Even though the summer is long gone, this is Ecuador and its equatorial sun is pouring down upon us every day this January and it feels like its August already. So besides the usual recommendation of wearing sunscreen and a hat, today we’ll present another option to keep it cool while touring Quito: our traditional ice creams. The city has several emblematic stores that have created for decades its exquisite flavors to cool you off with an ice cream in Quito.
We must start by honoring the good oldies and its temples. Who would have said that a treat like “paila” ice cream would have its own space in Quito for more than a century! The “San Agustín” Ice Cream Shop, located in front of the church of the same name, has been delighting the palates of city dwellers and tourists for 10 decades. José Andrés Chaguaro, the sixth generation of ice cream makers tells that back in the days, the grocery stores, called “pulperías” where they used to made “chicha”, caught the secret of ice cream preparation from the Quito monasteries. However, with the Alfarist revolution and the establishment of a secular State, the «priests and nuns» put aside its production. Also, thanks to the French fashion of setting up coffee shops, ice cream shops like San Agustín found their way to thrive in the city.
Following the tour of Quito and its flavors, we arrive at the “Heladería Caribe” located in the Venezuela and Bolívar streets. Here the ice cream making routine began, more than 60 years ago with a bronze “paila”, a sort of huge pan set over ice, where they pour some thick blackberry juice and then whir without fatigue until the juice gets frozen. Currently, they produce 14 liters of ice cream per day.
The addictive flavor of ice cream transports us to a traditional neighborhood of the city, La Ronda, to the “Dulce Placer” ice cream shop, located on the second floor of a heritage house, in this site unthinkable flavors are created to highlights the traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. They deliver innovation and flavor on ice cream balls of a popular local liquor such as cane liquor and even an ancestral drink such as «colada morada«, a gastronomic experience full of aromas and textures.
We continue touring through the flavors of ice cream in the Plaza del Teatro`s «Heladería colonial», which has surprised local tongues for 70 years. Hernán Chacón, its owner, hides the secret recipes passed on by his parents, which he will never reveal. Perhaps, silence is an invisible ingredient that gives the frozen good its flavor, it is that mysterious touch thats only displayed in Quito‘s streets and corners.
The ice cream parlors in Quito are the best place to cool off in Quito. Its treats are an open the doors to savor the moments that are stored in the memory of the city and a special way to taste the flavors of a heritage city.