Heladería Lares
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An Ice Cream Revolution in Lares
The Heladería de Lares, a 45-year-old family business, sells about 50 unusual flavors of ice cream up in the mountains. Salvador Berreto, known to the locals as Yinyo, founded the shop to commemorate the Grito de Lares, a battle for freedom that had taken place exactly one century before. Yinyo started with corn, a flavor at the heart of the Puerto Rican diet and the current bestseller. Other flavors are cod, coquito (the Puerto Rican version of eggnog), and rice and beans. Fortunately, you can taste two flavors before deciding what to buy, and the ice cream is cheap, so you can stock up. Every weekend, people form what locals like to call lines, but are really boisterous blobs extending half a block down from the shop's entrance. While eating, people skim through newspaper clips about when Denise Quiñones, a girl from Lares, won a Miss Universe pageant, or study photos of the 1945 Fuego de la Candelaria (a fire in Lares). After reading about the history behind Lares's anthem and running their hands over the guiro (a musical instrument played by scraping its serrated surface), people often wander outside to the Plaza de la Revolucion. Here, on a typical Sunday, artisans sell paintings of the three magi (the Puerto Ricans' second Santa) and of flamboyanes (the national trees with orange flowers). If you have doubts as to whether it's worth it, just ask Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea. In 2008, Clinton forced $100 into the hands of Yinyo's son for a mango ice cream.
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