Isabel Najera doesn’t remember exactly when she learned to make ice cream.
Growing up in Chihuahua, Mexico, it was just one of those things she learned from her mother and grandmother. And she shared it with her daughter, Genesis.
Together, they’re sharing it with others.
They opened Viva La Vida on South Circle Drive in Colorado Springs in June. Along with homemade ice cream in a range of unique flavors, the shop offers homemade street snacks such as elote and chips with various toppings.
We wanted people to see another slide of Mexican food and culture that’s not just tacos and burritos,” said Genesis Najero, 25. “Tacos and burritos are amazing, but there are other things.”
At Viva La Vida, those other things include ice cream that tastes like corn or cappuccino or cajeta, a type of thickened caramel that’s a typical candy in Mexico.
A fan favorite flavor is inspired by the snack cake gansito. The ice cream has pieces of cake in it along with strawberry marmalade and chocolate. There’s also popsicles and ice cream sandwiches and milkshakes.
“The coolest thing about our ice cream is we can control what goes into it,” Genesis said. “We’re able to be creative and play and ask, ‘What would be a cool flavor?’”
The look of the shop is just as playful.
A big reason they chose this space was because there was already a mural of colorful flowers on the outside.
“It just fit so well,” Genesis said.
They filled the inside with similar artwork, some painted by Isabel and some found at thrift stores around town. Along with embroidered flowers and wings, the artwork depicts famous people in Mexican culture such as Frida Khalo, who Genesis counts as a big inspiration for the look of the shop.
Its name comes from the title of Kahlo’s last painting. Viva La Vida translates to “let life live.”
That’s sort of a motto for the shop.
“We want it to be a place of light and life,” Genesis said. “What better thing to bring us together than ice cream?”