By Megan Prendergast
Summer has finally arrived. Put down that scoop and tub, because it is popsicle time. Or, more specifically, it’s paleta time.
But first, what is a paleta and how does it differ from a posicles? A popsicle is simply a water-based frozen treat with no focus on fresh produce, often full of artificial ingredients and added sugar.
A paleta is basically a tastier, better-for-you popsicle with an emphasis on fresh, natural ingredients. The Latin American ice pop is usually made from fresh fruit, but it can also be made from a milk base.
Ice-based paletas have the texture of a traditional ice pop and flavors include cucumber, strawberry, cantaloupe and more. Milk-based paletas usually have a creamy texture with flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and more.
Check out this list of 27 popsicle shops that all focus on using fresh ingredients, with most actually serving paletas. Kiss ice cream goodbye because it’s time for some popsicle action up in here.
1. Paletas Betty, Chandler, AZ
These traditional paletas are inspired by the flavors of owner Betty Alatorre’s hometown, Michoacán, Mexico. The paletas are prepared fresh in small batches, with favorites including pina con chile (pineapple with chili) and sandia (watermelon with mint).
2. Paleteria La Mexicana, Long Beach, CA
These traditional paletas are made fresh daily and cost less than $1 each. Don’t miss out on cookies ‘n cream, pistachio or pepino con chile (cucumber with chile).
3. The Pop Shop, Los Angeles, CA
The rounded popsicles from the Pop Shop are made from seasonal market produce and organic sugar. Make sure to try the avocado vanilla and the lime mint mojito, which is available spiked. Popsicle party time.
4. The Ice Bar, Los Angeles, CA
The Ice Bar has created a new way to enjoy popsicles – simply choose a pop flavor and customize it with various toppings, such as pie crust and condensed milk. Or try one of the chef’s designs, including the Korean pear blueberry popsicle topped with blueberry gel, calpico gel, fresh herbs and jasmine powder, pictured above.
5. Viva Pops, San Diego, CA
Viva Pops uses organic fruits and herbs, most of which are locally sourced, to make their all-natural frozen fruit treats. The flavors are constantly changing, but be sure to check out the passion fruit guava pop and the fig and balsamic vinegar pop.
6. The Pop Nation, San Francisco, CA
These vegan and gluten free paletas are made from fresh, natural ingredients, which are sourced locally when possible. Pop Nation supports a sustainable food culture and aims to limit their waste (to only one bag per week!). In addition, Pop Nation composts all of their excess food scraps. Be sure to try the sea salted dark chocolate and the strawberries ‘n cream with basil.
7. Aiko Pops, Denver, CO
Sold at retail locations, farmers’ markets and food trucks, Aiko Pops popsicles are made from fresh, natural ingredients. Make sure to try the Nutella coconut or sweet tomato basil. They also sell pupsicles for man’s best friend.
8. Eccolopops, Miami, FL
This vegan and paleo friendly popsicle shop creates fresh, all-natural popsicles. The shop serves simple, classic flavors, such as blackberry and coffee, but also offers less traditional flavors, including pineapple basil, cinnamon orange and peach ginger.
9. The Hyppo, St. Augustine, FL
Hyppo flash freezes their made-from-scratch pops to achieve an extra smooth, creamy and soft treat. Don’t miss out on the avocado cream or the straight-up strawberry. And look at those colors – can you say Instafame?
10. King of Pops, Atlanta, GA
What started as a one popsicle cart in Atlanta has spread to cart locations across the southeast. King of Pops aims to provide customers with delicious, ecologically responsible, fresh, all-natural frozen treats. They offer over 100 rotating flavors, with Arnold Palmer and chocolate sea salt being a few of their most popular.
11. OnoPops, Honolulu, HI
The popsicle flavors at Onopops reflect regional Hawaiian desserts. Made from organic ingredients, Onopops calls their method, “from farm to stick.” Each pop only contains 4-5 ingredients, but they’re packed with a lot of flavor. Must-try flavors include Kona latte and butter mochi.
12. Meltdown, New Orleans, LA
The house-made pops at Meltdown contain all-natural, minimal ingredients. Because most of the the ingredients are locally sourced, the menu is constantly changing as fruits comes in and out of season. Of course, a few flavors are available year round, such as salted caramel and Vietnamese coffee.
13. Pure Pops, Portland, ME
Pure Pops are handmade with all-natural, organic ingredients in small batches. The popsicle shop aims to support local farmers while making its popsicles. Make sure to snag a chocolate coconut popsicle, pictured above.
14. The Detroit Pop Shop, Detroit, MI
Because their produce is sourced fresh from local farmers, the Detroit Pop Shop popsicle flavors are constantly changing, taking advantage of seasonal fruit. Last summer, the pop shop introduced a maple bourbon bacon pop and a cantaloupe Proscuitto pop to celebrate The Five Days of Meat.
But since those flavors are no longer available, be sure to try the strawberry lemonade or the grapefruit habenero instead, or one of their boozy pops.
15. La Newyorkina, New York City, NY
La Newyorkina serves traditional paletas sold on New York’s High Line and at various street fairs throughout the city. Don’t miss out on mango chile and ruby red grapefruit.
Photo courtesy of boulderlocavore.com, paletasbetty.com, yelp.com, latimes.com, greenhorngourmet.com, prescribe-nutrition.com, aikopops.com, eccolopops.com, gardenandgun.com, coca-colacompany.com, sunset.com, myneworleans.com, Avery Yale Kamila, Chris and Michelle Gerard, delish.com, redtri.com and pop-bar.com.
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