Yum Yum Yum! The first year we were cruising, we started hearing about the best homemade italian gelato in the world as far north as Isla Mujures, Mexico. It seemed every anchorage on the way south, someone was talking about Tutti Frutti, the don’t miss gelato place in, of all places, Placencia, Belize! If you’re not familiar with Placencia, it’s middle-southern Belize, a small town with lots of dirt roads and the smallest main street in the world – or so they claim. It’s only a narrow sidewalk, no cars allowed, so I guess they could be right.
The gelato is homemade daily by Lorenzo with fresh ingredients and fruits found by his wife Tiziana. Lorenzo is up bright and early and making gelato by 3:30 AM – not a job I’d want since sunrise is usually beyond my capabilities. The variety is astounding, but the menu is ever changing based on availability of ingredients. My favorites are tiramisu (available infrequently), coconut, pineapple and all the citrus flavors, delicious, refreshing and much lighter than some of the others. David’s favorite flavor was always something with chocolate in it … there were usually several selections.
When we dropped anchor in Placencia Harbor, usually after the hassle of checking in at Big Creek & Independence, Tutti Frutti was always our first stop. If you’re there early in the season, be prepared for a surprise! We were supposed to meet friends Doug & Rayene on sv Kristiana at Tutti Frutti, our first time back to Belize since we’d rounded the corner and cruised Panama and Columbia for several years. We couldn’t wait — both to see our friends again and to indulge in some gelato.
Lo and behold, we arrive at the location at the correct time to find NO TUTTI FRUTTI!!! What??? Our cruising world suddenly collapsed. Inquiring, we found they’d moved up the street to a larger and better location, whew, that was close! Arriving at the new location, another surprise awaited! Tutti Frutti was there, but all locked up and not open for business! Then we remembered what we already knew, Lorenzo and Tiziana live in Italy and winter in Belize during the tourist season … usually mid to late October through as long as tourists are around into the spring. We were too early.
With taste buds objecting all the way, we walked dispiritedly away… So where would Doug & Rayene go if Tutti Frutti was closed? Didn’t take many brain cells to figure out to try Cozy Corner, the best spicy fried chicken in Belize, and directly on the beach. Sure enough voila!
In Belize, you have to recheck every 30 days – a PITA, but a requirement nonetheless. Big Creek/Independence were usually the most convenient, so after rechecking we’d spend a day or two treating ourselves to Tutti Frutti as we reprovisioned at Wallen’s Supermarket.
David holds the Winterlude record for 3 Tutti Frutti’s in a single trip to town. He had Tutti Frutti on the way in, after lugging beer and coke from the distributor back to the boat and again after we’d finished provisioning at David’s Fresh Vegetables stand and then Wallen’s! But then maybe after lugging all the provisions in the heat, we could argue he deserved the treats! The most I’ve ever indulged in one trip to town is twice, but that’s been several times. To find Tutti Frutti, from the main town dock (not necessarily the dinghy dock since the main dock was ransacked by the tsunami and hadn’t been repaired when we were there in 2010) by the gas station, go straight up the street, past the Purple Space Monkey and then the Chamber of Commerce on the right (yes, I said Purple Space Monkey), then you’ll see Tutti Frutti also on the right – across the street from the soccer field.
Enjoy the gelato!