It was the pride and joy of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and a supposed monument to the superiority of communism. But after 64 years of failed socialist policies, Coppelia doesn’t have milk or sugar to make ice cream. Despite growing complaints about lower quality, smaller portions, and higher prices, the famous ice cream shop has appeared in advertisements and news reports whitewashing the atrocities of the communist Castro dictatorship. Today, however, it is closed due to lack of basic ingredients.
Coppelia ice cream shop shut down due to the lack of raw materials
The iconic Coppelia ice cream parlor in Havana is once again closed due to a lack of raw materials to produce ice cream, as reported by independent newspaper 14ymedio on Thursday. “There is no ice cream, no milk, no sugar, nothing,” said one of the unidentified workers quoted in the publication.
The lack of ice cream has led employees to sell the last of their stock on the street, including sweets such as “marquesitas” and “capitolios” at the price of 50 pesos.
When asked when it would reopen, responses obtained by the media were elusive and pessimistic, ranging from “It’s not known” to “This is going to take a long time.”
For years, Coppelia has been receiving multiple criticisms for the loss of quality, prices, the reduction in the size of the ice cream scoops, limited flavors, warm water, and inefficient service.
In March 2022, it was reported that the price of the Coppelia ice cream scoop had increased. According to a note published in the Tribuna de La Habana newspaper at that time, “as part of measures to stimulate agricultural production, the price of fresh milk was increased, impacting the wholesale costs of industrial milk productions, such as ice cream.”
The price increase at Havana’s most famous ice cream parlor was not well-received by Cuban internet users, who filled the digital spaces where the news was published with negative comments. “They changed the size as well because the scoop is smaller and it’s just a mouthful. And they still raise the prices?” said one commenter identified as Alina on Tribuna de La Habana.
Coppelia ice cream parlor was inaugurated on June 4, 1966. Today, with high prices, tiny scoops, and lamentable service, it is no longer known as “the cathedral of ice cream,” a title it was initially given.
In its early years, it became a favorite spot for gatherings, regular weekend strolls, and a must-visit for those arriving in Havana from any part of the country, and even from abroad. It was also part of the program for movie enthusiasts who went to see the latest film at the Yara cinema and then crossed the street in search of ice cream.
Coppelia ice cream parlor holds the added value of having been one of the settings for the iconic film “Strawberry and Chocolate,” directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío.