Ok, so this isn’t the first place you think of when you think South America, but my flight to Buenos Aires left from a nearby gate, and a girl’s gotta eat. Just like at icecream stores, here you pay for your order first, and then move over to make your flavour selection. I opted for a traditional strawberry iced doughnut, complete with sprinkles on top. Yes, the doughnut grease oozed through the paper bag a bit as I took it onto the flight. Yes, there are probably more calories in that thing than in the other three meals of my day. But oh man, sometimes a doughnut is actually the best thing. The icing was very sweet, with a not-overly artificial, but not-overly authentic, strawberry flavour, and the sprinkles were a fun addition on top. The doughnut itself was delicious, with a springy dough that was beautifully aerated inside and had that perfect doughnut flavour. I don’t want to overcomplicate this – it was what you would expect from a chain-store doughnut, and it was delicious (and kept me awake on my flight). Job done.
Dunkin Donuts, Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Av. Armando Cortínez Norte, Santiago
If I could have claimed to have a ‘local’ while in Santiago, Cafe Publico was it. The staff were really patient with my terrible Spanish (they even taught me how to order an orange juice) and, of course, being located in an arts centre (the GAM), everything was stylish too. Breakfast isn’t a big deal in Chile – usually a couple of pieces of toast with eggs, jam or avocado suffice, but I thoroughly enjoyed trying a couple of the different pastries on offer. When I looked up ‘food to try in Chile’, manjar was high on the list. The Chilean name for Argentina’s dulce de leche, manjar is a sweet, milk-based dessert (think a richer version of Nestle Top Fill), which at Cafe Publico, is served sandwiched in flaky croissants. Heated up, the sweet, rich manjar goes gooey and a bit runny, oozing out of the croissant. Ok, it is messy, but wow, it is tasty too! With a cuppa and a fresh juice, there’s no better way to start the day. As a side note, the alfajore negro (dark chocolate alfajor, kind of like a jam-less, manjar-filled Wagon Wheel) here are also excellent.
Cafe Publico, GAM, Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 227, Santiago, http://gam.cl/tu-visita (Spanish only)
Well friends, we’ve done it once again. Another year of #icecreamthurs summer denial comes to an end – bring on the heat! On my first day on Easter Island, I wandered through Hanga Roa, getting my bearings and exploring Tahai for my first sighting of the impressive moai. But it was a long walk, and on the way back I stopped in at Pea’s little icecream stall, hidden around the side of the building. With a fun range of flavours (and locally made), I couldn’t go past the frutos rojos flavour, which literally translates as red fruit. I presumed it was a fruits of the forest type mix, but the flavour didn’t have the heaviness of dark berries, instead being a sweeter, tarter mix of what must have been strawberrry, raspberry and blueberry. The portion was smaller than others I’d have on the island, but the quality was excellent. The icecream was beautifully rich and had such a creamy texture – I could have happily enjoyed this all day. Even better was the view – I grabbed a seat out on the pavillion which overlooks the ocean – life doesn’t really get much better than this! #icecreamthurs will return in autumn 2017.
Pea Restobar, Av. Policarpo Toro, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile, no website
Mikafe is a lovely little spot right by the water in Hanga Roa, the only town on Easter Island (or Rapanui, in the local language). Their icecreams are locally made, and include a range of flavours I’d never heard of before – so, of course, I was totally on to that. I picked the chirimoya alegre, which apparently is a Chilean dessert made with chirimoya fruit (custard apple) and orange juice. The flavour was really refreshing, with the citrus notes evident amid the general fruity sweetness of the chirimoya. I paired it with a scoop of papaya (my new favourite island flavour), which was vibrant and fresh, like biting into ripe fruit. Also, I’m not sure if this picture gives you a sense of how enormous this icecream was, but imagine, if you will, an icecream the size of your head. Literally, the size of your head. There you have it. There was so much iceream in this icecream it took me ages to eat and I was worried I might not be able to hold it, it was so heavy! This is clearly a popular local spot, especially for the kids, and I’d highly recommend it for a refreshment break. Note: you can choose to pay in pesos or US dollars.
Mikafe, Caleta Hanga Roa, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, no website
Autolyse is such a lovely spot for cake, especially when the sun is out. A friend of mine was down from Sydney and we stopped by for a late afternoon catch up, snagging a table outside. I grabbed a small ‘Happy’ juice ($5) from the fridge and (for once) chose the decadent option of salted caramel tart ($6.50) instead of the fruit tart. I have no regrets. The juice, with apple, pineapple, ginger and mint, was lovely and refreshing. The small jar was a good size, although I do love the pretty large jars with their Autolyse labels (next time). The salted caramel tart was beautifully presented, with tempered chocolate curls on top and a dash of edible silver glitter on the diagonal. The tart shell was a chocolate pastry, which was just the right consistency – not too firm, not too crumbly, just perfect. Within was the silkiest, smoothest layer of caramel and chocolate ganache. Seriously, each mouthful was pure luxury texture-wise. Thankfully, Autolyse has found the right balance with the salt, so it doesn’t punch you in the mouth, but does enhance the caramel flavour. The chocolate curls melted on the tongue, and the whole chocolate flavour was complex and rich without being sickly sweet. Yum, yum, yum!
Autolyse, 21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, http://autolyse.com.au/
You guys, can you believe #icecreamthurs only has a few more weeks to go? We’ve managed to pretend it isn’t winter for so long! Summer is just around the corner, and what better way to prepare than to indulge in some incredible sorbet from That Gelato Place? The range of flavours here is always impressive, but I was particularly excited to discover their more exotic Mojito flavour on this visit. I paired it with Mango (approx $6.50 for two scoops, can’t remember exactly, sorry!) and away we went. The Mojito flavour is the perfect combination of sweet sorbet and mint – it is refreshment in a cup, minus the alcohol, of course. I could definitely see myself sitting on the balcony with a tub of this in summer. The Mango was equally delicious – rich, sweet and creamy, the ripe fruit was conjured in my head as I took each mouthful. Together, these tropical flavours transported me to a balmy beach somewhere. Sigh. The serve was massive too – scooped up high and in a really large cup, it took me ages to eat the whole thing. That Gelato Place never lets me down!
That Gelato Place, Shop 10, Cooleman Court, Weston ACT http://www.coolemancourt.com.au/stores/that-gelato-place/
I consider myself fairly adventurous when it comes to food, so I made a point of trying to sample the extensive range of unusual icecream flavours in Chile. There are a lot, and the first one I came across was in a delightful heladeria in Bellas Artes, right outside the metro station. Have you heard of lucuma? It’s a Peruvian fruit known as ‘the Gold of the Incas’ (or so Google tells me) – its natural sweetness is perfect for anything sweet, including gelato. This gelato was actually Lucuma Meringue flavour, so was sweeter again, but I got my first impression of a new flavour – quite the adventure. It took me a while to realise why this flavour was familiar – I was expecting citrus, which was definitely there, but I also got a hint of something else, which after reading about it afterwards, I realised was maple. The combination with the meringue was sweet and fresh all at once. I was also really impressed by the texture, which was beautifully creamy and not icy at all (I thought it might be a sorbet given the fruit profile, but the website classifies it as a ‘light’ gelato). Highly recommended!
Gelateria Mo, Monjitas 484, Santiago, Chile, http://www.heladosmo.cl/#_=_