Mike with a massive 'copa primaveira' ice cream sundae in Figueira da Foz

I is for Ice Cream!

The sun is back and ice cream season has officially been declared open. By me.

One of the happiest discoveries I’ve made in Portugal is an ice cream parlour in Figueira da Foz that sells the best ice cream sundaes in the world (in my experience so far, at least). They’re so good that we take all our visitors there and make the trip for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Or just for fun.

Although Figueira da Foz is best known for its massive sandy beaches, they’re not the main attraction for us. I’ve always been a bit of a beach bum but my husband and stepkids aren’t really into the seaside. To be honest, even I’m not that keen on spending the day at the beach in central Portugal. The Atlantic waters of Portugal’s Silver Coast are freezing, even in August, and a bit too choppy for my liking. And when the wind picks up, as it often does, your face gets sandblasted while you lie on the beach, making it a less than relaxing experience.

For all these reasons, as well as the distance from the coast, we tend to go to river beaches in the summer months so the main reason to suggest a trip to Figueira da Foz is the ice cream at Gelataria San Remo. It’s probably just as well that it takes us an hour and a half to get there from our house otherwise I’d be broke and even fatter than I am.

The terrace of this ice cream parlour is slightly raised from the road and separated from the pavement below by a low wall that leads onto a tiny square, Largo Dom Margarida Mendonça Barraca. In the summer months, there’s often a flea market in the street below. Just across the road you can see the beach and its blue and white striped restaurants and beach huts.

Old men with cloth caps sit on the wall, chatting away, while couples and family groups look for shade at the tables outside the yellow tiled gelataria. There’s a bright, roomy seating area inside, with air conditioning but I prefer to be outside if possible. It feels more like a holiday that way. Waiters in bright T-shirts weave their way through the crowds balancing impossibly tall glasses piled high with fruit, cream and ice cream.

Mum with a mango sundae

Just looking at the ice cream menu is enough to make my mouth water.  I already know what I want, though, unless they haven’t got the forest fruits needed to make a Copa Silvestre (fruits of the forest sundae). If that happens, I go for the crepes. Mike always has a Copa Primavera (spring sundae) which has so much fruit wedged around the glass that it’s bigger than his head.

It’s been months since we last went so I can feel a trip to Figueira da Foz coming on very soon!

Do you know of any better ice cream parlours in Portugal, or anywhere else for that matter? If you do, let me know in the comments.

This post is part of my Personal A to Z of Portugal.

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21 Comments

  1. Tri Santi in Viseu do similar looking ice creams. Haven’t tasted them, but they look as good.

    1. Author

      Will have to give them a go next time I’m in Viseu. Thanks for the tip, Magdalena 🙂

  2. These sundaes look wonderful! I honestly cannot say I’ve seen anything that looks anywhere close to as delicious as these do…at least involving ice cream! I’ve really enjoyed this series so far.

    1. Thanks, Mike. They really are remarkable ice creams. Apparently there’s another ice cream parlour in Figueira da Foz that’s even better but I find it hard to believe. Next time, I go, I’ll have to check it out, I suppose 😉

  3. Such a fun fun post! I love seeing all the pictures and those enormous bowls of ice cream. I don’t think i’d be able to finish an entire bowl! 🙂

    1. Author

      Thanks, Myra. It’s surprising how much ice cream you can eat if you put your mind to it! I admit I do usually feel a bit sick when I’ve finished scoffing one but it’s always worth it.

  4. you made me smile – enjoy your big XXL ice creams – for me: I can’t, I got diabetes II

  5. They look good, but they seem a little on the small size 😉 Meanwhile I’m honing my own ice cream making skills…

  6. After decades of summers in Figueira da Foz and several thousand ice creams, my vote goest to Emanha.

    However that mango sundae looks a-ma-zing, so next time I go to Figueira I need to go on a tasting tour to each ice cream shop (and there are quite a few) and I’ll get back to you 😉

    1. Author

      Looking forward to your report. Not sure I’ll be able to persuade my husband to defect to Emanha but I’ll bear it in mind for the future. Where is is, exactly?

      1. There are 2 Emanhas in Figueira, both overlooking the beach. The oldest one is on the Marginal (the avenue in front of the beach), the newest one is on Esplanada, the big terrace facing the beach, by the clock tower.

        Let me know what you think!

  7. Wow, don’t think I have ever seen such huge ice cream dishes…… I love the ice cream from Italy and France. I have not been to Portugal but suspect it is very much the same and looking at your pictures, it sure is calling to me….

    1. Author

      I suspect this gelataria may be Italian-influenced but that the ice cream is made locally. Whatever the case, it’s yummy so come and try it!

  8. Your guest list is going to get much longer now Julie. There’s a decent one in Vilamoura but not up to this standard.

    1. Author

      All the more excuse to go and eat ice cream! I haven’t come across anywhere else that can match this place.

    1. Author

      I think I’ll stick to the ice cream too. Much more fun, I’m sure, especially when they’re as good as these ones 🙂

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