Monday, September 10, 2012

Sorbetero/Our World Tuesday


Childhood memories rushed in when I saw this sorbetero near Quirino Grandstand a few weeks ago.  A sorbetero was a street fixture of my childhood, a street vendor who sold home-made ice cream we call sorbetes.  He would announce his presence by ringing a handheld bell that usually roused us from our afternoon siesta.   We rushed to the ice cream cart like children from the desert.

Sorbetes is a traditional variation of ice cream in the Philippines.  It is now more popularly known as "dirty ice cream".  Peddled by street hawkers (or sorbeteros), it is usually served with small wafer or sugar cones, and more recently, bread buns.  Sorbetes is uniquely made from coconut milk and cassava flour.  Flavors vary from the usual natural fruits such as mango, jack fruit, avocado, melon, coconut and strawberry to flavors imitating commercial ice cream such as chocolate, cheese, vanilla, mocha and ube (purple yam).  Source: Wiki

My mother predicted trips to the emergency room every time my siblings and I ate dirty ice cream.  It was frowned upon by our elders as the sorbetero was himself purportedly not exactly a model of hygiene.  What water was used?  And why did he not wash his hands after he handled our peso coins?  I even taunted my little sister that the sorbetero didn't wash his hands after using the bathroom---it was after she ate the sugar cone!  Sorbetes became a guilty pleasure  we devoured behind our mother's back.

Sorbetes is peddled in colorful carts which usually can accommodate three flavors, each in large tin canisters.  The cart is stuffed with crushed ice sprinkled with salt to produce a lower temperature around the tin canisters and keep the ice cream frozen.  

Sorbeteros walk the streets the whole day, or they're parked near schools, parks and churches, calling customers by ringing a small handheld bell.  Children gathered around the ice cream cart in the middle of the street is  a common sight especially in the summer.

The sorbetes industry competes with commercially available ice cream from giant companies such as Nestle, Magnolia and Selecta which have also started peddling their frozen products in the streets in more sanitized carts.


Dirty or not, ice cream remains my ultimate comfort food.

Linking to Our World-Tuesday

24 comments:

Snap said...

Yummy! Sweet memories!

Sylvia K said...

Oh, yes! Sweet memories indeed! How fun! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

Gary said...

Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Joy said...

I love ice cream as well!!

NixBlog said...

Ah, yes, I remember those ice cream vendor carts in Greece when I was a child...

Robert Geiss said...

Wonderful !


daily athens photo

Carver said...

Great shots and memories.

Thanks for visiting mine and to answer your question, yes the rings are sculpture. They are called the Gyre and I like the way they look so different depending on where you stand. They are spaced pretty far apart and are the same size but if you stand at a certain place they look nestled within each other. Also depending on the light they cast interesting shadows.

NatureFootstep said...

down the memory lane. So sweet the feeling. :)

eileeninmd said...

It is a sweet memory, very colorful photos. Sorbetes sounds yummy!

Tito Eric said...

It was dirty propaganda by commercial ice cream makers to instill in our parents' minds that the local sorbetes was tainted by the sorbeteros' lack of proper hygene. They have delicious "dirtey ice cream" here in Pangla Island, but kinda hard to find his route. Found him one Sunday passing at the end of service.

Cheers!

Fun60 said...

What great memories. I can remember as a child the excitement of hearing the bell ringing from the ice cream seller when he arrived in the street. It was a real treat to have an ice cream as homes had no fridges in those days let alone a freezer. Thanks for the memories.

thomas said...

Wow!the first one is an antique.

lotusleaf said...

Your post jogged my memory of the 'dirty ice cream' we used to eat as children! It was called 'ice candy', and the vendor attracted school children in droves.

lorik said...

I enjoyed looking at your colourful photos - especially the last one with the ice cream man:) thanks for visiting.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Made with coconut milk, sounds delicious. Wonderful memories to have.

stardust said...

Sorbetes seem to be your fond memory. I also looked forward to once-a-day purchase of an ice pop at a street vender. Nostalgia for good old days when we were so carefree as a child.

Dimple said...

I ran for the ice cream man in his little truck...but no one told me it was dirty. I think that hygiene is good, but today's fear of germs is unhealthy. Being in contact with germs keeps our immune system strong!

Thanks for coming by!

Riet said...

We used to have those too, we still have but it is now in a little bus but he still rings the bell. Happy memories.

Jenn said...

Missing those dirty ice cream... :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Sounds good! Too much hygiene will kill you too ;>) And every kid needs a guilty pleasure!

Oman said...

Wow na-miss ko tuloy mamang sorbetero sa barangay namin dati. Dito sa Manila kasi puro Nestle Cart :)

magiceye said...

Love it too!

Ann said...

I like an icecream when it is hot.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

I read recently that there used to be 25,000 ice-cream vans in the UK 15 years ago but now there are only 5000 and of those only 500 regularly tour the streets.