Cool down in the sun with handmade frozen Mexican desserts
If you visit anywhere in Mexico in the hot weather, chances are in the middle of the afternoon you will find yourself craving a cool treat to cool you down. As luck would have it, there are a bunch of popular frosty snacks available – as close as your nearest street corner or town square (called the zocalo).
Paletas are natural fruit popsicles common in Mexico. They’re much more popular than ice cream. A ton of flavors are available but some of the more popular flavors include tamarind, lime, coconut, Jamaica (a hibiscus tea flavor), chocolate, peach, mango or mango with chile, pineapple, and more. The whole fruit is typically pureed and used (rather than just the juice), and sugar and water are usually added before freezing. You can easily make these at home by pureeing the ingredients in a blender and adding to a popsicle mold or a cup with a popsicle stick inserted for freezing.
Also popular are nieves (nee- ay-vays), literally snows, which are flavored smooth ices. They’re eaten like ice cream, but without any cream or milk products in the ingredients. Popular flavors of nieve include lime, nuts, and coconut, though the varieties go on and on.
Another frozen treat that closely resembles a U.S. snow cone is called a raspadura. A thick and sometimes fruity syrup is poured over large ice crystals just like a snow cone. The syrup is often handmade and pulpy with concentrated fruit. I recommend tamarind for that sweet and intense sour flavor. It’s not served in a paper cone, though. You can usually get your raspadura served in heaping spoonfuls in a plastic glass with a spoon and a straw. It melts fast in the strong sun so you will find that it is a drink plus snack in one.
Although ice cream is eaten less in Mexico than in the U.S., it’s often available where paletas are sold. One of the biggest ice cream flavors in Mexico is cookies and cream, however other flavors abound.
Chill out and kick back with any of these treats on your next vacation.