Nice Ice, Baby

Forget sorbetto, gelato, and ice cream. Our new favorite summer cool-me-down is the paleta, Mexico's answer to the Popsicle. It's frosty and fruity and comes in dozens of flavors both familiar and exotic. Little known north of the border until fairly recently, the paleta was invented—according to legend—sometime in the forties when two men from the community of Tocumbo, in the state of Michoacán, developed an exceptional frozen fruit bar. They began selling their product in a small shop in Mexico City, and soon entire families from the village were peddling them far and wide. By the seventies, paletas were known across the country. Luckily, Texans don't have to travel south of the border to get their hands on these chilly treats, because Victoria-based La Paletera has opened some twenty stores in Texas. Just like real Mexican paletas, the company's are made from all-natural ingredients. In fact, its production line, in San Antonio, receives around twenty tons of fresh fruit a month, including pineapple, banana, coconut, watermelon, strawberry, cantaloupe, orange, and lime. Our favorites of its fruit-based flavors are mango and kiwi, and the leche quemada (caramel) is phenomenal. La Paletera shops are open in Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi, plus several smaller cities, and are coming soon to Austin and Dallas. Go to lapaletera.com for addresses.

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