It’s hard to get an old habit out of your head, let’s use a simple Mango Popsicle for example. If my brain says: “I would love one!” and you are like me addicted to ice cream and sorbet you will find a way to buy one. Strangely enough though in our part of the wood, they haven’t had it for a while! Why? What’s happening? Could it be a Mexico wide shortage, no think again; this reaction is just the side effect of having lived too long in a society where you can get anything at any time.
As you know by now we have loved and enjoyed “La Michoacana” ice-cream in La Cruz, to be fair we have been hooked and faithful to the brand to this day. Thinking that it is a franchise, so in our mind it means a big controlled central fabrication kitchen with an efficient delivery system; hence, Mango Popsicle all year long, wrong wrong and wrong again. When Alfredo smiled at me so nicely his eyes said the rest, the light bulb went in my head, mango are out of season at the moment. This sparked few good conversations; in fact we learnt that it is in his village and family affair, a clan long tradition of being ice cream maker. During Christmas time when they all go home to the native region, a mini symposium happen 10.000 strong. New equipments, new techniques are discussed, but the Franchise agreement is more on the honor system basis. What do you mean you don’t have strict recipes to follow??
Each store produces its own, from the fruits that are in season, yep there is no Mango in the fall… From there we got a tour of the facility, 3 HP compressors driving a long freezer full of salt water able to bring the bar and a 10 liter tube down to temperature in 20 minutes. Simple but impressive, there is very little artificial flavoring, no emulsifier or other trick, it is just egg whites and a cream base purchase from the supplier to create magic. Alfredo have been producing six days a week for the last 25 years, he works seven days a week with only two weeks’ vacation a year. As you can see it is a labor of love, no other word for a pain staking process. To add furthermore, Alfredo knows every kid in the village well and could easily pin point the trouble maker better than the policeman.
To thank him, for his hospitality, his willingness to talk and answering our questions, we invited him and his spouse for an afternoon snack on the boat. This is when we discovered, Elisa runs (after a day at school teaching little ones) the other store in town. The one we never went to buy even if that meant walking all the way back to the Plaza, we wanted to support Alfredo. We had a very enjoyable encounter, talked about our business and tried to convince Alfredo to make Caramel and Sea salt ice cream. He couldn’t believe what we were asking for; we sent him the recipe and reference of the best French producer. So now if you are in La Cruz soon, just ask the king of Ice cream maker with a smile: “Do you have Caramelo con Sal?” We are sure that will get a sparkle in his eye and it will break the ice.
Elisa and Alfredo on a rare relaxing afternoon, they deserve a lot more.