Nothing quite says summer in Chile like the “Helado! Helado!” cries of the wandering ice cream vendors who ply their trade in Chilean streets, buses, parks and plazas during the warmer months of the year.
And while they provide a cheap and convenient relief from the heat, there is a world of frozen gourmet goodness to be discovered in Santiago, which might go some way to explaining why so many travel organizations are suddenly calling Chile’s capital one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Latin America.
Here at This is Chile, we’ve put our ear to the ground and our tongue on the tasting spoon to come up with a few of the best ice creams in town.
Emporio La Rosa:
The crème de la crème of the local ice cream and gelati scene, Emporio La Rosa is a Santiago gourmand institution. Among those who purport to know these things, this is considered the best in town.
And with simple, unique and ever changing combinations like chocolate-basil, chirimoya-orange, raspberry-mint, and ulmo honey, it’s hard to argue with them.
Established in 2001, La Rosa has garnered such a following that it has opened six new stores across Santiago and nearby Valparaíso, but the original store in the trendy Barrio Lastarria neighborhood is still the most charismatic.
With an Old World feel and outdoor dining that spills into Parque Forestal, this establishment draws a huge crowd on weekends. La Rosa also serves excellent coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch.
The original store is at Merced 291, near the Bellas Artes metro station. For a full list of stores, as well as a menu, see the official website.
If La Rosa serves up the most innovative flavors, Heladería Sebastián does the traditional better than anyone else.
The classic Italian gelatis here, like nutella, stracciatella and tiramisú, are simply divine, while the store also makes Chilean flavors like lúcuma, an Andean fruit used in deserts and manjar – caramelized condensed milk, and Chile’s most popular sweet.
Based in the downtown neighborhood of Providencia, Heladeriá Sebastián is a small cafe with a big following, and the outdoor tables are often occupied, though you can get a take-away if you can’t stand the wait. It also serves coffee, cake and sandwiches.
Heladería Sebastián is located near Los Leones metro station at Andrés de Fuenzalida 26.
With two separate stores in the plazas of the bohemian quarters of Brasil and Ñuñoa, Filippo is a great place to get a take-out gelati and enjoy the view from a park bench in some of the hippest paces in town.
Filippo has a wide range of flavors, including many Chilean deserts that have been converted into gelati form, including the traditional tres leches (“three milks”) cake, and harina tostada, a porridge like meal of toasted flour that comes from the south of Chile.
The Ñuñoa branch is located on Irrarázaval 3502, and can be reached by the 505 and 513 buses that depart from Baquedano metro station (Plaza Italia), while the Brasil store is on Brasil 327, between Santa Ana and Los Héroes metro stations.
For more information, see the Filippo website.