Ice cream does not need an introduction. I won’t regale you about its history (it was invented in China around 200 BC), or what my favorite flavor is (it’s chocolate). I won’t even go into how the waffle cone was introduced (at the world’s fair in St. Louis in 1904 a vendor needed help and asked the owner of a nearby waffle store for assistance). You don’t need to know pointless facts about ice cream, just that it is amazing and you love it. In fact, if you don’t love ice cream then you possibly don’t love life. However, if you’re normal and have an affinity for frozen milk then you need to come experience the ice cream in Buenos Aires.
Ice cream in Buenos Aires has become incredibly popular here since its arrival. It made the journey across the Atlantic during the Italian immigration to Buenos Aires in the early part of the twentieth century. Since then it has flourished and been adapted by the locals. Certain flavors and preferences have slowly changed the classic Italian gelato into what it is today in Buenos Aires. The current consistency falls somewhere in between gelato and hard packed ice cream common in the U.S. It’s easy to scoop, but doesn’t melt in your mouth like gelato.
Ice cream shops/parlors, or heladerías as they are called here, are dispersed profusely throughout the city and seem to be on every other block. They have a way of appearing right when you start to think that you need some ice cream. The large silver vats full of some mouth-watering combination of flavors (usually something containing dulce de leche) will pique your interest and get you in the door. Once inside, the large billboards full of all the options, most of which are difficult to translate, will make you want to try all of the flavors. At this juncture you are sanctioned to try as many of the flavors as you please in order to determine which flavor to get.
In accord to enjoying all of the different flavors, this trial process of all of the ice cream flavors is a great way to learn some Spanish vocabulary. The names of the different flavors are often words that you will not come across in everyday conversation. Words like amargo, menta granizada, frambuesa, and frutilla will be remembered due to their association with that ice cream you ordered. Thus, you can view your ice cream eating experience as a form of Spanish language immersion.
When it becomes time to determine where to go to get ice cream here, all of the locals have their opinions about which heladería is the best. There are so many options, all of which claiming to be the best, that you may find yourself thinking way too hard about where you should go. Generally you cannot go wrong but in case you would like to know for sure, here are a few recommendations. There are a wide range of small family-owned stores and renowned big chains. Persicco and Freddo (both very Italian sounding), 2 of the most prominent ones can be found in many of the neighborhoods. Either of these stores offer a wide range of flavors of great quality (sometimes they offer cheese flavored ice cream; I have yet to try it but I have heard it is strangely addictive). Here is a list of places that I have been and recommend or places trusted by like-minded helado connoisseurs have recommended to me: Cadore (Corrientes 1695), AM Scannapieco (Nazca 5274), Fratello (Coronel Díaz 1521), Jauja (Cerviño 3901), Arkakaó (Quintana 188 and Santa Fe 1257, Recoleta), Chungo (various), Furchi (Cabildo 1508), Freeport Heladería (12 de Octubre & Añasco, Chacarita), La Comarca (Juramento 2492, Belgrano), Primalatte (Junín 1414, Recoleta).