Monday, October 18, 2010

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Sorveteria 50 Sabores (Fortaleza, Brazil)

Although you can't really call an ice cream shop a restaurant, Flavors of Brazil doesn't have a category for ice cream shop reviews, so I've decided that for the moment Sorveteria 50 Sabores (meaning Ice Cream Shop 50 Flavors) will qualify as a restaurant for reviewing purposes on this blog. The small local chain of ice cream shops in Fortaleza is regularly honored by the well-known Veja Guides to food and drink, and others, as having the best ice cream in Fortaleza. Brazilians are ice-cream (sorvete) mad, and local residents must agree with the guide books, since  Sorveteria 50 Sabores business appears to be booming, even though their ice cream is just about the most expensive in the city. On Fortaleza's waterfront promenade, called Beira Mar, this chain just opened its third location - within 1 kilometer of each of the two other already-existing branches on the seafront. And it already appears to be doing land-office business, especially in the evenings when thousands of residents stroll the promenade in the warm tropical night.

Basically, this chain sells ice cream, in cones or cups, with or without topping, and nothing else. The shops are open to the street, and most customers take their purchases across the street to the promenade where they stroll and eat, or sit and eat, their ice cream - rather quickly, as ice cream doesn't stay solid long in 25-30C (80-88F) heat.

Fortaleza - Beira-Mar
The chain was founded 34 years ago and is still owned by the family of the founder. All the ice cream they serve are made by the company itself, and served only in their own shops. Although the name would seem to indicate that there are 50 flavors available, that is no longer the case. At any one time there are approximately 80-90 flavors for sale, and the current list of flavors they work with is about 110. Some flavors are always available and others come and go. According to Sorveteria 50 Sabores's website, over the years they have developed an archive of nearly 300 flavors that have been offered at one time or another. Many of the flavors of ice cream sold at Sorveteria 50 Sabores would be familiar to ice cream fans around the world, and all the classic chocolate, cream, nut and fruit flavors are available. What makes this chain more interesting and unique is the range of tropical fruit flavors that they offer. Many of the fruits which have been featured here on Flavors of Brazil - fruits like buriti, maracujá, açaí, cacau - are represented on the board which announces available flavors. For someone who is visiting Fortaleza, or Brazil, from outside the region, I'd highly recommend that these are the flavors to try. The chocolate ice cream at Sorveteria 50 Sabores is excellent, but it is nothing new for almost anyone who appreciates good ice cream. Nor is the vanilla or the strawberry. But where else are you going to be able to sample cajá, caju, murici or sapoti ice cream? Not at Baskin-Robbins, that's for sure! Beside the fruit flavors, there are some other distinctively Brazilian flavors that shouldn't be missed - caipirinha, which is made with cachaça and is only sold to persons over 18 years of age, or brigadeiro, based on Brazilian's favorite chocolate treat.
Cashew-nut Brittle Ice Cream

The shops are spotlessly clean, and there are no worries that the ice cream might not be hygenic. The only worry involved with having ice cream is which flavor(s) to have. Fortunately,   has a policy of allowing unlimited sampling before purchasing, and I recommend that everyone take advantage of that - not to excess, of course. But it's a perfect opportunity to try out one, two or three exotic and possibly even mysterious flavors before making a purchasing decision. After all, exactly what it Obama-flavored ice cream?

If you're interested in seeing the complete list of current flavors, with sometimes charmingly-inaccurate English translations, click this link to the company's website, then choose "produtos" from the menu choices.


  1. Have you tried the CAIPIRINHA flavor? Out of this world! But it is limited to adults, since it's main ingredient is cachaça, Brazilian sugar cane rum.

  2. Hi Jim - I have sampled the Caipirinha flavor at 50 Sabores, and I completely agree with you, it's marvelous. I've bought it in bulk and taken it home to serve as dessert for a dinner party. I find that it's lightness and tartness are perfect to end a rich meal.

  3. I lived in Brazil for 2 years in the late 1960s. Besides chocolate and vanilla, the only flavors of ice cream I remember were plum, avocado, and coconut ---the latter being my favorite. So I looked forward to having coconut sorvete when I returned in August 2011 ---my first trip back since 1969. I was stunned by the assortment of flavors and only wished I could have spent about 3 months there so I could have tried them all. I visited Aracajú, Salvador, Manaus, Foz do Iguaçu, and Rio ---and each area offered some unique flavors. One place in Rio offered different types of frozen treats, regular ice cream, extra creamy, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and popcicles, although not all flavors were available in each type. I'm sure there were more than 50 choices, and now I regret not taking a photo of the list. (I have a friend who lives near there ---will ask her to take a photo and email it to me.) Of all the flavors I tried, coconut is still my favorite, but coffee-chocolate-rum would be my second choice ---a flavor I tried in Salvador, but didn't see elsewhere.

    Although I rarely eat ice cream at home, I already have saudades for the variety of great flavors I found there.

    I was attempting to make a list of Brazilian ice cream flavors, but not remembering them all, I searched online and found your blog. I write 2 blogs about Brazil, one public and one private ---although I haven't been keeping up with them lately. I will definitely add a link to your blog on both of mine.

    My public blog:
    is about my adventures in the Peace Corps 1967-69