You know, I’m not currently a big fan of Helados D’Onofrio mainly because since the mid-90s, the company has been regurgitating the same type of ice cream over and over again. There’s only many ways you can mix vanilla and chocolate on a stick, you know?
Their brand has gotten stuck in a way that it only does combinations of chocolate, vanilla, lucuma , and a very cringe-worthy hot pink strawberry.
Then again, the same thing happens with snacks and sweets. There’s only so many ways you can mix chocolate cookies with vanilla cream, or vanilla cookies with an assorted arrays of creams (yes, once again: chocolate, lucuma, strawberry… but sometimes mint and if they’re feeling adventurous, peanut.).
But as with many things you grow up, you can’t hep but have a weakness for the memories it brings back. I do remember enjoying my chocolate Buen Humor, the chocolate-cookie-vanilla-ice-cream Sandwich, the fruity Eskimo, and as a little kid it was all about the Copa K-Bana (you know, as in “Copacabana”), and the Vasito (little cup) which was a tiny cup with a one-single flavor “scoop” — Yes, it was either chocolate, vanilla, lucuma or strawberry.
The Bombones (chocolate bonbons filled with vanilla ice cream), the Jet (chocolate covered vanilla ice cream on a stick), Frio Rico (cone with vanilla ice cream with scattered chocolate, which has developed in coffee or dark chocolate versions lately), and I clearly remember Huracan (“hurricane”, water-based orange or lemon ice-covered vanilla ice cream), which had that silly commercial of… what was it? A sumo wrestler (?) wondering if it was “an earthquake or hurricane” and when tasting the ice cream, he would scream “HURACAN!!!”
But the one thing that brings the most memories to me are the D’Onofrio men and women who would bike the city blowing their horns to the typical sound of Helados D’Onofrio.
As a developing nation, we have been trying to minimize the sounds of the city (because we’re a very noisy city). Lima is filled with signage asking drivers to not honks their cars, etc. because noises are bothersome. Small business have sprung, with families opening small bodegas where they sell an assortment of things, and you guessed it, ice cream. This is why, D’Onofrio sellers cannot always be found riding their bikes everywhere around town — except for some neighborhoods that remain relatively small — and when you have the luck to run into one (a picturesque sight that brings many memories), they don’t really use their horns any longer.
So ever since I read this post, equaling the sound of a D’Onofrio ice cream seller to “the death cry of an exotic bird,” I’ve been thinking about them. The hard work it must be riding around the city, under the sizzling and humid summer, seeing people passing by and knowing that they now compete with little bodegas who sell ice cream which are properly refrigerated.
I feel a bug of making a documentary about them, but I haven’t work on film for years now. I feel inadequate, but I feel the need to put this out there. Somebody must do something to remember all of this, because… as Osen would put it — it’s in danger of been swept away with the times.
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