CakeSpy Note: This is a sweet dispatch from Cake Gumshoe Margot L.!
It was love at first sight when I discovered the ice cream parlor Ha'Blender, previously known as Shukilida, during my first month of my semester abroad in Jerusalem, Israel. It was a Friday afternoon and I was shopping in the shuk, or open-air market, which was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with what seemed to be the entire population of Jerusalem.
One of the staff members of Ha'Blender was giving out free samples of their famous Jerusalem flavor, and after one bite I was completely hooked. Ha'Blender, whose name means “The Blender” in Hebrew, makes custom ice cream flavors for its customers – you pick a base flavor and up to three mix-ins, and it gets mixed in the blender. Base flavors include vanilla, chocolate, banana, bubblegum, and more, and you can also opt for a healthier yogurt base. The mix-ins range from fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, mango) to halvah (a sesame-seed based sweet), nuts, and different types of chocolate, including Israeli chocolate bars such as me'ku'pelet, m&m-like candy, and more! The possibilities are endless.
Though their specialty is custom ice cream, you can also order iced coffee and other cold drinks, which are perfect on a hot day – and every day is a hot day in Jerusalem in the summer!
Ha'Blender's storefront is a tiny “hole-in-the-wall” in the shuk, which is part of what makes it so absolutely charming. They don't have a website, but their business card (which doubles as a frequent- buyer card – buy six, get one free!) lists a phone number. Staff members are incredibly welcoming, are fluent in both English and Hebrew, and, if you're a regular, they'll remember you! There's seating on a small patio next to the main through-fare of the market, providing refuge for customers who have successfully navigated the chaos of the market. It's worth the effort!