Here in Chicago we’ve been waiting and waiting for Summer to come, and now it is finally upon us. The temperature is climbing, the beaches are open, the barbeques have begun and the ice cream trucks have started making their rounds, blaring “Pop Goes the Weasel” and handing out Bomb Pops, Chipwiches, Push-Pops, Dreamsicles, Snow Cones and my favorite... Choco-tacos! This classic sugary fare was the sustenance of summer throughout my childhood, but when I got older, I discovered there was something better out there.
Cruising the streets of Los Angeles in stealthy silence with nothing but the ring of a bell and the shout of “Paletas!” was our neighborhood paleta man. Instead of selling “Strawberry Shortcakes” dyed hot pink and full of well, something that definitely was not strawberries, he sold Fresas con Crema (strawberries with cream) bursting with giant chunks of strawberries folded into a delicious, ice cream. Instead of Bomb Pops, there were brightly layered mango, coconut and lime paletas with chunks of each fruit trapped forever in the icy goodness. Instead of Choco-tacos... honestly there’s no replacing Choco-tacos, but you get the picture.
If you’re not familiar with paletas they are in essence, popsicles, but in reality so much more. Made with fresh fruits, vegetables, milks and yogurts, they come in an expansive range of flavors but are generally divided into water-based and milk-based. The beauty of the paleta is that you almost always see exactly what you are eating. Pineapple paletas look like chunks of pineapple frozen together in the shape of a popsicle, chili cucumber paletas are decorated with cucumbers, strawberry and kiwi have chunks of strawberry and kiwi. The other beauty of the paleta is that half the time you don’t know what's in it... green may be creamy lime or avocado, purple may be jamaica (hibiscus tea) or it might be beet, and that’s half the fun!
If you haven’t tried paletas, and you live in the Chicago area, I recommend that you immediately go to Paleteria Y Neveria Sabores De Michoacán in Pilsen. The variety of flavors is impressive, the staff is sweet and at $2.50 a paleta, you can try as many as you want! Or, look out for your own neighborhood paleta man cruising the sidewalks this summer.
If you can’t make it to Pilsen, pop into our store and pick up some Tovolo Popsicle Molds to make your own paletas at home or join us for a class making that other favorite summer treat... ice cream at our Homemade Ice Cream class Saturday, June 29th!