Homemade ice cream, made each morning, is the real helado Yucateco

Martha Canul Cabrera. Photo: Diario de Yucatán
Martha Canul Cabrera. Photo: Diario de Yucatán

Mérida, Yucatán — Every Sunday, from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, Martha Canul Cabrera is at the door of the church of La Mejorada to sell ice cream. From her tricycle, fitted with a roof, Martha offers mamey, corn and coconut flavors, the latter “the favorite of the Yucatecans.”

This is a long-standing family affair. The ice cream is prepared by her father.

“I also know how to do it, but right now I only sell it and as I like to sell, it becomes easy,” says Martha.

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Ice cream has been the family business for a long time, and since she was a child she has had a hand in it, from getting ice to grating coconut.

“Our hands hurt,” Martha recalls. Back then, lacking kitchen technology, they shred the coconut with graters they made from Dondé cookie tins. Today, they have a machine.

The only thing that has not changed are the ingredients. “Everything is still natural.” No extracts. The family rises at 4 to make fresh ice cream to sell that day. It wouldn’t taste the same the next day, she says.

Guanábana ice cream is prepared in season, but changing tastes have lessened demand for that particular fruit. Coconut is king these days.

“We already know our clients, we know what they like … but in the street very few ask for it,” Martha says of guanábana.

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When the weather is hot, ice cream sales actually decline in these parts.

“Many say that it is because it makes you thirstier, and people buy more ices and frozen pops,” Martha speculates when speaking to a reporter on a recent summer day. “There are days when I only sell 50 ice creams; today, for example, I have only sold three.”

And what she can’t sell come home with her. It won’t go to waste.

“As we are many, there are my grandchildren and my father … and great-grandchildren, and it is consumed.”

Competition has increased because of new vendors from Chiapas. But hers, she insists, is “the real helado Yucateco.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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