The summertime scoop on Buenos Aires ice cream
Cadore in the Tribunales neighbourhood is one of the best loved heladerías in Buenos Aires. (Tim Fitzgerald)
Summer in Buenos Aires can get hot. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity between January and March sends most locals running to the coastal town of Mar Del Plata or the nearby Uruguayan beach resort of Punta Del Este. But for those who stay in the Argentine capital, one of the most pleasurable ways to manage the intense temperatures is to indulge in a giant scoop (or three) of world-famous Argentine helado (ice cream).
Ice cream in Argentina owes its existence to Italian immigrants who came to the country in two waves, first in the late 1800s with the general migration of Europeans to the New World, and again in the 1940s after World War II. Bringing with them not only Italian gelato recipes but also heladería (ice cream parlour) culture, immigrants set up heladerías across Buenos Aires. Today these parlours are even more ubiquitous than Argentina’s famous parrillas (grillhouses) and can be found on every other block.
Given their abundance, it can be difficult to choose between the well-known chains and family owned parlours – both have the potential to serve up mouth-watering ice cream; it’s just a matter of finding your favourite.
Freddo and Persicco, the two most popular chains, are known for their high-quality products. Head to one of Freddo’s more than 30 outlets for an amazing banana split (banana ice cream with swirled fudge, chocolate ice cream and walnuts). Persicco, a smaller family-run group known for its stylish interiors and chocolate-based flavours such as chocolate amargo (dark chocolate), has 10 outlets around the city.
Cadore, one of the city’s best loved heladerías due to the quality of its ice cream, began life in 1881 when the Olvotti family opened their first ice cream parlour in the Cadore region of northern Italy. After generations of crafting the sweet treat, a new wave of Olvottis made their way to Buenos Aires and established the Cadore heladería in the Tribunales neighbourhood in 1957. Manufacturing their ice cream with the same family recipes used for more than 100 years, Cadore is renowned for its excellent dulce de leche.
A M Scannapieco, which recently moved to a new location in the residential neighbourhood of Villa Pueyrredón, has been a Buenos Aires classic since 1938. Scannapieco is still run by direct descendents of the original founder Don Emilio Scannapieco, using the same traditional recipes, machines and techniques. While the new location doesn’t retain the ambiance of its former parlour, the ice cream is still just as good, with more than 50 flavours to choose from.