Treat Yourself: Ice Cream and Chocolate in Merida

Boy, have my taste buds changed. Ten years ago when I wasn’t drinking a beer in the Merida plaza I was sitting across the street at Helados Colon enjoying an ice cream. There’s nothing special inside this classic parlor since 1907, but the tables outside have a perfect view of the cathedral and plaza. However, on my return I ordered a mamey ice cream and it was so teeth-aching-bubble-gum-syrupy-sweet I couldn’t take a second bite.

So, here are a few places I stumbled upon that don’t quite have the same view but taste much better:

La Principal
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My friend Mario said that when he was little La Principal was the go-to ice cream cart and that everything is still made the same way, with real ingredients. The original owner sold the business but the new owners have kept the recipes. I tried the peanut and the elote, both of which tasted like the real things. Don’t expect any bells and whistles here. Just ice cream in a styrofoam cup.

Pola
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I was drawn to this new gelato shop on a cute stretch of 57th by their bright blue sign with three ice cream cones and the bicycle resting below on the two toned peach building walls. Gelato, an unlocked bike, and sunny walls… Merida is a city, but sometimes it feels just like a big town. I didn’t try the gelato, but I did have a guanabana sorbet which was light and a little icey, but with such a clean, natural flavor I didn’t mind. Other interesting-looking flavors included chocolate with chile and watermelon with mint.
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Ki’Xocolatl
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Not only is this sleek little chocolate store on the Santa Lucía plaza making their own chocolate bars and operating a lovely café, they’re also starting to grow their own cacao beans here in Yucatan. Chocolate goes all the way back to Moctezuma times (royalty used to drink chocolate all day, every day) but for some reason it’s not cultivated in the Yucatan peninsula anymore. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

The hot or cold chocolate drinks are served in white modern mugs, but you’re still required to quickly stir lollipop-like chocolate sticks to melt and whisk the chocolate, just like you would with a traditional molino. It’s a fun touch.

La Principal
Calle 65 x 66

Pola
Calle 55 x 62 y 64

Ki’Xocolatl
In the Santa Lucia Plaza
Calle 60 X 55
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