Paletas vs Popsicles
Aren’t they the same thing? One is just the Spanish word for the same thing in American English? I thought they were both frozen fruity icy pops, but apparently, paletas and popsicles are very different.
A popsicle is any old frozen fruity icy thing, usually water or juice-based, with a lot of added sugar that stain your mouth and hands because they’re filled with neon food coloring and dyes. I never liked popsicles as a kid, and though I don’t remember the specific reason why, I am guessing that I found popsicles generally too sweet, too messy, and somewhat unsatisfying compared to creamy, full fatty dairy ice cream. I always ate ice cream out of a neat little cup with a tidy little spoon.
Paletas, as I learned in the last couple of weeks, look exactly like popsicles, are a kind of popsicle, but are nothing like popsicles. Because they just aren’t. They are a Latin-American frozen refreshment on a “palo” (stick) made from fresh fruit, either in a water/juice base with pieces of fruit, or a cream/milk base with chocolate, vanilla, spices, and nuts. Though they may seem “everyday” to anyone who grew up eating paletas, flavors and combinations like cucumber (unsweetened!), tamarind, hibiscus, and mango with chili powder are new and exciting and way more interesting than the artificial neon cherry, orange, grape, and “rocket” flavors I grew up with in the Midwest.
Mateo’s Ice Cream and Fruit Bars (Paletas)
I have only ever tried Mateo’s paletas. Mostly because there is a location on the west-ish side of LA.
A Paleta/Popsicle Serving Idea
It’s summer. You’re probably going to throw a party. Or go to a party. At the very least, be involved in a social gathering that involves food and at least one person other than just yourself. Here’s an idea.
Make or buy paletas. Serve the paletas on a platter of fresh cut fruit that matches the paletas in color. I like multi-color, but if you don’t want anyone to fight over flavors, offer one, maybe two, flavor(s); the serving platter will still look pretty. Soak and absorb the glory.
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