The United States is a melting pot nation, and that also means a dazzling variety of cuisine and foods, and ingredients as well. That includes dessert too, and many Americans today love to have frozen treats during spring and summer. Ice cream is often the standard, and it can be found in hard serve and soft serve varieties. But some of today’s consumers are looking for something a little different, and more exotic treats such as Mexican paletas, gelato, frozen custard, and more all beckon. What is paleta, anyway? Is it like ice cream? This treat might be found at Popsicle stores nearby, or might even be found from a mobile vendor with a cart. Paletas, along with gelato and frozen custard and sherbet, may be a fine treat for someone who’s had enough of regular ice cream.
All Kinds of Frozen Treats
This is not to say that regular ice cream is boring or obsolete, though. In the United States, ice cream is still going strong as a staple dessert, and is widely enjoyed alongside its peers such as paletas and gelato. The sales figures show that ice cream, and probably its peers, still sell quite well today. In any two-week period, for example, some 40% of all Americans will eat4 ice cream, almost as much as coffee consumption in that same time frame. Ever since 2010, ice cream sales in the U.S. have been around $10 billion per year, and the United States is the world’s top ice cream consumer base. Each year on average, a person may eat 26 liters of this treat, and in 2014, a typical American ate 22.8 pounds of ice cream. For over a century, ice cream has been a staple dessert, but over time, some alternatives have appeared for consumers who are looking for something a little more exotic.
Paletas are one such example. Firs devised in the 1940s by a Mexican man visiting the United States, paletas (or “short sticks”) are a type of Popsicle that may be either milk or water based. These paletas typically have fruit flavors based on native Mexican fruits, such as mamey, tamarind, and nanche, among others. More conventional flavors familiar to American buyers may also be found, such as vanilla, cherry, and chocolate. What is more, some paletas are known to have distinctly Mexican flavor accents, such as chili pepper and chamoy as well. These treats may be found across the United States today and are often sold by a single worker who is moving a refrigerated cart of them, and can sell them one at a time.
Consumers looking for an alternative to ordinary ice cream may also like gelato or frozen custard or sherbet. Gelato is somewhat similar to ice cream, and shares some flavors with it, but it’s thicker and creamier and is served at a slightly higher temperature. Gelato is sometimes served on waffle cones like ice cream often is, but more typically, gelato will be sold in plastic or laminated paper cups for convenience, and customers may get specialized plastic serving spoons. This makes gelato a tidy and neat food to eat that comes in a ready-made leftovers container. Many consumers may prefer this to ice cream waffle cones, which make for poor leftovers containers and are liable to make drips and spills. Something similar might be said about frozen custard and sherbet, which may come in paper cups and with plastic straws and spoons.
Running a Diverse Ice Cream Parlor
More than anything, modern American customers like a diversity of options when they shop, and that includes frozen desserts, too. Some dedicated ice cream parlors can be found, but others might be tailored to suit a wide variety of tastes. A startup ice cream parlor today might offer not only regular soft serve and hard serve ice cream, but also gelato, paletas, frozen custard, and more. All of these treats may come in a variety of flavors and with different condiments, and ice cream and similar desserts might be served either in cups or on waffle cones. The store owner may have connections to local wholesale suppliers for the frozen treats as well as ice cream mixers, ice cream scoops, paper cups, plastic spoon and straws, and waffle cones.