Brazilians are wild about ice cream (sorvete) all year round, but the craziness reaches epidemic proportions during the summer, for reasons that are quite obvious. Line-ups out the door, people walking down the street trying their best to prevent a dripping cone from staining their clothes, kids with smiles a mile-wide and a face smeared with ice cream - these are all signs of summer in Brazil.
During the colder months, Brazilians eat lots of cream and chocolate-based ice cream flavors, but when the thermometer's about to pop, they are more likely to choose a fruit-based flavor. These flavors are sharper and more acidic which somehow makes them more refreshing in the heat. They are also less caloric, and thus don't feel as filling. Most sorveterias (ice cream shops) vary their offerings seasonally to meet the changed demand in summertime and fruit-based options abound.
An article in today's Folha de São Paulo newspaper highlights the summer menu changes at one of the best sorveteria chains in Brazil - Mil Frutas (A Thousand Fruits). Mil Frutas has shops in São Paulo, in Rio de Janeiro and in the coastal resort of Búzios. For the past eight years, it has been crowned the best sorveteria in Rio by the gastronomic guide Veja Comer & Beber. And every summer, it's chart of flavors highlights Brazilian fruits.
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The ice cream at Mil Frutas uses the simplest ingredients - cream, sugar, and fruit. There are no preservatives or artificial flavors or colors. It's the essence of summer in a cone (or a cup, or a dish). And it's one of the best heat-beaters on Earth.