Last year, it seemed like frozen yogurt was all the rage, but this summer ice cream remains supreme again. To celebrate this cool dessert and beat the heat, look no further than Rosa Mexicano.
Part of its yearlong celebration Flavors of Mexico, the Festival de Helados — Ice Cream Festival — offers multiple ice cream flavors, popsicles, cocktails and more.
Everything on this menu is worth trying once, but to entice your taste buds, here is a preview of some flavors.
There are four new ice cream flavors for the season, but if you want to get the most out of your experience try one or both of the following:
Mexican Sour Gherkin & Jalapeno Sorbet: Don’t write off the unusual flavors without trying this sorbet first. The gherkin gives is a slight sweet and vinegar taste at first, until the heat of the jalapeno kicks in. Either taste could be overpowering, but they instead balance each other out and are made milder by the coolness of the iced sorbet. It’s not heavy at all and would be the perfect ending to a summer meal.
Sweet Cream with Shaved Mexican Chocolate & Cajeta Swirl: Cajeta is a thick caramel-like syrup that, in this ice cream, melts into the chocolate and combines perfectly with the sweet cream ice cream base. It tastes very similar to a Mexican hot chocolate, with its hint of cinnamon and has a creaminess very similar to coffee creamer. This flavor tastes best when served in the delicate homemade cones.
Each popsicle, or paleta, is served in a white chocolate and sprinkle-rimmed glass with a layer of granola on the bottom. They are very adult-updated versions of every kid’s favorite summer treat.
Papaya & Passion Fruit: This is the least creamy and most fruity of the popsicles. It has chunks of fruit frozen in juice that has more of a gelatin consistency. It has great flavor but is reminiscent of the fruit jello that someone always brings to a holiday potluck.
Arroz con Leche & Peach: A two-layer popsicle, the sweetness of the peach is a perfect complement to the cinnamon and milk of the, essentially, rice pudding bottom. This one tastes best if dipped back into the cinnamon granola in order to get a crunch to go along with the smoothness.
Guava, Chile de Arbol & Huckleberry: Fair warning — this is the spiciest popsicle you will ever enjoy. Also a layered creation, both parts have a strong kick to them, which doesn’t compete with the fruit flavor but does overpower it. It is certainly a good choice for the most adventurous customer.
Raspado comes from the Spanish word for scrape and is the name of these Mexican snow cones. The ice is hand-scraped from a block making it extremely fine and perfect for absorbing the flavors. Once the ice is shaven, choose from mocha caramel horchata, passion fruit and lime, orange creamsicle, or mango, mint and chili as your “syrup” and then top it with condensed milk, chocolate or fruit. Espresso and tequila are also offered as toppings. The consistency is like a frappe and unfortunately refreezes very fast.
Rosa Mexicano, like any good Spanish restaurant, has fantastic guacamole. It is made tableside, where you can see the fresh ingredients added and combined. The Festival de Helados answer to this is dessert guacamole. Avocado ice cream — yes, there is such a thing; no, it is not a powerful taste — is mixed with white chocolate chunks, strawberries and mint so that it has the same colors and appearance of actual guacamole. It is served with divine cinnamon sugar tortilla crisps, which are the highlight of the dish and you will want to munch on all night. A chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce are also served with it, to replace the traditional salsas that come with the actual guacamole.
Last but not least, there are two new cocktails for the festival. They are very different, although both have fantastic presentation.
Verano: A summer mojito of sorts, this cocktail is tequila with just slight citrus, mint and sweet flavors. At first, it may have a bit of a sour taste, due to either the lime or blood orange sorbet. It is a beautiful rose color and is garnished with three blueberries.
Chavela Especial: Beer cocktails are a favorite in Hispanic nations, and they have yet to catch on in the U.S., but here is Rosa Mexicano’s twist on them. Modelo Especial beer is poured over a popsicle sitting in a snifter. The popsicle is essentially a frozen gazpacho, and when it melts into the beer or is enjoyed with the beer, gives the drink a frozen Bloody Mary taste. The glass is rimmed in chipotle and chili flakes, adding more flavor and spice to the unique drink.
Rosa Mexicano’s Festival de Helado runs through Aug. 25. There are two locations to enjoy the delectableness: Penn Quarter (575 7th St., NW) and Chevy Chase (5225 Wisconsin Ave., NW).