Ice cream, like most other things Miami, has gone international. Say goodbye to Fudgie the Whaler and hello to the icy, cream-capped cones of Nicaragua, Haiti, Peru and Jamaica.
Walk into Mi Peru Restaurant and the red tabletops, vibrant paintings and coquettish Spanish banter add a frisson of excitement to devouring a cup of homemade Ceasarés ice cream. Sold in a bin in the back of the restaurant, they are reminiscent of those Italian ice cups you used to eat with a small, wooden paddle stick. Lima-born Cesar Rengifo has been making Ceasarés Ice Cream in a Lauderdale Lakes factory for eight years.The maracuya (passion fruit) tastes like sweet cream and the lucuma is like a spiced pumpkin pie. Other flavors include custard apple (guanabana), cherimoya and chocolate.
Mi Peru Restaurant: 1760 NE Miami Gardens Dr., North Miami Beach; 8:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 305-940-9404.
When one thinks of Jamaican ice cream, two flavors come to mind, grape nut and rum raisin. Certainly, not jerk ... unless you are Paul Johnson. In 1989, the Trelawney, Jamaica, native began experimenting with an ice cream homage to the famous island seasoning composed of allspice, thyme, onion, garlic, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper. The result is a creamy, nutty vanilla body with the piquant bite of scotch bonnet at the finish.
Johnson’s spicy ice cream, under the Tropical Flavors brand, is manufactured and distributed wholesale by Ben-Hill Farms of Florida. It's sold at Boston Juicy Jerk Restaurant in Lauderhill and seasonally at the Jerk Festival in Markham Park. Johnson hopes to sell pints and half-gallons to club stores and supermarkets someday.
Paul Johnson's Jerk Ice Cream: Boston Juicy Jerk Restaurant: 5530 W Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill; 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; 954-484-2620.
Photo: Ross Hailey