Food - Drink
The History Of Fidel Castro's Massive Ice Cream Parlor
By CHRIS SANDS
Former president of Cuba Fidel Castro’s love of ice cream was so great that novelist Gabriel García Márquez claims to have seen him eat 18 scoops in a single afternoon — not to mention the CIA tried to assassinate Castro using a poisoned chocolate milkshake. Castro even went on to open a huge, truly impressive ice cream parlor in Havana.
Architect Mario Girona Fernández, as well as Celia Sánchez, one of Castro’s biggest supporters, designed Castro's Coppelia, a block-long ice cream shop that opened in 1966. Capable of handling 1,000 customers at a time, the "heladería" employed 400 staff back in 2012, and served ice cream to about 35,000 customers daily.
Coppelia started with 26 flavors, including guava and orange-pineapple, and reached 50 flavors by the early 1980s. However, the end of the Cold War in 1990 hurt Cuba's trading industry and led to the decline of Coppelia's glory; today, the shop is still open and serves 4,000 gallons of ice cream per day, but only offers a few flavors at a time.