By Esther Zoza
HAVANA TIMES – Last week, I randomly ended up near the Coppelia ice cream parlor. After seeing there weren’t many people waiting, I decided to take my place in line.
We were invited to go in by the doorman less than twenty minutes later. I had to share a table, like I always do. However, my table companions were entertaining and educational. The young people sitting next to me filled me in on the development of the former Cathedral of Ice Cream, once upon a time.
I knew that prices had gone up, but I didn’t know that it was “mentirita” (fake) ice cream, like the young people said. In Havana slang, this phrase means an altered product, depending on the context. After my initial smile, I was overcome by an inquiring uneasiness.
It’s no secret that Cubans invade other people’s personal space. So, it wasn’t strange for consumers on the table next to us to join in the conversaiton, saying that the ice cream didn’t taste of anything because it wasn’t “manufactured.” Of course, my normal scepticism made me hesitate.
How can chocolate and guava ice cream possibly taste the same? Whether it’s been manufactured or not. It must be because they don’t have flavorings or is the ice cream really artisan? But… what does this have to do with the lack of a distinctive taste?
When I finally tasted those small and hollow balls, there wasn’t a trace of doubt that something was definitely up with this ice cream. So, I asked the waitress who told me that soy “makes all of the flavors taste the same.” Soyyyyyy! The news took most of those present by surprise.
It’s a well-known fact that soy is commercialized worldwide and has excellent health properties, but not everybody is aware of these benefits. I think that Cubans should be better informed about using it as a cow milk substitute when making ice cream. An S should also appear on the menu board next to flavors available, at least.
Plus… if this ice cream doesn’t contain cow milk, how can it continue to be sold under the brand Varadero and Coppelia, brands that have made their name selling quality Cuban ice cream since 1966.