Don’t panic! Ne panique pas! I’ve never eaten gelato in my life. Yes, I’ve been to Rome, Venice, Florence et cetera, et cetera. Maybe I blame my tour guides, who were Italian, for not taking me to have some gelato. But yes, the pizzas were out of this world. In any case, this slight bleep in my foodie credentials will soon be fixed. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes on my next trip to Italia.
For now, allow me to inform you about Madrid and a few of its unique heladerias. Ice cream is obviously nothing new. So, how can excitement be put back into that age old summer favourite? Vamos a ver…
In addition to finding great shoes on Calle Augusto Figueroa in Chueca, a rather marvellous ice cream shop has found a home on this street of wonders and it goes by the name Mistura Hand Crafted Ice Cream. “How does this place put excitement back into ice cream?” This question, I posed to Jaime, the store manager. The first secret is the sourcing of high quality ingredients from around the globe. Hazelnuts come from Piedmont in Italy, the chocolate comes from São Tomé, an island of the coast of South Africa, the dulce de leche (toffee/caramel) comes from Argentina. I could go on forever but, I’m sure the point has been made.
Having all the ingredients in place, the ice cream itself is made right here in Madrid on the outskirts of the city. In the name of using fresh ice cream, Mistura receives two deliveries a week. One on Friday ready for the weekend rush and the other on Monday to replenish the stock and to keep us all ice creamed up for the coming week.
As if all of this wasn’t exciting enough already, the ice cream is then massaged before being served to you and I. Yes, I said it, the ice cream is massaged. The ice creams’ massage table is made out of marble and is kept at -19°C. (Oh, such pageantry indeed). The massaging process ensures that you eat your ice cream with your chosen toppings fully mixed in with the ice cream. Why have toppings just on top when they can all be everywhere, right?
For me, all this culminated in hazelnut and dulce de leche flavours with a chocolate brownie and strawberries massaged into each flavour respectively. How delightful it all was. Never again should ice cream be about putting scoops into cups and waffle cones and then sprinkling things on top. There’s more to life than that obviously.
The journey for exciting ice creams then led me to Lolos Polos Artesanos, the home of homemade ice lollies (Popsicles). What makes these particular ones special, given that ice lollies are the most ordinary of all the ice cream family?
For one thing, unlike the typical ice lollies that have more ice than anything else, Lolo Polos make theirs from mostly fruit and then a small percentage of water just to aid the freezing process. The ingredients are all fresh and fruits used are only seasonal fruits. Once season is out, new flavours are conjured up with what’s best from that season. While doing my research, heaps upon heaps of fresh fruit was being delivered to the store. How much joy it brings me to say that yes, these bad boy ice lollies are made right there in the store. The fruit is cleaned, cut, blended and frozen into the final product, free from all colourings, flavourings and preservatives in the back. Another utopia situation that is happening right in front of our doorsteps.
We cannot help but thank the owner, Azmina Khanbhai, who saw sense and brought about this entrepreneurial genius. Much of the ideas I’m told stem about from her experiences in Africa, India and time spent studying medicine in the States. (Talk about exciting).
Then we have the flavours on offer. One can choose from watermelon and cucumber, mango, yoghurt and cardamom, lime and chilli, the list is endless. Everyday new flavours are available depending on the fruit that comes.
What will happen come winter?
Well, come winter, winter seasonal fruits will be the basis of the ice lollies and lolos polos will survive in as much as Gloria Gaynor taught us!
In the meantime, the advice is to enjoy these delights whilst Madrid infernos away. You can even buy a box of 6 ice lollies perfectly packaged in a polystyrene cooler box and take them on a journey to the park or wherever. In there, I’m told they’ll keep for up to an hour. It’s a no brainer really, isn’t it?
Derived from a Catalan word that doesn’t directly translate into English but meaning utterly bizarre, rather out of the normal, somehow fantastical and implausible (according to my Catalan sources. Yes, I have real Catalan sources) the next exciting ice cream parlour arrives. This is the product of Jordi Roca, a dessert expert with 3 Michelin stars and a highly ranked restaurant in the World’s Top 50 restaurants. Ladies and Gents, it’s Rocambolesc. I don’t really need to go any further do I? This is already exciting. Did I mention, the Madrid branch is on the 7th floor of the El Corte Ingles on Calle Serrano, 52; so it’s ice cream with fantastic (Rocambolesc) views?
Also, they have brioche filled with ice cream and then toasted with the result being a golden, crusty, melt-in-your-mouth bun with a chilly treat inside. Amazing contrast, I say.
Honestly, some things in life do not need too much information, just do yourself a favour and enjoy this rocambolesc of a place (get it? If not, check your Catalan out)
I couldn’t do all the rounds of all the other ice cream shops in Madrid. Each, I’m sure has their own version of events that are equally exciting in their own right. If more information is need, I highly recommend checking out Naked Madrid‘s informative post about other places worth checking out on the beautiful city.
Happy ice creaming