St Maarten’s Classic Gelato Shop
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
I’ve never met a Caribbean ice cream shop I didn’t like: Devon House I Scream in Kingston, Jamaica; Ziouka Glaces in Martinique; Fresh Scoops in St. Thomas …I’ve loved them all, and even been known to order ice cream for breakfast. And now I’ve added another island parlor to my lick list: Carousel Ice Cream in St. Maarten.
“Everyone needs a 10-minute ice cream break,” says Italian owner Diego Montanarro, who opened his Cole Bay store five years ago. It’s a shrine to all things cold and yummy, with 42 flavors of gelato and sorbet (all made on site) displayed in a circle of cold cases. Classic flavors vanilla and chocolate are the bestsellers with the mostly local clientele, Diego tells me. But if you ask me, soursop and mango gelato – and a tangy alcoholic sorbet made with the island’s famous guavaberry liqueur – should be at the top of any self-respecting Caribbean ice cream craver’s must-eat list.
Handmade mosaic reproductions of vintage ice cream photos line the gelateria’s interior walls, and outside, more than 100 images feature famous people, from Bette Davis to Pamela Anderson, enjoying the frozen treat. There’s also a small gift shop that sells tabletop carousels and logo tees and totes.
But it’s the eponymous full-size carousel in the rear of the store, imported all the way from Italy to the Dutch-Caribbean territory, that’s the draw for kids little and large. On Wednesdays between 3 and 3pm, children get a free go-round on the painted ponies with purchase of every waffle cone or cup. At all other times $2 buys a three-minute spin.
The bad news: Carousel doesn’t open until 2pm, so I can’t start my day with a frosty scoop. The good news: Diego is hoping to have an outlet at the Westin Dawn Beach resort by summertime. Here’s hoping they’ll open in time for breakfast.