We all scream for ice cream particularly if you foray a bit south to Comonfort, a town normally associated with an abundance of gaudy plant pots and a long ago assassination of Mexican President Comonfort, a scary harbinger of President Lincoln’s soon to occur fate.
Out of the blue two sisters contacted me for some free consulting on tourism. They recognized my image on the web from many weekends dancing in Comonfort with my students from the town next door, Escobedo. Here they inherited a building they converted into a five room hotel in hopes of attracting foreigners to come spend the night.
Off the top of my head, this plan was laced with difficulties such as Comonfort is not a tourist town and that folks enjoying some time in San Miguel are rarely interested in leaving town. But, as is often the case, I’m wrong so with that thought in mind I arrange to come down the following Sunday with my partner in crime, Tony the Driver, cousin to Tony the Tiger whose actual real name is the cartoonish, Tony Bravo, our town’s go-to massage man.
The sisters have done good work with the hotel idea. It looks nice but with airless rooms and bathroom doors that once adorned Miss Kitty’s saloon and zero amenities, it’s not a pull by gringo standards. We chat about the notion of making the rooms classrooms to teach Otomi arts like basket making and chipping away stone to form a pestle and mortar used in cooking. The obvious downside to both activities is they take hours of manual, and mindless, labor. Not a typical vacation activity.
Next we gambol into town and learn of all the odd food truck options highlighted by the notion of a torta featuring a bull’s penis as the meat. OK, my interest is peaked. Next came a squash vegetable, cousin to a pumkin, that soaked in sugar is sweet, stringy and sticky. (I passed on the boner between bread as even I’m not that brave of an eater.)
Things were looking up when we gamboled down a picturesque alley toward a factory the one sister long worked at. Here it was a fourth generation ice cream factory. I assumed Delores Hidalgo had the market cornered on ice cream. I was very, very wrong.
Delores Hidalgo ice cream is made from cream or ice with the flavor added last. Here in Comonfort, for a really long time, ice cream is made from fresh milk boiled beyond belief with the flavor immediately added. Not just boiled but stirred with spoons that easily could be double as canoe oars.
Just like when I made ice cream with my then teen aged older sister (all my siblings are older, so very, very old) it is a lot of work. Back in the 1970s there was a culinary trend of making ice cream at home involving ice, salt and bicep growth stirring and stirring. Here in Comonfort it still does.
The ice cream is then rushed down the street to be sold that day in the town’s square. The ice cream is so fresh it is only good that very day before the organic ingredients separate back out again.
As a lad raised in Hershey I’m all too aware of the inherent appeal of sweetness in the air for drawing tourists and this factory has it all. The smell, hands on experience, inherent excitement in making any dessert and all located in factory painted in colors that made me feel like I was trapped inside Jeannie’s bottle. How cool is that?!?
Plus the ice cream is delicious and very different than the ice based ice cream here in San Miguel. Particularly since the Santa Clara factory has stopped making their dairy-based ice cream.
Forget the hotel, classrooms or basket making….the answer was there all along for the sisters. Come to Comonfort and make ice cream!
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin