These Milkshakes Live Up to their Show Stopping Name

It’s true that Scottsdale has lots of ice cream, candy and baked goods shops lining its streets. But did you know there’s a place to get all three of those things in ONE dessert?

ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho has been providing fun-filled Show Stopper milkshakes since 2017. The program started with Pastry Chef Audrey Enriquez, but its been run by Pastry Chef Maria Arenas since 2019. 

Pastry Chef Maria Arenas with the Touchdown Show Stopper. All photos courtesy of Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho

Arenas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and found her passion for baking at a young age. Her grandmother owned a cake business and was also the pastry director at a culinary school. She would let Arenas help with cake orders and tag along for classes. 

After studying pastry in Buenos Aires at the Escuela de Arte Gastronómico and the Instituto Argentino de Gastronomía, Arenas started working as a pastry cook at a small restaurant, where she was promoted to pastry lead. She went on to manage multiple locations for the same company as its production center pastry chef and then came to work at ZuZu.

“I love that I can change the dessert and banquet menus seasonally. Besides the over-the-top milkshake, we also have high-end desserts,” Arenas said. “I love to take a traditional dessert or flavor combination, twist and elevate it with a lot of pastry techniques – like with our Shnickers Bar or Banana Split.”

Show Stoppers are available for an entire month, each with a different theme. Arenas and Executive Chef Russell LaCasce develop ideas based on seasonal flavors, personal experiences, upcoming events, holidays and pop culture. The shakes are $20 each.

A few of the past Show Stoppers include an Elf-themed shake for the movie’s anniversary, a Pride shake for Pride Month, a Barbie-themed shake and a Holy Cannoli shake for the anniversary of The Godfather.  

Buddy the Elf – in shake form!
Holy Cannoli Show Stopper Shake.
The Cup o’ Joe shake debuted in September 2023.

Although most ingredients come from distributors here in Arizona, the culinary team sometimes gets their hands on a unique item – like dulce de leche from Argentina and Ube, a purple yam that Arenas said pastry chefs love because it has a slightly nutty, vanilla taste. Ube was the base flavor for the tiki-themed shake that debuted in April 2023.

Above all, though, the Rainbow Pride and Superbowl 2023 shakes are two that Arenas said are the “craziest” she’s come up with thus far. 

The Pride Show Stopper was a bubble gum milkshake topped with a waffle cone, rainbow sherbet, strawberry milk crumb, rainbow cotton candy, chocolate chip cookie with sprinkles, rainbow sour belts, a rainbow lollipop, sprinkles, whipped cream and edible glitter.

The “big game” shake featured an entire sheet cake base shaped like a football field, topped with a vanilla-cola milkshake with sprinkles, meringue goalposts, candy cacti, and a chocolate football with M&Ms hidden inside. 

“Typically, people are pretty shocked and excited when the shake comes out,” Arenas said. “Sometimes our shakes even have an interactive component like confetti or sparklers, and everyone loves to see those.”

Each shake also has its own philanthropic aspect – one dollar from each Show Stopper sold goes to a local charity. ZuZu has donated to Ballet Arizona, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central & Northern Arizona, Arizona Golden Rescue and Make-A-Wish Arizona. 

The featured Show Stopper for May 2024 is the Strawberry Lover.

In May, proceeds from the Strawberry Lover (a strawberry cheesecake milkshake topped with a strawberry shortcake ice cream pop, fresh strawberries, strawberry wafer cookies, strawberry milk crumbs, strawberry sauce and whipped cream) will go to Ryan House. This nonprofit provides support and caregiving for families navigating life-limiting or end-of-life journeys.

ZuZu is located inside Hotel Valley Ho, at 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale. For more, visit

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