One day, I woke up to find that Manila is surrounded by ice cream shops everywhere. It’s not just the mainstream ones you’d normally find from supermarkets, convenience stores and drugstores. I’m talking about the shops selling luxurious Italian gelatos and artisanal ice cream. Each scoop is typically of the same or a little bit higher priced as compared to a chicken and rice combo meal from a fast food joint, and yet, these ice cream shops are thriving. Truly, today’s tastes and preferences for ice cream in Manila have elevated to notches higher than maybe 5 -10 years ago.
There are stand-alone shops and ice cream shops inside a mall or a food court. Who would have thought an ice cream shop would also exist even in a weekend market such as the Mercato Centrale@BGC.
One evening, the sight of a smoking ice cream maker caught my attention. Someone’s making ice cream from scratch all along. “It’s liquid nitrogen ice cream,” owner Eric Lava tried to educate me and my son that night on the smoky sight, while his crew whipped up a dark chocolate ice cream for the first buyer on queue. “We make ice cream right in front of you, and you can see all the fresh ingredients we put.”
Intrigued, I ordered a Tiramisu Vanilla variant, which was prepared in a span or 4-5 minutes. The customization is a unique selling point of this shop. I initially cringed at the thought of having to part my PhP150 for a single scoop, but not until the crew topped it with a huge chocolate chip cookie (imported from Belgium), and my son and I tasted the fresh n’ creamy artisanal-like ice cream.
“We are opening a branch near Ateneo soon,” Mr. Lava said, when I asked if there are other branches of Lava Ice Cream Café elsewhere.