle of Man for five years. His daughters were left to run the shop at this time as Anastasia and her youngest son were interned and sent to live in Peebles.
Despite the hardship of the war years, we opened a shop in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh in 1941, run by one of Luca’s daughters and her family.
By the early 1950s, we had also acquired a café in the scenic seaside town of North Berwick where our ice cream became very popular with holiday makers. Our ice cream vans are still a familiar sight throughout the year in North Berwick.
Our business has always been very family orientated. Today there is one member of the second generation left, Constanza Luca, who is 84 years old and still somewhat active in the business. Several of the third generation are taking the firm into the 21st century.