10 Facts about Argentine Ice Cream
While I was tempted to just make a list with photos of myself gorging on ice cream, I thought I would give you guys some legitimate ice cream facts. I found some of these in the book, El Libro de Oro del Helado Argentino, which was a gift given to me by my amazing friend Magu.
1. Ice cream consumption in Argentina has grown 150% in the past decade
Probably because so many foreigners are realizing Argentina’s ice cream is delicious enough to compete with the likes of Spain and Italy.
2. Ice cream consumption drops 30% in Buenos Aires winters
Even the author of the book I found this fact in mocks Argentines for their wimpiness when it comes to the cold. Tastiness does not vary by season, people!
3. You can get ice cream delivered to your door in Argentina
This was one of the most magical discoveries of my entire lifetime. It was 1am, and someone at a get together said they would like some ice cream. I agreed that it would be lovely to have a delightful frozen treat, but I assumed it was just wishful thinking. Lo and behold, a mere 20 minutes later, a couple kilos of amazing helado was delivered right to the apartment!
4. A quarter kilo is a totally acceptable size to order at any ice cream shop
This is wonderful for an ice cream hog like myself. Sure, you can get a tiny cone or cup, but for just a few pesos more you can get a quarter of a kilo! You can just walk around with a giant serving of ice cream and no one will outwardly judge you. It’s a beautiful thing.
5. The cones and cups are serious business
There are so many different ice cream receptacles to choose from. The general question you will be asked when ordering a scoop (or several) is “vasito o cucurucho?” which basically translates to cup or cone, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.
You see, a vasito could be a cup made of styrofoam or plastic, but it could also be a cup made out of edible cone material. To specify, you might have to add “comestible” or “edible” to your order just to be clear. Vasito can also be used to describe what in the US is called a plain or cake cone. In this case, you usually just provide the price attached to the size of cone you want.
The Cucurucho is basically a sugar cone, you know, the pointy kind. It is sweeter than the plain cone, as it has more sugar and grease in it. It’s also thicker and crunchier. Who knew ice cream facts could be so complicated?
6. Buying store bought ice cream is just weird in Argentina
The few lonely brands of commercial ice cream marketed in Argentina tend to sit sadly in the freezer without so much as a glance from a chubby child. Artisan ice cream shops are all over Argentina and the quality is exponentially better than the freezer-burned garbage in the grocery store. The price difference isn’t all that big either. I made the mistake of buying store-bought ice cream only once in Argentina, and it was a truly upsetting experience.
7. You can buy ice cream by the kilo
When I first moved to Argentina, I discovered a delicious ice cream shop 1 block from my house that had a special every Tuesday – buy one kilo, get a half kilo free. So, once every 2 weeks or so, I would go into the shop like a druggie looking for a fix, and buy my ice cream by the kilo. This continued until the guys started recognizing me and asking me questions about how many people lived in my house.
8. Dulce de Leche is the most popular ice cream flavor in Argentina
If you have ever been to Argentina, or simply tasted dulce de leche, this shouldn’t surprise you. Dulce de leche is a lot like carmel, but way more delicious. Argentines put it on and in everything from pastries to yogurt. It’s easy to see how it became the most popular ice cream flavor in the entire country. Usually, the flavoring is built into a brownish tan color ice cream. However, many ice cream artisans will take it a step further and offer “Super dulce de leche” which is the dulce de leche ice cream with generous swirls of the thick dulce de leche mixed right into the already rich ice cream. It’s enough to make you drool, and then probably take a nap.
9. It’s low calorie! Well, kind of…
Obviously, some flavors are more fattening than others, but Argentine ice creams average around 70-210 calories per 100 grams. That may not sound like a low calorie dessert, but in comparison with the other desserts Argentines consume on a regular basis, it’s not so bad. Ice cream is a much better choice than the chocolate and dulce de leche covered alflajores and medialunas.
10. I moved to Argentina for the ice cream
Ok, maybe it wasn’t the ONLY reason I chose to spend nearly two years of my life in Argentina, but it was certainly on the pros list. Ice cream is a very important part of my life, so I couldn’t justify moving somewhere that had terrible ice cream, could I? Thank goodness for the heladerías of argentina, and their wonderful delivery service.