The U.S. loves its ice cream. In fact, the average American consumes 26 liters of ice cream per year! They eat all flavors of ice cream, popsicles, novelties, and more, but these mainstream frozen desserts can’t hold a candle to one of the world’s coldest delicacy.
What this nation of ice cream enthusiasts truly needs is the paleta.
What Is A Paleta?
When most people see a paleta, they think it’s a “popsicle,” which sells the paleta short. At its most basic level, a paleta is a fresh fruit that’s been frozen as a snack on a stick. These delicious treats make excellent use of natural and fresh ingredients, real fruit chunks that you can actually see and taste. Mango, pineapple, and banana all-star in delicious paleta desserts.
Made from natural ingredients by hand, chefs first puree the base ingredients with a bit of water, milk, or fresh juice. Unlike a smoothie, there will be delicious chunks of fruit that remain after the puree. Next, spices or sugar are added to create incredible flavor combinations such as chili watermelon, strawberry horchata, or tequila lime. Then the pops are frozen in molds with wooden sticks (which is why they get confused with popsicles by the uninitiated!).
A better name, which some actually use for paletas, is “summer on a stick” because it’s fresh, fruity taste brings the joy and feel of summer, while its cold and deliciousness bring respite in the hot months. Popsicles, though, are really just sugar water on a stick with artificial flavorings.
Many who have studied the origins of food believe that ice cream itself originated in China and then was brought to Europe by Marco Polo. Though the exact origin of a paleta is debated, most attribute its creation to Mexico. Some even believe that the origins of paleta go all the way back to the Aztec empire and the Popocatepetl volcano. More directly, paleta can be traced to the 1800s when Mexico was celebrating its independence. Common folk could now afford ice cream treats because Spain’s monopoly on ice was over.
Whatever the origins, we are just glad that someone had the genius to invent this delicious summer treat, and you will be too.