Coromoto, an ice cream shop in Merida, Venezuela, is probably the closest you can ever get to Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from Harry Potter’s wizarding world. The place sells ice creams of virtually every flavor you can think of. Granted, you won’t get vomit or earwax, but you’re sure to come across a few strange flavors like onion, chili, mushrooms, wine and even garlic. The ones you’d probably never want to try are egg, sardines-in-brandy and macaroni-and-cheese flavored ice creams. Of course, for those who don’t like experimenting much, regular flavors like vanilla and strawberry are available as well.
Manuel da Silva Oliveira, a Portuguese immigrant, worked for years at large ice cream companies, before he realized the potential that exotic and unusual flavors held. He then proceeded to perfect an avocado-flavored ice cream, after wasting about 50 kg in his attempts. In 1980, he opened the Heladeria Coromoto, where the Avocado ice cream is now one of the most popular, and is paired with sweet corn, black bean, mango or coconut flavors. The shop sells the largest number of flavors in the world, holding a Guinness World Record for it. There are around 900 flavors to choose from, with 60 of them being served on any given day. Changes are made according to the season.
Photo: Chef’n Blog
The house special served at Coromoto is the Pabellon Criollo. It is modeled after the traditional Venezuelan meal of beef, rice, plantain, cheese and black beans. Some people prefer to stay away from the cheese flavored one, while beef ice cream is surprisingly liked by quite a few. Apart from the flavors, some of the ice creams have very unique names as well, like ‘British Airways’, ‘I’m Sorry Darling’ and ‘Andean Kisses’. ‘Viagra Hope’ doesn’t really contain any Viagra; it’s made of honey and pollen. But it’s blue, just like the pill.
Mr. Oliveira apparently doesn’t come into the shop anymore, so it is being taken care of by Jose Ramirez. Jose is in his forties and is perfect for the role of ice cream man. He says that his personal favorites are the fruit flavors. However, according to Jose, many customers prefer alcoholic ones like vodka-and-pineapple, cognac or Cointreau. Given that the shop is in Venezuela, rum is the most popular of all. But if I ever happened to visit the shop, I’d like to try the Avocado, the flavor that started it all. How about you?