We Love… Ice Cream, Argentina Style!

The third in our We love... series of posts.

h3. The Argentine Love Affair with Ice Cream

Ice Cream Mendoza Argentina
Image courtesy of Tagle_adv via Flickr

An influx of Italian immigrants in the 1870s and again in the 1940s left Buenos Aires with a strong Italian heritage. Evidence of this can be seen by flicking through the surnames in a phone book and by taking notice of the nation’s indulgence in ice cream. Often claiming to be better than gelato, Argentinian-made ice cream has got to be the country’s second staple after beef. You never have to walk far to find the neighborhood’s ice cream parlors (that’s right, plural).

Stainless steel treasure boxes of refrigerated pleasure arranged in a palette of pastels seduce families, couples, old men and women, rich and poor. When you can order ice cream by the kilo, you know it is borderline addiction we’re talking about. Easy access to a scoop of helado is such a major life priority that take-away ice cream is just as popular as pizza. Delivered by tear-away delivery boys on scooters specially equipped with cooling boxes, you can have three kilos of ice cream at your doorstep in a matter of minutes.

Favorite flavors are the ubiquitous dulce de leche, chocolate amargo (bitter) and chocolate granizado (chip). Of course strawberry, mint and pistachio are also consistently available, and for the indecisive who can’t make up their minds about whether to have coffee or coconut, it’s the norm to ask for half a scoop of two flavors on one cone. Gluttons will order a couple of kilo’s worth, which servers tightly pack into Styrofoam containers (usually consumed with a friend on the way home).

persicco gelato ice cream helado buenos aires argentina
Image courtesy of scaredy_kat via Flickr

The most successful brands of ice cream have outlets all over the city and recognising their logos from a block away comes as quickly as one learns to recognise the green circular sign for the Subte. Freddo, Volta and Persicco are the big boys of the ice cream business, serving up high quality ice cream in key locations. These stores are significantly more expensive than your neighborhood mom and pop parlor, but the density of the cream and choice of flavors is arguably worth the extra cost.

Av. Corrientes 3247
Av. Callao 1201
24 de Noviembre 460

Av. Del Libertador 3060
Avenida Santa Fe 1826

Migueletes 868
Jeronimo Salguero esquina Cabello
Av. Rivadavia 4933

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Daniel Neilson

Daniel Neilson

Daniel Neilson is a freelance writer and photographer, and lived in Buenos Aires for five years eating too much meat, going hoarse at football games and thoroughly failing to learn a step of tango. He edited Time Out’s Buenos Aires guidebook and has contributed words and photos to a variety of publications about Argentina for Four Four Two, The Wire, CNN Traveller, Real Travel, Adventure Travel and the Observer among others. He now spends his days drinking imported mate and planning his return journey.
Daniel Neilson

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7 responses to “We Love… Ice Cream, Argentina Style!

  1. One of the best parts of having good beef, is that you most likely will have amazing dairy as well!

  2. Of course — very clever! We never thought of that connection.

  3. One of the best parts of having good beef, is that you most likely will have amazing dairy as well!

  4. Of course — very clever! We never thought of that connection.

  5. Meg says:

    I completely agree– Argentina's ice cream is definitely better than gelato!

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