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Coppelia ice-cream parlors
The group of fourteen poets who, together with the writer Jesus Diaz, founded El Caiman Barbudo in 1966, are without the avant-garde of a major artistic generation: the generation of Coppelia...
Why Coppelia? What childish addiction or adult greed led us to devour ice-creams throughout the small hours every night?
(Jorge Fuentes)

The Coppelia ice-cream parlors, built almost immediately after the revolution and an appropriately wholesome, healthy monument to its values, are a chain in Cuba; there is one in every town and more than one in Havana. Coppelia is a national institution but this one, on the southwest corner of 23 and L is the the mother of them all, a legend in Havana. Close to the University and the heart of life in Vedado, `the cathedral of ice-cream` was a meeting place for young intellectuals to admire the tartan mini-skirted waitresses and talk through the night before setting out enthusiastically to take part in the great literacy campaign. The ice-cream parlor itself is a concrete spaceship set in luxurious gardens, where long queues wait patiently for a dish of whatever flavors are available. It is a good place to observe another facet of daily life: la cola (the queue).

Coppelia has achieved a certain international fame for its part in the film Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate) . It is here that the two young protagonists first meet and the strawberry and chocolate flavors are still recurrent symbols for homosexuality and heterosexuality respectively.
by Claudia Lightfoot, from her book Havana
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