Founding father of Estonian ice-cream industry turns 104

7/6/2015 5:42 PM
Category: Society

Evald Rooma, alias Onu Eskimo, the godfather of Estonia-produced ice-cream, celebrated his 104th birthday today.

Rooma was born in Tartu in 1911 and became the first ice-cream industrialist in Estonia. He produced his first batch of ice-cream in 1932 for the Tartu Song Festival and two years later opened a production line in his home town.

Rooma has been known to and loved by generations of Estonians as Uncle Eskimo, nicknamed so after his ice-cream company Eskimo, which closed down with the Soviet occupation but was reopened in Elva in 1987, when Rooma was 76 years of age.

He still sold ice-cream in a local fair in Melliste in 2011, when 100 years old.

In the years inbetween, Rooma worked in bread, candy and ice-cream industries, as well as in transport. He developed several recipies, including vanilla, banana and rasberry dairy ice-cream which are in production to this day.

Most of the original production line of Eskimo, Rooma donated to Balbiino's Ice-Cream Museum in Tallinn. In 2012, Balbiino also opened Onu Eskimo's Ice-Cream Café in Tartu to celebrate Uncle Eskimo and his legacy.

M. Oll

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