As a big ice cream fanatic, I was worried about whether or not I’d be able to satisfy my cravings while abroad. I had no idea what to expect for ice cream options, or if there’d be any at all. Upon my arrival, I was quick to learn how silly I had been in ever questioning Salamanca’s ice cream market. Seemingly, every third window in the Plaza Mayor is an ice cream shop. There’s even a McDonalds with a McFlurry flavor different from that offered in the United States. With endless options of gelato, milkshakes, and fro-yo alike, I made it a goal to try every single ice creamery in my short time there. With a host mom that loves to cook, I get postres (or desserts) with every lunch and dinner. She often makes us homemade “helado de fruta”, which is like a fruit sorbet.
Nonetheless, my friends and I made our first trip to an heladería (ice cream parlor) on the second day of class. There are many similar gelato shops on different ends of the plaza and ice cream consumers can simply pick the closest shop to their location because most of the flavors and prices match up exactly from store to store. We happened to be on the northwest side and found ourselves in line at Helado del Novelty. Ice cream portion sizes are a lot smaller in Spain than they are at blue hen favorite, UDairy. I ordered a mediano (medium) of the stracciatella flavor and one containing Nutella, the nutelloso. It was hardly equivalent to a UDairy single scoop. Nonetheless, the gelato was the right combination of creamy and sweet so that it was tasty and refreshing for a 95-degree day.
After mentioning my ice cream craze to my teacher abroad with us here from UD, she told me that her children enjoyed going to Valenciana. It’s a cute little ice cream store down a side street from the Plaza Mayor. They have a variety of flavors in gelato, frozen yogurt and milkshakes. You can even choose from a wide selection of toppings as well. I went with my all time favorite flavor, menta de chocolate (mint chocolate chip) and paired it with a chocolaty looking flavor called “avellana” hazelnut. This ice cream was a smooth and creamy sweetness that wouldn’t feel sticky and heavy in the heat. It was just as creamy and fresh as UDairy but once again the portion sizes were a lot smaller. I liked this store because there was seating and air conditioning inside which was a nice escape from the hot summer sun. It was 7:30 pm and the sun was still high in the sky because it doesn’t set in Spain right now until between 10:00 and 10:30 pm.
In addition to ice cream, I’m also obsessed with drinking iced coffee in the summer. It’s part of my daily routine for when I’m on my way to class, work or even a day at the beach. I realized that in Spain, iced coffee is not very common. They serve 4 ounce cups of hot coffee which is so delicious that it doesn’t even need sugar. It’s not bitter at all. However, I had been searching for iced coffee everywhere. My friends wanted to get smoothies at another shop in the Plaza Mayor, Smöoy, and I saw on their menu that they had a coffee chiller. It was iced coffee with frozen yogurt on top. My mind was immediately made up and I had never tasted a more satisfying beverage in my time in Spain. The iced coffee was revitalizing and refreshing while the froyo quenched my sweet tooth for the time being.
Other ice cream brands I’ve tried in Salamanca are Disfrútale, Carte Dõr, Heladería de la Plaza, and a few at sit down restaurants. Carte Dõr is sold in many ice cream shops, leading me to believe that it is a chain. Other chain ice cream brands that I’ve encountered include Valor and Amorino. My friends and I went to Valor on a weekend excursion in Burgos, Spain. They had a wide variety of ice cream-topped desserts from crepes to fruit to frozen chocolate slush. I ordered quite possibly the most chocolate-filled option on the menu. It had a chocolate syrup base, with frozen chocolate slush on top of that, and a scoop of chocolate moose and chocolate ice cream to sit on top. Adding to the chocolate aesthetic, they even capped it off with a little Valor chocolate candy.
Out of all the ice cream I’ve tried this month in Spain, none can match up to Amorino which I had in Portugal. Even after globalization, this ice cream chain is not available anywhere close to where I live in the United States. Portugal was the first and only time I ever found it. What I like so much about it is that you can pick as many smooth and creamy gelato flavors as you want and have them pasted around an ice cream cone to make a flower shape. I got chocolate sorbet, Nutella, mocha and stracciatella swirled around into my ice cream bouquet. I used their store locator later that night and found out that there are four locations in New York City. Next time I’m there, you can bet that I’ll be reminiscing about my ice cream adventures abroad by customizing a new flower bouquet to satisfy my sweet teeth in the United States.