In the quiet mountains of the Central Region lies a small town by the name of Lares and its town square is the site of an unusual treat shop that goes by the name of Heladería de Lares. The Heladería de Lares [Lares Ice Cream Parlor], was founded in 1968, when a local businessman by the name of Salvador Barreto (or Yinyo as his friends call him) decided to open an ice cream parlor with a twist.
Mr. Barreto developed over 1,000 different flavor recipes of ice cream, some of which he liked more than others and he’s kept them all locked up in the safest place in the world: his head! Aside from classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate, Yinyo also offered more extravagant flavors such as meat, avocado, garlic and corn. Unconventional to say the least, but this unorthodox decision has kept the business alive for the past 43 years and business IS booming! On any given day, but especially on the weekends, people line up to have a rice and bean cone or a double scoop of shrimp ice cream.
The Heladería de Lares was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Puerto Rico episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern which has further skyrocketed this treat shop’s popularity.
When asked what will happen when the time comes to share his recipes with someone else, Mr. Barreto would simply answer with a shrug and a smile. Today his son Alberto runs the shop, producing the same exceptional ice cream his father dreamt up over 4 decades ago.
The Heladería de Lares is open Wednesday through Sunday so if you want to visit one the most exotic ice cream parlors in the world, click here to get directions.