Argentina might be famous for its juicy, mouthwatering steaks, but there is more to this fascinating country’s food culture than just meat. Rich enough to rival even Italian gelato, Argentine ice cream is not to be missed, and Buenos Aires serves up the crème-de-la-crème…
Ice cream was introduced to Argentina by the first wave of Italian immigrants in the 1870s, and then by the second influx in the 1940s, driven by the Second World War. The Italians brought with them not only their ice cream recipes, but gelateria culture – ice cream parlours, or heladerías as they are known in Argentina, were and still are places to catch up with friends and spend an evening indulging.
Where to go
Like almost all food in Argentina, ice cream can be delivered to the door in generous portions but there’s nothing quite like visiting a heladería for an authentic, local experience. Buenos Aires is brimming with them and you’d be hard pressed to find bad ice cream in the city, but look for somewhere that serves helado artesanal to find the best quality, freshest produce.
Many locals eschew the larger chains such as Freddo, but this doesn’t mean they should be struck-off an ice cream-lover’s itinerary. Persicco is a chain dotted around the city and a trip to Buenos Aires wouldn’t be complete without sampling their divinely rich dulce de leche flavour. However, the city’s generous sprinkling of smaller, humble family-owned outlets offer the most authentic experience and the best homemade produce.
Furchi (Avendia Cabildo 1508) in the Belgrano district was established in 1959 and is still run by the same family who founded it today. A strict no-additives policy prevails and only the freshest daily produce is sold. Fortunately, this means that the ice cream is actually healthier; in most recipes the fat content is raised to prolong the preservation period, so you can head to Furchi to engage in guilt-free indulgence.
Dating from 1938, Helados Scannapieco (Avenida Córdoba 4826) in the Palermo district is another family-run business that has stood the test of time. This heladería serves up an irresistible selection of flavours, from timeless classics such as chocolate and vanilla to innovative concoctions such as cinnamon and caipirinha.
If you go to Heladería Via Flaminia (Avenida del Libertador 14699), be sure to sample their signature invention – ice cream of your choice is piled onto a cone, turned upside down and expertly whipped until it is around a foot long, then dipped in chocolate and quickly cooled to create a decadent, sword-like creation.