You may have noticed that Yucatán is hot and that keeping cool is something of an art form for residents. Whether we’re skulking along in the shade, or resting during the heat of the day, you can also be sure that we’re probably, at some point, going to need ice cream (or six).
If you’re after a quick cool-down, a traditional Boli (flavored ice), Raspado (flavored slushy ice) or a paleta (made with water or milk) is a cheap and delicious option. But, if you prefer to take your ice cream consumption to the next level, then read on to learn where ice cream has become an art form and tradition meets modernity in the freezers of Yucatán.
No article about ice creams in Yucatán would be complete without a mention of the very first sorbetería in Mérida. Open from 11 am, the Paseo de Montejo branch comes into its own around dusk when locals come out to enjoy the cool moments of the day and watch the world go by. I highly recommend joining the crowd because the sorbet here is one of the most refreshing things you’ll ever try. My favorites are coconut and watermelon, but I also recommend trying the more Yucatecan flavors such as elote (corn), tamarind, guanábana (soursop), zapote, mamey, or pitahaya (dragon fruit).
Dulcería y Sorbetería Colón
Paseo de Montejo, Plaza Grande, Gran Plaza, Xcumpich, Plaza Dorada
At Pola, your choice is ‘traditional’ or ‘traditional.’ And by that, I mean normal traditional ice cream flavors such as strawberry or chocolate, or traditional Yucatecan cuisine flavors such as Frijol con Puerco (beans with pork), a traditional Yucatecan Monday meal, turned into a Monday gelato! While you’re at it, how about avocado or pumpkin? On my most recent Pola visit, I added lima, guanábana, rosé wine with jamaica (hibiscus flower) sorbet, and ‘cantina del barrio’ (local beer ice cream) to my ‘have tried and would definitely recommend list.
Calle 55 #467-D x 62 y 64, Centro
Tel. 999 330 3441
Don’t miss this unassuming ice cream store in the north of Mérida, because if you do, you’ll be seriously sorry. My kids were blown away by their ice creams with the banana and Cajeta (a traditional Mexican goat milk caramel) being declared the best ever. We also tried a basil and almond ice cream that I kind of want to marry. We finished with sour orange and cilantro sorbet which was extremely refreshing. Sadly, we missed out on trying Papadzul ice cream and I was told of a new flavor that has me certain to return: Caballero Pobre, an ice cream version of a traditional Yucatecan dessert that’s similar to bread and butter pudding.
Shüteln Heladería Gourmet
Tel. 999 122 3685
FB: Shüteln Heladería Gourmet
Let’s zoom over to the lovely city of Valladolid for a gelato from Wabi. I’d been hearing about Wabi long before I actually managed to try their ice creams, so the pressure was on. Thankfully, the ice cream is as delicious as everyone told me it would be. The Wabi take on traditional Yucatecan seems to feature a lot of habanero chile, one of my favorite things in the world, so their ice cream is a total win for me. The only question is, what should the habanero accompany – lemon or orange? The answer, by the way, is both. If you don’t love spice, I recommend the delicious jamaica flavor for a refreshing option.
Tel. 985 856 4419
FB: Wabi Gelato
Hidden away in the city of Tizimín is Subterra, where you can try ice creams fascinatingly flavored with Yucatecan cuisine specialties. Did you ever think anyone would turn Cochinita, Relleno Negro, or Pollo Pibil into ice cream? Well, here they have, and we were fortunate enough to try them. I can report that they were delicious. We also fell in love with the fruit combinations of watermelon + chamomile and mandarin + cilantro. If you’re busy thinking that Tizimín is simply too far to travel for even the most interestingly flavored ice creams, refer back to our June edition and hit the road!
Tel. 986 106 9221
FB: Subterra Tizimin
By no means a newcomer to the Mérida ice cream scene, Domo Gelato, in the north part of the city, serves up traditional Argentinian-style gelato but with a Yucatecan twist. The selection of flavors is great and includes Cajeta (local dulce de leche) and banana, various local fruit ices (sour orange was a particular win for me), and a tamarind ice cream which is this month’s flavor of the month. They have had a new flavor of the month every month for their entire 13 years of business. Pretty impressive stuff!
Plaza Ateneo, Av. Andrés Garcia Lavin x 27, Col. Montebello
Tel. 999 469 5413
FB: Domo Gelato Heladería Artesanal y Cafetería
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Freelance writer and blogger, born in the UK. Cassie has a BA from Oxford University and an MA from SOAS, University of London. She lives in Mérida and loves exploring Yucatán with her family.
Photography by Cassie Pearse, Subterra, and Yucatán Today for use in Yucatán Today
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