Paletas: Beyond Fudgesicles and Grape Popsicles

Thanks to Jonathan Gold's tweeted enticments and the return to clear skies and heat, I've had paletas on the mind today. After walking around the block a few times hoping to hear the peddling sounds and ringing bells that are the siren song of the bicycling paleta man, plan b was restored to. A quick trip to the grocery store and five buck and some changed had me armed with two boxes of paletas from La Indita Michoacana. There were no flavors on hand that would offer an “icy taste of hell,” but the vanilla pops studded with smooth, sweet flecks of candied quince and bright yellow rum raisin–rompope con pasas–flavor made for far more interesting flavor options than the pedestrian fruit flavors of popsicles whose labels sported no Spanish.

Both flavors of paletas had a soft, barely frozen texture, reminiscent of the interior of a cremsicle in the smooth way they melted away when bit into, the milk-and-cream base slightly tongue-coating. The bits of quince in the vanilla flavor bore little resemblances to membrillo–the thick, pleasantly gritty ruby red paste made of cooked quince so popular in Spain–but the sweeter, fruity tasting spots hidden throughout the vanilla pop made it far from a plain pick.

The rum raisin had an almost sickly bright yellow color, but the flavor was far less artificial than the dye, with notes of warm spices which somewhat recalled eggnog–but maybe it was just the juxtaposition of those tastes with the rich flavors and smooth texture of the paleta. The popsicle was dosed with a good number of raisins which, sadly but understandably, were not vehicles for small burst of aged rum–these are kid-friendly, after all, but that could quickly be remedied by stirring one through a glass of rum . . .

Rompope con pasas was my favorite of the two, but choice may have been tainted by the fact the vanilla and quince wasn't the vanilla and quince I was expecting it to be. But with flavors like avocado, mamey, pico de gallo, alfalfa and more to be had in Los Angeles, per Mr. Gold, there is certainly no point in getting stuck on one style when its only just the beginning of summer and there are countless paleterias in Orange County throughout the hot months ahead.

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