20 Mar Does that ring a bell?
Ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling… children race to their parents for a couple of coins.
Ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling… parents greet the reminiscent ring with a silent smile and dig deep into their pockets for some spare change.
With coins rattling in their hands, twinkles in their eyes and smiles stretching from Flacq to Flic-en-Flac, children sprint back towards the sound. They all want their colourful cone of happiness from Vona Corona.
Vona Corona has been selling ice cream to Mauritians for over 90 years – truly legen-dairy! Their secret homemade recipe has passed from one generation to the next – a rite of passage for members of the Jewon family.
Who started it ?
Hassan Jewon, the founder of these delicious delights, started selling sorbets in Rose Hill. One day, he handed some ice cream to a foreign man whom, impressed by the scoops forming the shape of a crown, told Hassan: “buona corona”, meaning “good crown” in Italian. Hassan misheard the man, and that was the beginning of “Vona Corona”…
With his ice-cream maker balancing on his head, Hassan walked door-to-door to sell his almond or vanilla-flavoured ice cream. His warm personality and cold treats soon made him a popular figure in the region.
Then, with the help of his five sons – each with their iconic tricycles, Hassan’s Vona Corona expanded to other towns, with an array of flavours and a rainbow of colours. Each cone, cup or wafer, filled with ice cream, was garnished with some grated coconut and the signature pineapple coulis. Vona Corona’s ice cream became, arguably, one of the most popular street foods in Mauritius.
In light of the 50th anniversary of our island’s independence, we try to reflect on what makes Mauritius authentic and unique…
The passage of time and the effects of globalisation may have eroded much of Mauritian authenticity. But Vona Corona has resisted. It is not just a temporary tasty treat – it is an emotion. An emotion that echoes through time and through hearts… Ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling.