Throughout Central and South America, you can taste fruity milkshakes made out of local tropical fruit from papaya to mamey. They’re thick, cold, and delicious, but they don’t leave you feeling as indulged as a hot fudge ice cream milkshake.
Before I left for Cuba, I checked a cookbook out of the library, to brief myself on what I’d be eating. The book, written by a Cuban-American who grew up in Cuban Miami, promised plenty of rice and beans, all kinds of sandwiches on freshly baked bread (not just “Cuban sandwiches”), and fruity milkshakes, also known there as batidos. Excellent, I thought.
But then when I got to Cuba, I didn’t see any fruit milkshakes, not anywhere. I would have looked for them at the stalls of big markets, but there weren’t any big markets. Instead, the Cubans I saw queuing up for cold treats were in from of the ice cream parlors (and man, did they queue!). At breakfasts at the hotels and casa particuliers, we drank incredible fresh juices from papaya, pineapple, and mango. But no batidos.