Ice cream is BIG in Buenos Aires; so big that you can order it by the kilo at dozens of neighbourhood heladerías, and if you’re wandering the city you’re likely to cross someone eating a cucurucho (cone), if not a whole kilo tub, at any time of day all year round. It was the Italian influence on the city, product of the huge waves of immigration at the start of the 20th century, that explains such close connection with gelato, but ice cream is now very much part of the city itself. Below are five particularly typical flavours that you simply have to try during your stay.
There’s no other way to begin than with the star of Argentine sweets. Dulce de leche is like manna from heaven for many locals and visitors alike, so what better than combine its addictive toasted caramel yumminess with the creaminess of craft ice cream? It’s the perfect explosion of taste and texture, and an obligatory option at every ice cream shop in the city.
So you’ll find chocolate ice cream anywhere, but few ice cream shops in Buenos Aires settle at offering simply chocolate; most have a whole menu of chocolates with infinite varieties: bitter, white, with cashew nuts, almonds, raisins, mixed with fruits like orange, raspberry, figs, or with spirits like rum, cointreau, cassis liqueur, or in mousse or souffle form. In fact, you can tour the world in chocolates - look out for flavours such as Swiss, Belgian, Moroccan, Turkish, Brazilian and Patogonian. You can even find chocolate with chili peppers! Faced with so many options, you’ll need to go back day after day to try them all!
Sambayón, which might sound like a form of Brazilian dance, is actually an adaptation of the traditional Italian dessert zabaione, which dates back to the 16th century. What’s particularly typical about the Porteño version is the use of sweet white wine, making it a perfect combination of two Argentine traditions, wine and ice cream!
Another flavour of Italian origin, despite its name referencing an old Spanish ice cream, is Tramontana. With a cream base, other ingredients include a mix of dulce de leche and chocolate coated biscuits. Mouth watering yet? Then make sure you ask for a scoop of this one while you’re in town!
So this one’s a bit different in that it comes in the form of a frozen cake. Originally from Spain, almendrado is often bought for sharing at parties. It’s the perfect combination of ice cream covered with almonds.
Obviously this is just the start, and there are many more flavours to try, both permanent fixtures and seasonal varieties, sometimes using surprising local produce. Ordering an ice cream in Buenos Aires means experiencing the combination of nostalgia and innovation typical of Buenos Aires.
Learn more about the city’s gastronomy.