Brazil ice cream brand comes to International Plaza

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SOUTH TAMPA — Chiquinho Ice Cream, Brazil’s largest ice cream network, has come to America

Chiquinho opened its first U.S. operation earlier this month in Tampa on the lower level of International Plaza and Bay Street mall in front of the Forever 21.

The 1980s Brazilian brand originated as Chiquinho Sorvetes in a small town called Frutal, at Minas Gerais, a Brazilian state. The name Chiquinho is a reference to the nickname of the founder, Isaias Bernardes de Oliveira’s father Francisco.

With more than 430 active stores across Brazil, the brand is excited to expand into the American market, and chose Tampa as its first location because of the nice, sunny weather similar to Brazil where people can eat ice cream all year long.

"We are optimistic about the brand’s performance in the United States and we are looking for solid and structured growth here as well as growing in Brazil," said president Isaias Bernardes de Oliveira.

They pride themselves on the texture and flavor of their ice cream, which adds a spin on the traditional soft serve ice cream machine that typically only offers chocolate, vanilla and chocolate and vanilla swirl.

The secret behind their unique brand that sets them apart from competitors like McDonald’s or Burger King is they use more milk that allows for a greater texture. In addition, their cones are homemade, and you can add toppings like nutella, caramel and fruit.

Their menu includes a variety of more than 50 options such as Big Cone (truffle, traditional and with chocolates toppings), Novo Mix, Milk Shake, Acai, the exclusive Shake Mix — flavors already a part of the Brazilian menu — as well as products specifically developed for the American market.

"We are bringing to America exotic fruits like acai and pacaya, from Central America," said Antonio Camara, marketing manager.

Prices range from $3.50 to $9 depending on the size and they operate with mall hours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.. For more information visit their website chiquinho.com.br/en/.

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