A Cup of Joy
I’m not really a big fan of ice cream but that does not stop me from trying out the gelato of Palau’s first ice cream shop, the L’Amarena.
It was not my first time meeting the cute Italian duo of father and son who sell the ice cream that is making a buzz in Palau. I have always heard of the shop since I came here last January 20 but I did not have much chance of trying it out immediately, by choice, as I was more enticed of trying out Palauan local dishes more such as the taro wrapped in banana leaves.
I have seen them first at the first night market staged by the Palau Visitor’s Authority this year, nodding and flashing a smile at foreigners and locals alike who stopped by their stall and bought a cone of L’amarena gelato or two. I was intrigued as the scene of the duo scooping ice cream for customers remind me of Davao City’s Mang Danny, a local ice cream maker who rose to fame among the locals in the Philippine’s City for making delicious dirty ice cream.
Last Sunday though, after attending the swimming event graced by US Olympian Speed Skater Brian Hansen, a media colleague and her friend invited me to go to the gelato shop as they were craving for their ice cream. So I gave it a go and for the first time, I stepped into this tiny but tidy ice cream shop in Koror, which at first glance, suggests that its ice cream attracts variety of palates as reflected by the fact that the customers are composed of different nationalities such as Chinese, Palauan, Filipinos, and others who were there to try out the famed ice cream.
For a small ice cream cup, one gets to pay $3 where you could request for double flavors. I asked my company which flavors are delicious but was only told that all of the flavors are actually good. So it was hard for me to pick from the array of gelato with different flavors such as Vanilla, Pistachio, Spirulina Seaweed, Hazelnut, Coconut, Amarena, Raspberry Vanilla, and of course the all-time favorite flavor, Chocolate, among many others.
Instead, I ordered one of my company’s favorite flavors, the Choco Mint and the Salted Caramel, to see if it will turn out to be my favorite too. With the first tiny scoop I put into my mouth, I could tell that they did not use artificial flavor as the smell of the mint in the ice cream is as fresh as the scent of the mint leaves I once inhaled from a botanical garden.
The choco-mint-flavored ice cream was so refreshing to the mouth that the taste of the salted caramel was overpowered so I couldn’t really say much about the other flavor. The cool sensation brought by the mint would leave one gulping ice cream one scoop after the other. The mint-flavored ice cream was addicting that it would make you crave for it more just like your system craves for a vice you could not just easily break. This may sound like an exaggeration but that was how my system reacted to it and I am definitely going back for more and try the other flavors as well.
If you are a tourist or new in Palau, this ice cream is surely a must-try. They are open every Monday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m and they are located at Meketii Hamlet in Koror. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)