These days Havana is a city that is filled with magical and delicious surprises. Turn down one street and you will stumble across a stunning art gallery that was not there three months ago, turn another corner and you will catch the enticing aroma of fresh-baked goods from a patisserie that opened two days ago. One of these new spots that is both magical and delicious is Old Havana’s wondrous new ice cream emporium, Helad’oro.
Located about a block and a half from the Bodeguita del Medio and four blocks from the waterfront, Helad’oro is a shining example of what can be done within Havana’s “new economy”. Founded by three family members, Hector, Francoise and Sasha Prendes who recently returned to Cuba after a twelve year stint in France, where they learned their ice cream making craft, Helad’oro could easily be your go-to ice cream spot in Brooklyn or South Beach- it has that glitter and allure. Franchises anyone?
A tiny spot that may seat twelve rather thin patrons, on tall wooden stools, customers of Helad’oro tend to spill back into the streets with their eyes rolling to the back of their heads after the first bite.
Flavours of the cold creamy offerings range from the standards (chocolate, M&Ms, Twix) to the exotic (mamey, guayaba) and are all “Helados Artesanales100% Naturales”. Plus the prices appeal not only to the tourists who are thrilled at the value (one flavour in a cone for 1 CUC) but also accessible to locals as a special treat or on a date.
Customers can choose to have their ice cream served up in paper bowls (two scoops for 2 CUCs or in home-made waffle cups ( two flavours for 2.50 CUCs), as they like. One of the house specialties is the “affogato” which is a shot of Cuban coffee gently poured over your selection of one flavour for 2 CUCs. To die for!
Milkshakes (3 CUCs) and half litres to take home to your casa (6 CUCs) are also available. And the service is friendly no matter what time of day you find yourself there.
Look out Coppelia! There is a new kid in town!
Calle Aguiar No. 206,
Between Empedrado and Tejadillo
Open daily from 11 AM to 10 PM
A.J. Twist is a Montreal based travel writer and photographer
who is trying to wean himself from mamey (ice cream).