You may have noticed that a Mexican wave has hit the west coast and among all the restaurants, taquerías something unique has popped up… La Paletas… more fun than you can shake a stick at. We asked owner, founder and flavour pioneer Ami McDonald some questions about her delicious business.
First things first, what’s a paleta?
Paletas are Mexican style icy poles, sold across the country by street vendors and at specialty shops called paleterias. What sets them apart from the icy poles we all grew up with is that they were always, and still are, made with real, fresh fruits and ingredients and not much else – not a cordial, concentrate, colour or stabiliser in sight!
When did you decide “I’m going to make a business out of selling delicious icy poles”?
My girlfriend gave me an instant icy pole maker for Christmas in 2011 which got the ball rolling. Once we learnt about paletas and started trying out some of the traditional recipes we were hooked. When it got to the point that friends and family were dropping around on a daily basis requesting bags of them we decided we should probably start charging.
What kind of ingredients do you use?
Well fruit, and a lot of it. We generally spend our days and weeks hunting the best fruit we can get our hands on. We also use fresh milk and cream to make our paletas de crema (dairy based paletas more like ice cream) which are decadent and delicious and then we’re also pretty partial to throwing some chilli into the mix or experimenting with fresh herbs and spices like coriander, cardamom or black pepper. And for the special occasions we have even been known to splash a bit of booze in (the raspberry & tequila is to die for).
What inspires your flavour choices?
We are inspired by traditional Mexican flavours and ingredients such as avocado or hibiscus, which a lot of people have either never tried or never thought of as an icy pole flavour. Also, in keeping with the Mexican way, instead of having ‘fruit salad’ blends we try to find a single ‘hero’ fruit and then pair it with a sidekick that just compliments or highlights the main flavour. A bit of chilli does wonders for a super sweet mango, and the freshness of some basil mushed in with good strawberries is mind blowing.
For a first time taster what do you recommend?
We love challenging our customers a bit. We are often met with funny looks when we recommend the cucumber lime and chilli to first timers but there is seriously nothing better or more refreshing on a hot day, and time and again people come back with a surprised and joyful look on their face saying “that was amazing!”
We’re big fans of South Freo markets and we know you’re there every week, will you be selling your wares anywhere else in Freo this Summer?
We will be traveling far and wide this Summer but yes our regular home base is the South Freo farmers market on a Sunday morning. We are very excited to be part of the Fremantle Chilli Festival in March and the Children’s Carnival in February, and will be working with the lovely ladies from Feast Your Eyes at a few exciting art events around Freo. We will also be having a few freezers popping up in a shop or two around Freo – keep an eye on our facebook page for updates. And given we live round these parts we have a growing number of friends, family and paleta fans that order directly from us regularly to keep their freezers well stocked – drop us a line and we can arrange you a special little bag of frozen goodness.
You can contact Ami for orders at: ilovepaletas [at] gmail.com