I woke up with one plan for today: ice cream.
Yesterday Col and I ended up on a walking tour of Merida run by the lovely Pink Cactus tours. It’s a new outfit set up by friends of a friend so thankfully we really enjoyed ourselves or that would have been embarrassing! They took us around the important central spots of Merida effortlessly combining interesting history with a look at the hip side of the city. I did learn some interesting things but the main thing I took away from the tour was that there are two amazing ice-cream shops I haven’t tried and both are within walking distance of my house.
I felt that I had let myself down and hence today I was determined to right this awful, awful wrong. In fact, I’m not sure that anything in 2017 could be as awful as my realisation that I’d let my ice cream ball slip: not as if anything else is going on in the world, right?
So, over breakfast I announced to the kids (and husband) that today was going to be about ice-cream. The reaction? Nothing. Nothing at all. I left it as my kids (and husband) aren’t always totally in to the listening to other people thing. I figured I’d try again later. So we had some pool time and the kids enjoyed the home made water pistols we created from empty water bottles. Over lunch I again told everyone that as a massive treat, today was going to be an ice-cream day. Reactions? The small boy told me he didn’t want to go for ice-cream. The small-girl said nothing.
Seriously, people? How often does a middle-class health-conscious mother offer her kids two ice-cream shop visits in one day? I did not expect this crap from my kids, particularly from the sugar obsessed boy.
They finished lunch and immediately jumped back in the pool. I practically had to beg them to get dressed to come and eat ice-cream with me (I was close to bribing them with chocolate!).
The first shop: Pola, is on Calle 55, just down from Santa Lucia. I learned on our tour yesterday that it is owned by a Polish woman. My main reason for having to visit was the promise of avocado ice-cream. We had it once in Japan about seven years ago and I’ve never seen it since. It was one of the best things I’d ever eaten and I could not, in good conscience, allow it and me to exist in the same city without at least one meeting.
30 of the finest Mexican pesos will buy you one scoop of incredible ice-cream in a really top notch quality cone. We had chocolate, strawberry with chocolate, mint chocolate and…avocado (I am the only one in my family who doesn’t like chocolate ice-cream, clearly). All were incredible, even to the non-chocolate liking me. Well worth a visit. I believe that the juice shop next door is also wonderful although we didn’t sample the wares.
Before we headed to stop number two, we took a diversion to the art supplies store. We’ve never let the kids in there before, always going without them knowing it’s cheaper that way. We were right, it wasn’t cheap with them there but they had such a wonderful time and I don’t think we went too wild.
And then it was on to the main plaza, by the cathederal to find the second of my day’s ice-creams. This parlour is the oldest in Merida, having opened in 1907. Actually it turns out it’s one of a pair in the city and we have been to the other one but I wasn’t about to let that put me off my second tasting. And actually, they’re sorbets, not ice-creams.
Slightly more expensive but also a bigger serving here. The boy was adamant he’d had enough ice-cream for the day so he sat out this round while the girl, husband and I ploughed on through. He had coconut, small girl had sweet corn and I had watermelon. All amazing again. The watermelon is so very refreshing and is also something of a Mexican tradition. Coconut is slightly more expensive than the other two and it shows in its creaminess. The corn flavour is weird purely because it’s corn flavour and it’s hard to get one’s head around that, unless one is almost three, apparently! I did enjoy the few tastes I was permitted but I don’t think I’d eat a whole one.
These obviously aren’t the only two ice-cream shops in town. In fact, there are cheaper and more traditional stores every block or so where you can buy a ‘paletta’, (a milk or water based lolly), juice or ice-cream. There are also individuals riding round on little bikes with small ice-cream trolleys attached. I’ve never had a bad one from anyone and I really do like to sample any ice-cream I can get my hands on.
If you’re the type of person who is kind enough to buy your kids incredible ice creams then you’re probably the type of person who wants to find fun for kids in Mérida!