San Antonio

Paleteria La Flor de Michoacán

Of the many culinary contributions made by the state of Michoacán (carnitas among them), the infinitely variable paleta is undoubtedly the crowd-pleaser. According to lore, it came into being in the thirties, when an enterprising resident of the municipality of Tocumbo named Rafael Malfavón started mixing up cream and seasonal fruits and selling his frosty wares from the backs of burros. Soon there were more purveyors of the increasingly popular treat, which then made its way to Mexico City and from there to the world. At this Alamo City favorite, the multitude of flavors includes creamy guanábana (soursop), spot-on pink chicle, strawberries-and-cream, and piña con chile, which delivers alternating tastes of refreshing pineapple and kicky Tajín chile. 3941 Fredericksburg Rd, 210-437-0388; 4707 Rigsby Ave, 210-310-3294

Fort Worth

Alma’s Paleteria

Antonio Poncé probably didn’t think he’d return to making paletas after leaving Mexico, where he and his wife, Alma, operated shops in Jalisco and Sonora. But when Alma persuaded him and their son José to give up the popular raspa cart they were running outside a relative’s meat market and expand their operation into a brick-and-mortar shop, the elder Poncé jumped back in. Offerings range from a pecan paleta dipped in chocolate (we like ours sprinkled with shaved coconut) to a rich vanilla paleta that hides a center of quince cajeta. 1215 E. Seminary Dr, 817-927-0313


Encanto Pops

When Diana Diaz-Thompson opened Encanto Pops, in 2016, it was a leap of faith. She left a cushy job in advertising to join her siblings in establishing a small shop in Oak Cliff. The gamble seems to have paid off: the family is now exploring options for a second location. Encanto’s menu is full of surprises, like the pico de gallo paleta, which is made with jicama, cucumber, jalapeño, watermelon, and sweet-sour chamoy. Customer favorites include the watermelon hibiscus and the milk and cookies, but we’re partial to the coconut and the mango with chopped pecans. 831 W. Davis, 469-899-7434


Tarascos Ice Cream

Sergio Ruiz is a Michoacán native known for his creative Mexican sweets, including spicy fruit dessert tacos and paletas in unusual flavors. The latter range from soothing green tea to orangey pan de muerto (a real sugar rush). But you can’t go wrong with standards like tropical mango or Oreo, in which two whole cookies are encased in cream. 13932 Westheimer Rd, 281-584-9696


La Super Michoacana

An unassuming industrial section of East Austin is home to a popular family-run paletería that’s been serving Austin for around 25 years. Across the street is a school playground and an outdoor amphitheater whose grassy, stage-facing slope is the perfect spot to enjoy flavors like creamy coconut, arroz con leche with a hint of cinnamon, and well-balanced pepino (cucumber) con chile. Perhaps best of all, the paletas are only a buck. 2002 E. Fourth, 512-481-1332

This article originally appeared in the July 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Cool Summer.” Subscribe today.