Mexico City is a pretty good market for an ince cream retailer to get into. The customer base is there – 20 plus million people crammed into a large geographical bowl. The weather is just right too, with year round sun. Even in the depths of winter, the afternoons can get hot enough to make an ice cream a refreshing proposition.
So it should be no big surprise for any visitors to notice there’s an ice cream parlour on virtually every street corner. Some are better than others. Michoacanas are everywhere. But I’ll always pop into a Santa Clara if one is nearby, and I have a few extra pesos to spare. But there are other independent ice cream stores which cater for the luxury helado connoisseur. But why UK style ice cream vans have never caught on here, I just don’t know.
We found a very retro ice cream parlour last Sunday. Chiadoni’s have been serving up frozen treats from their shop near the World Trade center (map) since 1939. There’s a whiff of scandal about the place, mind you. Many moons ago, the proprietor flung his wife onto the streets and took up with his maid, who has owned and run the place since his death some years ago. Or so goes the gossip anyway.
But the ice cream is good, the plastic blue seats and kitsch, worn decor reminiscent of glory days decades earlier. The place still gets busy sometimes though, so I’m told. Less so on Sunday mornings when we strolled in.
There’s also the added bonus of clean, free toilets. Which shouldn’t be a selling point really. But not every eatery has one available to the public, and the sanitarios you’ll find on various streets not only charge 2 or 3 pesos, but don’t seem to invest in bleach or a cleaner. And don’t get me started on McDonalds and their lousy public restroom policy. I did write a letter of complaint, which was never responded to. So I’m still boycotting their crappy McSwineflu burgers.