The best way to discover Calle Ocho, the main artery that runs through Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, is on foot. And if you’re venturing there this summer, the most authentic way to cool off after hoofing it up and down Southwest 8th Street is to chill at Azucar Ice Cream Co.
Named after the battle cry of famed Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz – whose body laid in state in Miami’s Freedom Tower, drawing 200,000 fans, after her death in 2003 – Azucar (sugar), isn’t your typical tiny ice cream shop.
Its artisanal, made-daily flavors embrace sabor latino (Latin flavor) like no other: ruby red mamey, creamy avocado with condensed milk, sweet pink guava and sorbets made from juicy mangos.
Some flavors change with the seasons, but you can almost always find caramel flan, café con leche (Cuban coffee and Oreo), platano maduro (sweet plantain) and guarapiña (sugarcane and pineapple).
The “Willy Cherrino” (double cherry) shares equal billing with “Elvis” (peanut butter and banana).
Be sure to get a photo with your cones under the iconic painting of “La Guarachera de Cuba” (The World’s Cuban Queen) because, after all, “Vida Es un Carnaval” (Life is a Carnival).
Y, no ha que llorar, que la vida es un carnaval, es mas bello vivir cantando.
Ay, there's no need to cry, because life is a carnival, it's more beautiful to live singing.
(And eating ice cream.)
Azucar Ice Cream Company, 1503 SW 8th St., Miami, Florida 33135; (305) 381-0369; www.AzucarIceCream.com. Open noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, until 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.