One of the staples of the hot rainy season here in Puerto Vallarta are icy La Michoacana paletas. Paletas are the delightful Mexican cousin of the good old popcicle. They are pretty much the same shape and size, but this is not cloying orange flavored bar of ice you find North of the border. The Mexican paleta is really an art form, crafted from a plethora of different tasty ingredients.
Mango Chile Lime
Cream Triptych: Oreo, Strawberry Kiwi and Pink Pinenut
Other favorites include: Watermelon, Jamaica (hibiscus flower), guayaba, cajeta (milk caramel), rompope (eggnog) and cucumber.
There are a few stories, some apocryphal, about the first paletas to emerge from the state of Michoacan. Here are some facts:
- Most paleta shops make all of there own treats, so every paletero has his/her own special flavors, and secret ingredients.
- There is no standard formula, other than all paletas are either water or cream based, and have a decent amount of sugar.
- Most La Michoacan Paleterias are family owned, and not part of a bigger franchise.
- Normally, one, or more, family member can claim a familial tie to the state of Michoacan
- La Michoacana is not officially copyrighted or trademarked. Therefore, no single entrepreneur can claim ownership of the brand. People have tried to wrangle the trademark, and force small owner’s to abide by a set of rules, but no one has succeeded in imposing rules upon the thousands of family owned paleterias.
Vallarta Eats Food Tours visits two excellent and very different spots. On the Signature Taco Tour we stop at La Michoacana on the corner of Francisco Madero and Constitución. This quaint operation is family owned and operated. Stop in sometime to visit their sweet mascot, an adorable little parrot.
Our other stop on our Tacos after Dark and Mole Pozole tours, is the larger La Michoacana on the southern end of the Malecon. This is THE spot on a busy weekend evening. With families and tourists alike, seeking cold and fruity refreshment. It’s a much larger operation, and business is gangbusters year round.
Not able to make it to Vallarta for a real La Michoacana Paleta? Not to worry, our friends a Saveur Magazine have some fresh fruit popsicle recipes which are truly tempting.