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Vona Corona: 90 years of making ice cream in Mauritius

Instagram @kavndy

In the heart of Rose Hill, an ice cream parlour dispenses delicious frozen treats.  The business was born more than 90 years ago, starting out with a single ice cream maker and some door to door sales. From the beginning, the Jewon family offered a promise of homemade ice cream of unmatchable quality and nine decades later, Vona Corona’s success in the ice cream trade is indisputable.

‘It was my passion for the job that guaranteed my trade’s success, as I never cheated on my methods,’ said Mastan Jewon, after spending 53 years selling ice cream off his tricycle. ‘The ice cream that one enjoys today still tastes the same as it did 20 years ago.’

Mastan, who sadly passed away several weeks after this interview that originally appeared in Islander magazine. He reminisced nostalgically on the early years. ‘My four brothers and I learned the tricks of the trade from our father. One day, he decided to quit his career as a coal merchant and started sorbet making. Later, he went on to make ice cream.’

The family initially limited their flavours to almond and vanilla, and with their iceboxes strapped onto their bicycles, the brothers rode throughout the town of Beau Bassin/Rose Hill selling their speciality to eager customers. ‘For many years, our little sorbet vendor bells rang out in the streets,’ said Mastan. ‘I decided to set up just outside the St Joseph and Loretto colleges in Curepipe during the day. In the evenings, I worked from the Plaza courtyard in Rose Hill. No regrets!’

Over time, the artisan ice cream maker brought new flavours to the counter: strawberry, chocolate and a surprising new variety - avocado. But what makes his product so different from the other vendors on their bicycles? ‘We add a spoonful of pineapple coulis to our ice cream,’ Mastan revealed. ‘And no one has ever managed to match our recipe. It is our own magic touch.’

Sampling one of Vona Corona’s creamy scoops is indeed a real pleasure. These ice creams are perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sugar to bring out the various flavours, and simply cannot compare with industrial mass produced desserts. And the pineapple coulis just adds a hint of freshness to the palate.

Seven years ago, Mastan’s son, Nawz Jewon, took over the business and opened a shop next to the Plaza in Rose Hill. ‘I am very proud of managing this family business,’ he says. ‘Today, just as we did 50 years ago, we produce a litre of ice cream out of a litre of milk. We never compromise on quality and our customers know it. When Mauritians who are living abroad visit the island, they run to us to reconnect with the flavours from their childhood. They come looking for more than an ice cream: it is about pleasure and emotion.

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Photo: Vona Corona on Instagram by @kavndy 

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