Last week we visited the ice-cream lab from Waffel oder Becher, a two-year-old ice-cream parlor in Mitte runned by two Venezuelan girls. During our visit, we talked about their thoughts on ice cream, ice-cream making and also about the difficulties of opening a business in another country.
It was already five years ago when these Venezuelan ice-cream lovers and engineers decided to move to Germany to make their dream come true: opening an ice-cream parlor. Even when we ask them “but why Germany?, they don´t hesitate: “Well, German people appreciate ice cream. They like to go out to eat ice cream, much more than Spaniards. In fact, Germany is the second European country where more ice cream is sold”.
Their ice-cream shop, Waffel oder Becher, located in a crowded street in Mitte, could strike you as your average ice-cream parlor, but it is not. Just stepping inside for a couple of seconds will suffice to make you realize that they only elaborate artisanal ice-cream. First of all, their ice-cream is not visible, but stored in small metal containers covered with a lid. “Our ice-cream is totally fresh and handmade and that is why we cover it: to preserve it in the best way possible. However, people like to see the ice-cream, but we are trying to change this mentality”.
Ethical handmade ice-creams
Once we are inside, a big interior window also catches our eye. Through this one, you can see directly the ice-cream laboratory and how ice-cream is daily elaborated. “Our philosophy is to add as little ingredients as possible. We believe that the protagonist must be the ingredient itself. For example, we use a single origin chocolate coming from Venezuelan small producers, so we try to add to it as less other ingredients as possible not to outshine the chocolate flavor”, explains Daniella.
All their ice-creams are handmade, but we have to admit that this is not something easy to find. “When I go to an ice-cream shop and I see this blue ice cream in their range of products, I’d rather not buy any ice cream. This is a clear sign that they are using industrial ice-cream powder mixed with milk”, she advised us in order to recognize good ice-cream in the future.
Of course, we also asked them about their most popular ice-cream flavours and they gave us two flavors: mascarpone ice-cream with pistachio and salted caramel is clearly their best-seller. And the second best sold one is the blueberries with buttermilk ice-cream.
“Even if our clients are mostly non-vegan, we do always offer a small range of vegan products, like our fruit sorbets and the coconut ice-cream. This one is only made with coconut (using coconut milk instead of cow milk)”, explains Daniella when we ask her about this kind of ice-cream. “A lot of places use ordinary milk to elaborate coconut ice-cream, but our decision was to use only coconut products to give it, again, the importance this ingredient needs”.
The beginning was never easy
Daniella and Lupe tell us that, even if they are happy now, it wasn’t always like that. They first came to Germany to open a franchise that after six months blew them off, but instead of giving up, they started again from scratch. German language was also a challenge for them. In fact, the name of the place “Waffel oder Becher” has something to do with it: “when we started selling ice-creams, this expression was something impossible for us to pronounce porperly. So when we needed a new name, we didn’t hesitate. It was a way to challenge ourselves and at the same time, it was also a way to remember that moment”.
“We have also made a lot of mistakes. For example, sign papers in German that we couldn´t understand. But now we see that we have learnt a lot from that. German bureaucracy is a nightmare”, Lupe tells us.
Daniella and Lupe showed us that they are not only two fighting spirits since they left their country to start their own business in another totally different one, but they also reinvented themselves -from industrial engineers to master ice-cream chefs-. Today they are happy they made it possible and the most important thing: they made their dream come true.
Our tip: try their coconut ice-cream, pistachio and mango. If you are hungrier than just for one ice-cream, then you have to try one of their handmade waffles specialities.