There is something really joyous in the sound of the ice cream trucks coming to your neighbourhood during the hot summer months.
Imagine my excitement when I realised that they have ice cream trucks in Abu Dhabi too, thanks to a company called Desert Chill (also on Facebook).
They are slightly different from the ice cream vans in the UK, as they don’t serve soft cones but they sell Algida ice creams (which is known as Wall’s in the UK). Think cornetto, magnum and so on. Yum.
It took me a little while to work out how it all goes down, but they answered all my questions with incredible patience!
So, basically: the Desert Chill company has a fleet of vans roaming around Abu Dhabi. If we fancy an ice cream, we email/call them and say: “Can one of your vans come to (example: my street) at (11am?) on (Saturday?). This is my name and phone number.”
And they will tell you: “YES, we will have a van coming to see you at your preferred time and place!”
Now, this is going to cost an arm and a leg, right? Having a van coming to your house, just because you fancy an ice cream!?
Well, this is the best part: it does not. If you call the van and then just want to buy one single ice cream, that’s fine. There is no minimum spending limit, and you literally just get what you want and then bid goodbye!
We bought a cornetto and a twister (19 AED in total) and we were not charged a penny more!
The reason for this is that they have a lot of vans going around the city anyway, so to make a slight detour it does not change their routine much, hence they don’t have to charge you extra and you don’t have to go around looking for them! Is this not great?
Of course, if you have a party and you want the van to hang around for a while, then you have to spend at least 150 AED.
They have a general schedule with areas/routes (see image below) and some kind-of fixed appointments (such as on Thursdays lunch time next to the TwoFour54 building) but mostly they are happy to come to you if you call them.
We tried to call a van this morning, and the driver was bang on time, very polite and friendly and we left happy and with a yummy ice cream in our hand!
With the hot months coming, this definitely won’t be the last time we call them in!
Where in Abu Dhabi:
Al Muneera Beach Front, Al Raha Beach
Tel: 02 555 6484
What some people might not know is that the Al Muneera beach front, on Al Raha Beach, is open to everyone, not only the residents of the complex.
Yes, the beach access is private, so unless you live in one of the buildings around it you can’t walk on the sand or go swimming, but anyone is free to stay in the plaza and eat at the many restaurants and cafes there, which all have outdoor seating.
It’s so lovely to sit in the sea breeze and enjoy the beautiful view on Yas Island, with the Yas Viceroy Hotel all lit by thousands LED lights, and it’s so easy, thanks to a massive underground visitors parking just a few steps away.
One of the many places that can be enjoyed during this lovely winter season (I never experienced a December with temperatures around 27C!) is the Italian ice cream parlour Vasa Vasa. ‘Vasare’ comes from the Sicilian dialect and means ‘Kissing’.
Tucked away in the right corner of the plaza, this ice cream parlour is a real gem.
Not only the ice cream is delicious, but they also have unique flavours, which you can’t find easily around, such as ‘cassata’, a typical Sicilian dessert originally made with candy fruit and ricotta cheese, or Gianduia, which is chocolate with hazelnuts.
They also sell sorbets and a small selection of pastries, cakes and biscuits, all home-made following Italian recipes.
Coffee is also available, especially real Italian ‘espresso’.
We have been there a few times already and we always found helpful staff and irresistible ice cream, which can be eaten straight away or brought home in a take-away box, which apparently keeps it cold for up to 30 minutes.
Next time we fancy Italian ice cream, we know where to go!
Where in Abu Dhabi:
Baskin-Robbins has more than 30 outlets all around the city.
Click here for the complete list of addresses and contact details.
Founded in 1945 in Glendale, California, by two inventive brothers-in-law, this company has just turned 68 but does not seem to have any intention of retiring any time soon.
Their concept is based on the idea of the “31 flavours”, one for each day of the month. The number 31 is ‘hidden’ in the logo, inside the pink outline of the letters B and R.
In Abu Dhabi there are many outlets selling this ice cream, perfect for a quick treat on the go, a yummy break or a gift to someone who has invited you for a dinner party. Who does not like ice cream, right?
Baskin-Robbins is a classic, real ice cream royalty. They have been around so long that they even have a list of celebrities who have worked for them, such as Rosie O’Donnell, Julia Roberts, and even President Obama! (source) (And apparently it also helped significantly on his first date with a reluctant Michelle).
With its amazing choice in flavours, the yummy ice cream cakes and all the other fantastic products eyeing us from the glass counters, it comes as no surprise that we love these ice cream shops!
These are days in which multi-tasking, thinking outside of the box and whatnot are seen as essential skills.
That’s probably why nobody is surprised one bit to find gourmet restaurants at the back of a curtain shop, cocktail bars under a launderette, and all sort of food on sale next to bookcases and bedside tables.
Ikea food is famous for the meatballs with cranberry sauce, the ‘elk-shaped’ pasta, and the hot dogs, but I would have never imagined it would become one of our ice cream destinations. And yet!
First the data: at the shops after the tills, an ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or both mixed together) costs 1 AED.
Yes, I wrote that right: ONE Dirham, which is the equivalent of 0,17 GBP.
Seventeen pence. Let that sink in.
Now, I am not trying to be cheap, but what can we buy nowadays with 17p? I can’t think of anything, not even a song on iTunes, hence I could stop writing right now and it would be already a reason enough to recommend it.
BUT the ice cream is actually really yummy: a simple and yet lovely soft served cone. And if we really want to splurge we can have a biscuit to go with it, but it will cost us another 0,17 pence, so I am not sure about it…
What’s here not to love?
IKEA ABU DHABI is on Yas Island, very easy to find as there are plenty of signs.
Phone: +971 2 493 5888
Store Opening Times:
Sun – Sat 10:00am – 11:00pm
Sun – Sat 09:30am – 10:30pm