For the ultimate cup or cone of handmade, artisan ice cream in Cartagena, look no further than the homemade thrills and frills of Maria Nevett's glorious gelato parlour, Gelataria Paradiso.
Step inside the glamorous Venezuelan owner's oh-so-pretty, white-wickered, floral-patterned parlour and be transported to a tropical oasis where the humble helado is elevated heavenward thanks to an unwavering dedication to using only the very best, 100% natural ingredients.
Following the tried and tested techniques learned from master Italian gelato makers, Nevett has wrapped up the iced sugar rush market in her musical corner of Cartagena, just a couple of blocks from the Plaza Santo Domingo.
Favoured by the famous - Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos won't scoop anywhere else and president Barack Obama declared the ice cream version of the Cartagena afternoon life-saver, the limonada de coco, the highlight of the Summit of the Americas - Cartagena's most exclusive hotels have taken the hint. Hilary Clinton has even stopped over for a scrummy scoop as well as acting legend, Susan Sarandon, who swooped by during her FICCI film festival stay. Need we name-drop some more?
Cartagena's hottest hotel restaurants have stopped making their own ice cream and now ship creamy batches of Nevett's airy gelato made daily from a colourful kaleidoscope of Caribbean fruits including zapote, corozo, cereza costeña, maracuya and lulo in to cool down their guests. Recently, they've added some original national flavours into their ice cream mix, including Cartagena's cherry-cola brand, Kola Roman, Milo chocolate and the strange and wonderful basil.
The ever-changing ice cream cabinet is complimented by an enticing list of menu items including decadent chocolate brownies, cookies, milkshakes, Illy coffee, teas and juices.
And whoever said you can't enjoy your ice cream warm, hasn't checked out Paradiso's innovatve magic machine which wraps a delicious home-made brioche bun around your favourite scoop of ice cream. Hot on the outside, cold on the inside, it's hands down the best sandwich we have ever tried.
Before the early afternoon sugar rush hour, the place is relatively quiet and works as a great place for working remotely. The macchiato is one of the best in town and a great selection of herbal teas make it a great spot to catch up with some emails.
No wonder it's become a regular fixture on the recommended lists of worldly guides such as Condé Nast Traveller.
For sinfully sweet indulgences, this gelato Garden of Eden is the perfect paradise.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Tasting a little of all of the delicious flavours before choosing the winning combo
* The ice cream version of Cartagena's Limonada de Coco flavour is uber-refreshing
* Trying fruity flavours you've never dreamed of - Zapote, Mamey, Uchuva and Lulo all rock
* Working remotely from Nevett's laid-back parlour. The wi-fi and coffee works and its quiet
* Putting a smile on the family's face with a gallon of Gelateria Paradiso's goodness
* Knowing that the flavours are as natural as anything you are going to find in Cartagena
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Gelateria Paradiso is open late for late-night sugar fixes
* There are plenty of new pretenders to the crown of Cartagena's premier ice cream parlour but this is still the best
* The classical music coming from upstairs is Cartagena's foremost ballet school