Tantalizing treats

For an ice cream parlor with a difference, here’s the scoop on Tita in Tel Aviv.

Tita ice cream_311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tita ice cream_311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In recent years Tel Aviv has become awash with various branches of the big ice cream parlor chains that are nearly always packed with children and grown-ups enjoying something cold in the summer heat. Tita, an independent ice cream store, offers a unique break from the same old flavors that can be found in all the other chains.
Entering Tita is like stepping into a a mysterious land where fairy tales are brought to life. From the thatched roof design inside, which is reminicent of Hansel and Grettel’s house, to the broomsticks and mirrors on the wall, this is no ordinary ice cream shop. The fairy tale theme comes into its own with the flavors, most of which have a name relating to a different character or story, such as Frog’s Kiss (Mint Choc-Chip) and Little Red Riding Hood (Strawberries and Cream). Etel, the Peruvian owner and brains behind the concept, says that she grew up on the stories and wanted to share her love for them in a creative way.
It is not only the names that are creative at Tita. Flavors such as Sweet Potato and Cantelope Melon keep things interesting. Always looking to keep ideas updated and fresh, Etel says she tries to give the Israeli public what they want. “I saw that Israelis love sweet potatoes in everything, so I thought I would try it as an ice cream flavor and see if they still loved it. And they did!”
Keen to keep up with public demand, Etel, who makes all the ice cream by hand every morning, says she introduced flavors that she was not familiar with in her native Peru. “Apple-based flavors are not very popular in South America, but I introduced them here, and people like them,” she says.
Her South American roots are still, however, very apparent in some of the flavors. The Cantelope Melon and Banana with Dulche de Leche were ideas that she brought over from Peru. Many of the flavors are created as a result of trial and error, with various combinations and ideas being tested before reaching the finished product. All the ingredients are natural, and all the fruits and vegetables are bought daily from the market. Each and every sweet potato and apple is skinned, boiled or baked and mashed by Etel by hand every morning.
Some customers apparently complain that the color of the ice cream is not bright and appetizing enough, but Etel explains that she doesn’t use any extra food coloring to enhance the flavors. “We leave the bananas in their natural state. A real banana, once it has been peeled, is not actually bright yellow.”
Although open on Shabbat and without an official kashrut certificate, all the ingredients at Tita are kosher. The tasty sorbets are made without milk, offering a great parve alternative.
With more than 33 flavors to choose from, one trip to this fantasy land for ice cream lovers may not be enough. With reasonable prices (NIS 13 for one scoop and NIS 18 for two scoops) and very friendly service, Tita is difficult to resist on a hot summer’s day.
Tita, 23 Bograshov, Tel Aviv. Open every day from noon till 12:30 a.m. (03) 525-5040.